|Number 2 Marit Bjørgen out in front|
at Sochi. Photo: Nancie Battaglia
A seventh (reverent) reason? Norway is the most successful nation in Winter Olympic history, both in total medals and gold medals won. When Viking ran its Winter Olympics preview in the February issue, we featured four Norwegian athletes expected to be strong medal contenders. Now that the games are over and the tallies are in, here are just a few post-view statistics and highlights.
Finishing third overall in medal count behind Russia and the U.S., the 134 Norwegian athletes took home 11 gold, 5 silver and 10 bronze medals for a total of 26. By sport, they took home 11 medals in cross-country skiing, 6 in biathlon, 4 in Nordic combined, 3 in alpine skiing and 1 each in snowboard and ski jumping.
Of the 11 medals in cross-country skiing, 9 were won by the women’s cross-country ski team. Thirty-three-year-old Marit Bjørgen became the most decorated female Winter Olympian ever, with a sixth career gold in Sochi. In the mass start event, she was joined on the medal podium with her teammates Therese Johaug winning silver and Kristin Størmer Steira winning bronze.
In biathlon, Ole Einar Bjørndalen won two golds and became the most medaled Olympian in the history of the Winter Games with 13 medals, edging past Norwegian cross-country skier Bjørn Dæhlie’s record 12 medals. At 40 years old, he has competed in six Winter Olympics, beginning in 1994 in Lillehammer.
Visit Team Norway's page at sochi2014.com for links to more Norwegian Olympic athlete and team statistics. And watch for an upcoming post on Norwegian Olympic speed skater and four-time gold medalist Johann Olav Koss, who takes "quirky and fun-loving" to a new level in his work with children through the nonprofit Right to Play.
Ann Pedersen is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in St. Paul, Minnesota.