Norway’s biathlon queen Tora Berger pulled in more gold medals this week after competing again on Friday night at her “ski-shooting” sport’s world championships in the Czech Republic. Her fellow Norwegian skiing star, Aksel Lund Svindal, wasn’t as fortunate on Friday afternoon.
Svindal, competing and setting records at the alpine world championships in Austria this week, was hoping for another gold medal, or any medal, in the giant slalom. He’d even had several days off to nurse a wounded knee, and was glad to have the break so he’d be ready for action in the second-to-last event of the program in Schladming.
Another medal was especially important after he’d won gold in the men’s downhill last weekend and made history by winning medals in four world championships in a row. Now he wants to add to his collection to make history again by having more medals than any other skier over the years.
But he missed it by four one-hundredths of a second, reported Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). Svindal ended fourth, behind Manfred Mölgg, Marcel Hirscher and Ted Ligety of the US, who won the gold and has three medals in three races. Mölgg’s bronze pushed Svindal out of the top medal rankings in the year’s World Championships.
Better luck for Berger
Meanwhile, in Nove Mesto in the Czech Republic, Tora Berger was gearing up for the women’s relay Friday night after snaring her most recent gold medal on Wednesday in the tough 15-kilometer race at the biathlon world championships. She shot perfectly and skied fastest, and it was her third gold medal in addition to the silver she won on Saturday.
“I was really excited at the last shooting, but I used a bit extra time,” the 31-year-old biathlon star from Lesja and Meråker told newspaper Aftenposten. Her “full house” (perfect shooting) combined with her speed left commentators nearly speechless when she crushed her nearest competitor, Andrea Henkel of Germany, by 52 seconds.
Berger admitted that she actually got hit by a case of nerves before the race began “but I had to think differently and tell myself, ‘look here, this is fun.’ And it was!”
On Friday, she did it again, carrying the Norwegian relay team to victory in the 4×6-kilometer relay. She made up for some teammates’ mistakes in the beginning, taking Norway to victory in the final lap and securing her own fourth gold medal.
Both the biathlon and alpine skiing championships end on Sunday. Speed skating world championships, meanwhile, begin over the weekend at the former Olympic arena called “The Viking Ship” in Hamar.
Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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