Alexander Skarsgård Training in Norway for Walking With The Wounded Charity

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Alexander Skarsgård is pictured here near Oslo, Norway with fellow Walking With The Wounded Volunteer Inge Solheim.

Later this year, three teams including one headed by Prince Harry of the United Kingdom will trek through Antarctica to show how valuable and able even returning wounded military are to society, how capable and important they still are to us as a whole.

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Skarsgård of True Blood to race Prince Harry to Pole

And a vampire shall lead them.

Well, to be fair, Alexander Skarsgard is not a vampire, he just plays one on TV, in HBO’s True Blood.

But the Swedish-born actor, who plays Norse vampire Eric Northman in Blood, has joined the American team racing against Prince Harry’s British team and British actor Dominic West’s Canadian/Australian team in a grueling trek to the South Pole this winter to showcase wounded veterans.

It’s called the Walking With The Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge, and the co-ed teams are made up of veterans with physical and/or mental injuries sustained in the line of duty. The celebs are there to help raise the profile of the effort.

Prince Harry, a captain in the British Army and a royal patron of wounded-vets charities, is probably the most famous celeb on the teams, but West, best known in the USA for beloved The Wire, is a boldfaced name, too.

Now add Skarsgard, 37, a former Swedish marine, to the training sessions in Iceland and Colorado, which themselves have been tough going. Harry even spent 24 hours recently locked in an ice chamber to prepare for the race.

Starting in mid-November and continuing four weeks into December (the summer season Down Under), the three teams are going to slog 208 miles across the Antarctic plateau toward the pole in what some polar experts are calling the largest modern-day expedition of its kind.

The idea is to raise money for walking-wounded charities in all the countries involved, to demonstrate the strength of human endurance, and to show that the walking wounded can make a difference.

“I’m honored to be working and training alongside these soldiers to raise money and awareness for this very worthy cause,” Skarsgard said in a statement issued by Walking With The Wounded.

The U.S. team was thrilled to get him. “He is a great asset and has bonded really well with all the team members during training,” added the U.S. team’s polar guide, Inge Solheim.

Each team will include experienced polar guides and medical personnel; they’re not going to let high-value actors and the fourth-in-line to the British throne, to say nothing of the veterans, set off across the icy landscape to face blizzards, treacherous crevasses, winds of up to 50 mph and temperatures way, way below zero on their own.

In a goofy irony, Skarsgard recently made headlines in an icy tableau: it’s a picture of him lounging naked — on an icy mountaintop in Sweden — in a lawn chair, with a book strategically placed over his man parts. It was from a scene in the Blood season finale last month, and it immediately went viral.

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Walking With The Wounded Team Training with Alex

 

Team US Training in LA With Alexander Skarsgard

 

Margaux Mange | September 10, 2013

 

Screen-Shot-2013-09-09-at-15.54.40Hello Everyone! Team US has just returned from a quick weekend of training in Sunny California. I can’t believe that Summer 2013 has already ended, meaning our journey to the South Pole is just around the corner. There is still so much work to be done.

 

I arrived in beautiful California on 31 August 2013. As soon as I arrived I could feel the dry heat of 85°F (30°C ) greet me as I got off the plane. Along with the heat, Inge, our favorite Norwegian, was at LAX to greet me.
I knew Inge was in charge of our weekend training plan, and since you never know what to expect, I played it safe and went to bed early… well, early by Pacific Standard Time. My body clock and thoughts were still on Eastern Standard Time.

 

I knew my family was at home, fast asleep as they were three hours ahead.
I miss reading to my little one at night. I have most of those children’s books memorized by now, but every once in a while a new one creeps into the collection and I find myself having to imagine a new story line.

 

One day my little one will realise that I can’t actually see the words… I often wonder how that conversation will go. That will be a complex tale to tell, but for now, I find comfort in simpler stories, such as “Not the Hippopotamus” and “Duck and Goose: Goose needs a hug.”

 

The next morning Inge and I welcomed Margaux to LA with a 2.5 hour long workout at a local gym. Mark and Therese missed out on the fun. They arrived that afternoon.
On 2 September 2013, Team US departed the hotel, stocked with trail mix and water as we headed up to Malibu. My team was great with their descriptions of the scenic drive up the pacific highway as I imagined the wide depth of view of the Pacific Ocean.

 

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We arrived in Malibu at a beautiful horse ranch, owned by Inge’s friend Klaus. It was at this ranch we met for the first time the newest, and final, addition to WWTW Team US; actor Alexander Skarsgard.
What a great complement to our team! I am even more confident that we have a winning combination now.

 

That morning we all sat for breakfast and then embarked on a four hour hike up some California switchbacks. Alex immediately connected with each and every member on the team during the hike. On our way back, we accidently trespassed onto Klaus’ neighbor’s property. He seemed a bit upset… we did our best to reason with him, but got nowhere… so Mark threw out the typical excuse… ”The blind guy was leading the hike!” Blame it on the blind guy. I always have to take the fall, however, if I’m honest, I never did like those no trespassing signs.
It must have worked, as we managed to leave the property unscathed!!! However, no shortcuts for Team US…. we had strict orders to retreat in the direction we came.

 

This day, 2 September 2013, was special to me, as it marked my 7th year of my alive date. It has been 7 years since that day in Yousifiyah, Iraq, when I was on the rooftop and struck by two 82 mm Mortar rounds that killed two men in my unit and left me severely injured. This anniversary date was a roller coaster ride of emotions and thoughts. I could not stop thinking about Sgt Ralph Porras and PFC Justin Dreese.
I think of Ralph and his family that he left behind. My thoughts were of Justin and his family. I wondered how they are coping with this date.
I thought about everything that has happened in the last 7 years, the good, the bad, the heartaches and pain. I thought of all the things I have been able to achieve and overcome…but then I am stopped by dark emotions of what the next seven years will be like, living as a blind man.
How much more darkness can be endured?
What struggles and difficulties will I encounter?
And, most importantly, will I continue to remain mentally strong as I take on each of these struggles?

 

I thought about that day on the roof top…. what could have or should have happened that would have changed the outcome of those two men? Where would I be right now if I wasn’t blind? I have a constant wonder on the purpose of my life and why I was spared that day? As with anyone who has survived a tragedy, it is a struggle not to succumb to survivor’s guilt but find a way to honor those lives lost by finding a way to move forward, always carrying their memories etched in our hearts.

 

Finally, the day passed and it was 3 September and Team US moved forward and yet another hike. This time we had our eyes opened for No Trespass signs.
The temperature was quite hot! I am sure this is a phrase that will NOT be uttered in a few months. After our hike, we had lunch, we all did one or two interviews as well as core exercises led by Inge.
He wanted to make sure we had a full body work out before heading off to the airport.

 

A mere seven hours later I arrived back in NC. It was good to be home, even if only for a few days.

 

This past weekend in LA was a great experience for Team U.S. It gave us another chance to bond and continue to experience and gain knowledge in each others strengths and weaknesses. I always appreciated my team coming together and acting as my guide during these training sessions.
In closing, I believe the US team is shaping up nicely! We are dynamic. We all bring certain strength that makes it quite unique.
Now that we have Alex to complete our team I am confident we are on our way. Alex is genuine, easy to talk to, and displayed his willingness to be a team player. He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty and was eager to train in order to be an asset… and an asset he will be as he is in excellent physical condition!

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Next up, Norway. I am looking forward to meeting up with all the teams!

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