MOT’s history

MOT was started by Norwegian top athletes with a passion for strengthening youth's courage. It all started with a passion and a dream. A passion for people. A dream about the Olympic Games. After that came the idea.

A magic history

The initiative was taken after the Winter Olympics in Norway in 1994. The two Olympic speed skaters, Atle Vårvik and Johann Olav Koss, wanted to prevent social problems in society by implementing attitudes and behaviour among youth that would make them better at caring about each other and better at making conscious choices.

A documentary about MOT's history until 2019.

The research and test period in 1994–1996 and the calendar project 'Norwegian Top Athletes Against Drugs' were the forerunners of today's MOT. The objective was to strengthen youth's awareness and self-esteem. The calendar was distributed to every classroom in every secondary and upper secondary school in Norway with a message to the youth from the top athletes about taking care of each other and to make conscious choices. The response from the schools, and also sports clubs and businesses, was overwhelming.

The work on concretizing the MOT philosophy started in 1994. The idea was to make a philosophy that was going to prevent social problems in society and help youth master life the best way possible. Common factors were looked into why top athletes succeeded and why some criminals managed to get off the downward path. Many common factors were found, and they became important for the development of the MOT philosophy. (4.1)

The first testing and meetings with youth in the classroom also happened in 1994. The first meetings were in primary schools and continued in secondary schools from 1995. (4.2)

MOT was founded as a non-profit and both religiously and politically independent foundation during the Nordic Ski World Championships in Norway in 1997. The first MOT coaches were educated in June–August 1997 and in October 1997 youth in secondary schools enjoyed the first MOT sessions in the classroom. With its concept, MOT quickly entered into a partnership with schools and municipalities all over Norway. 

Since 1994, Atle and Sigrun Vårvik have been in the front seat of the operations and development of MOT's concept and brand profile. They have also been in charge of spreading MOT to other countries. In 2008, South Africa became the first country outside of Norway that entered into a partnership with MOT. Today, MOT's life skills concept consists of five MOT programmes being used by schools and municipalities. Today MOT exists in Europe, Africa, Asia and America.


See key happenings in MOT's history year by year.

See Timeline

The history of MOT South Africa

See the history of MOT South Africa

See history