Norway is known for its winter sports, but its athletes didn’t do so well at the Olympics in Torino four years ago, and the Winter Olympics that kicked off in Vancouver over the weekend didn’t get off to a great start either.
Two of Norway’s biggest medal hopes, biathlon star Ole Einar Bjørndalen and speed skater Håvard Bøkko, failed to mine any metal at all, while gold medal expectations overall are relatively low. Bøkko was reportedly devastated by only placing fourth in the men’s 5,000-meter.
Maren Haugli placed only 8th in the women’s 3,000-meter race. The ski jumpers didn’t win any medals either and a men’s downhill race had to be postponed. The biggest disappointment was Bjørndalen’s failure to get a spot on the winner’s podium after the men’s biathlon sprint.
Emil Hegle Svendsen (at left in photo) preserved Norwegian honor, however, winning the only medal of the weekend, a silver, in the biathlon competition that left Bjørndalen shaking his head. Svendsen claimed he was simply lucky, pulling an early start number that let him perform before some really nasty weather set in. The surprising winner was Vincent Jay (center) of France, with Jakov Fak of Croatia winning the bronze. Bjørndalen was angry with himself, saying he made “bad decisions” and “didn’t do what I was supposed to do. I wasn’t at 100 percent. In addition, conditions were difficult.” He’ll have more chances later in the games. Meanwhile, Norwegians were pinning their hopes on cross-country skiing sensation Petter Northug, who was due to to make his debut in the Vancouver Olympics Monday night Norwegian time, and his female counterpart, Marit Bjørgen, also skiing on Monday.
By Views and News staff