Norway loses latest chance at medals

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It was another mediocre day for the Norwegians at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Neither biathlon star Ole Einar Bjørndalen nor his teammate, Emil Hegle Svendsen, managed to secure a place on the winners’ podium after Tuesday’s 12.5 kilometer pursuit.

Bjørndalen, heavily favored before the Games started, ended up in seventh place, just ahead of Svendsen (who won silver on Sunday) in eighth. Halvard Hanevold wound up 17th and Lars Berger 23rd, in an event won by Bjørn Ferry of Sweden. Christoph Sumann of Austria took the silver medal and Vincent Jayof France the bronze.
At one point Bjørndalen, who has a pile of Olympic and World Championship gold medals to his credit, was in third place, but both he and Svendsen missed shots from standing positions.

At the women’s 10-kilometer pursuit earlier in the day, Tora Berger shot and skied well but ended up in fifth place.
In other Olympic events where Norwegians were participating, the men’s curling team attracted lots of attention because of their clown-like outfits but lost a match against host nation Canada. Downhill racer Aksel Lund Svindal didn’t even get a chance to compete on Tuesday, when bad weather cancelled the men’s super combined race.
Norway’s hockey team lost its match against Canada, getting crushed 8-0. And Helene Olafsen, a 19-year-old snowboarder from Oppegård, missed her chance at a medal by falling in the finals of the snowboard cross at Cypress Hill. That left her in fourth place, but Olafsen had told newspaper Aftenposten that her biggest goal was just to have fun.
(Written February 16, 2010)