Norwegian athletes have scooped up 11 medals after the first four days of the Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun, Sweden. Six of them are gold, with one in particular bringing more tears, this time of joy, to two of Norway’s top skiers on the women’s team.
Last year at this time, skiers Therese Johaug and Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen were crying along with the rest of the team over the suicide of Jacobsen’s brother during the Winter Olympics at Sochi. Jacobsen’s Olympics were over, while her teammates went on to win lots of gold and be scolded by the International Olympic Committee for wearing black armbands.
On Saturday Johaug won gold again, and Jacobsen could claim the silver medal in the women’s 15-kilometer skiathlon. While they cried in each others’ arms again, Johaug was as happy for Jacobsen’s success as for her own.
Rune Velta also won a gold medal in men’s ski jumping on Saturday and on Sunday, more medals came rushing in, with both the women’s and men’s teams winning their respective team sprint relays. Marit Bjørgen won gold on the first day of the World Championships but pulled out of the team sprint after a disappointing performance in Saturday’s skiathlon. She was replaced by a winning Ingvild Flugstad Østberg who won along with Maiken Caspersen Falla. The men did just as well, with Petter Northug and Finn-Hågen Krogh winning, too. For Northug, the championships are off to a great start.
The ski jumpers, meanwhile, raked in two more silver medals, in the combined team event (which combines ski jumping with cross-country ski racing) and in the mixed ski jumping. The combined team was not satisfied, claiming that only gold was good enough, but the two men (Anders Bardal and Rune Velta) and two women (Maren Lundby and Line Jahr) who made up the mixed ski jumping team were pleased with their silver medal behind their German rivals. Jahr called Sunday “the best day” of her life.
There was a break in World Championship competition on Monday before the action gets underway again on Tuesday with a 10-kilometer race for women. It was unclear whether Martin Johnsrud Sundby would be back in action on Wednesday after being forced to withdraw from events so far because of illness. He won the Tour de Ski earlier this year and has been considered the world’s best skier the past two years, and was bitterly disappointed that he was missing championship competition.