Norway won its first-ever Olympic gold medal in team ski jumping on Monday, and its first gold in the 500-meter speed skating event in 70 years. The victories added to the country’s already impressive haul at the Winter Olympics in South Korea, after having claimed 28 medals as of Monday evening, ahead of Germany with 19 and Canada with 17.
When Norway’s Robert Johansson landed at 136 meters in the last jump of the competition, the mustachioed hero could really celebrate with his teammates. He’d already won two medals himself, but now the Norwegian ski jumpers as a team had won gold for the first time ever.
“We set this goal a year ago, and we succeeded,” the team’s coach Alexander Stöckl told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) as he shed a few tears of joy. “It’s an incredible presentation.”
Clas Brede Braaten of the national athletics association said he was “fantastically impressed” over the ski jumping team that consisted of Johansson, Andreas Stjernen, Daniel Andre Tande and Johann Andre Forfang. Tande jumped farthest, landing at 140.5 meters in the second round. Norway won ahead of Germany and Poland.
Earlier in the day, speed skater Håvard Holmefjord Lorentzen from Bergen had thrilled fans back home with his powerful performance in the 500-meter race. Not only did he win the gold medal, he also set a new Olympic record with a time of 34.41 seconds, just ahead of Min-Kyu Cha og South Korea and Tingyu Gao of China in a sport known for extremely thin margins.
“It was a fantastic race from start to finish,” the 25-year-old Lorentzen told NRK. “Setting an Olympic record is almost unreal.” The victory was also a personal achievement after a serious training injury two years ago in which Lorentzen gashed his leg with the blade of a skate so badly that even he feared his career was over.
“It looked pretty grotesque,” Lorentzen told NRK, but instead the injury marked a turning point for him. “It’s just gone faster and faster with every training session,” he said. And now resulting in gold for the young man known as “Lorry” by his teammates. He was already gearing up for his next chance at a medal, the 1,000 meter event on Friday.
Monday’s success left Norway with 11 gold medals, nine in silver and eight in bronze, still at the top of the list of all nations competing in South Korea.