Skiers, biathlon stars and ski jumpers were all wrapping up their sports seasons over the weekend, and in a couple of cases, the celebrations got out of hand. Police had to halt a biathlon party at Oslo’s legendary Holmenkollen Park Hotel, while a former ski jumping star lost his driver’s license after too many drinks the night before.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported Monday that Oslo’s fire department and the police had to send crews to the Holmenkollen Park Hotel, adjacent to the Holmenkollen ski runs and jump, during the night after its fire alarms had been set off repeatedly. The hotel is an historic timber lodge full of oil paintings and other cultural treasures, where fire is a constant threat.
Biathlon stars who’d been competing in the final events of the World Cup season at Holmenkollen were taking part in an end-of-season celebration, and “the fire alarm had been manually set off several times by someone who ran around in the hallways of the hotel and was having fun,” Emilie Nordskar, communications chief for the Holmenkollen Ski Festival, told NRK. She claimed she didn’t know which athlete was responsible: “It was just a prankster, as far as I understand.”
Eckhoff and Fourcade had won
There was quite a bit to celebrate: Norway’s Tiril Eckhoff put on her best performance of the season, winning Sunday’s race, while Martin Fourcade of France won the men’s competition. For Eckhoff, victory was especially sweet after a disappointing World Championships. On Sunday night, the International Biathlon Federation and Holmenkollen Ski Festival hosted a party for around 400 of the international athletes and all their support staffs, “but I left at 9pm so didn’t see what happened later,” sports chief Morten Aa Djupvik told NRK.
Norwegian biathlon legend Ole Einar Bjørndalen said he’d already gone to bed when the first fire alarm went off. “We had to go down to the reception … but then we could go back to sleep,” Bjørndalen told NRK. “I think it was a fine celebration. Fourcade made a good speech and everyone was having fun.” Hotel officials declined comment.
Meanwhile, former ski jumping star Bjørn Einar Romøren admitted that he was the athlete caught in a police control post for drunk driving who lost his driver’s license on Sunday. Newspaper Drammens Tidende had reported earler that an employee of Norway’s national ski federation had lost his license on his way to the last of the “Raw Air” ski-jumping events at Vikersund over the weekend.
“I had been drinking moderate amounts of alcohol the night before,” Romøren, a former world record holder in ski jumping, told newspaper Aftenposten. He now works as marketing chief for Norges Skiforbundet, which has had a difficult year marred by two major doping cases.
“I accept full blame,” Romøren told Aftenposten. “I am so disappointed in myself.” He insisted that none of the ski jumpers were involved in his alcohol-enhanced celebration of the Norwegian men’s team winning the team competition on Saturday. Norway’s Robert Johansson had also set a new world record on what was described as a “magical” day in Vikersund, even though Johansson’s record was broken just a half-hour later by Austrian ski jumper Stefan Kraft.
The other ski jumpers had reportedly gone to bed after a long day and evening on the ski jump. Romøren, meanwhile, said he had returned to his hotel, “fixed some photos and reserved a hotel room in Planica” before heading for the bar. “If I’d known that what I drank could pose a danger, I would of course not done it,” he told Aftenposten. The next day, at 10am, he got in his car and drove back to the arena at Vikersund, only to meet a police alcohol control and be told that his blood alcohol rate was 0.6, enough to warrant the loss of his license under Norwegian law.
“I made an incredibly bad evaluation. I wouldn’t have dreamed that the little celebration we had after the world record Saturday night would have had such results the next day,” said Romøren, who was driven on to the arena by police since he had to leave his own car parked. Ski federation officials said they’d been informed and that the drunk driving offense was now “a personnel case that will be followed up internally.”
Meanwhile, in Quebec, Norway’s cross-country skiers won again and there was no news about any wild partying afterwards. Young Johannes Høsflot Klæbo, age 20, won by a toe as World Cup events wound down for the season, while Marit Bjørgen continued her own winning streak. “It’s been a fantastic season since Christmas, and I have won all the distances I took part in,” she told NRK. “It’s important for my own self-confidence that I beat the young women on my way towards the next Olympics.” Bjørgen was due to celebrate her 37th birthday on Tuesday. Heidi Weng, meanwhile, won the overall World Cup for the 2016-2017 season, while Martin Johnsrud Sundby won it for the men.