Norwegians still winning in winter

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Two weeks after Norwegians dominated the Winter Olympics in South Korea they were back winning again at major winter sporting events over the weekend. Ski jumper Maren Lundby even made history.

Maren Lundby made history over the weekend by winning the overall World Cup in ski jumping for women, even before the season is over. PHOTO: FIS World Cup Rasnov 2018

Lundby, who won gold at the Olympics, became the first Norwegian to win the overall World Cup in ski jumping for women. She claimed her 12th World Cup victory at Rasnov in Romania, and thus gained enough points to win for the season even before it’s over.

After first jumping 100 meters and then 97 meters she had enough points to claim the overall World Cup title by a wide margin. With 1,120 points in total, Lundby is way ahead of her closest competitor Katharina Althaus of Germany with 820. That means Althaus could only win the overall World Cup if she wins all three remaining competitions this season and Lundby doesn’t win anything.

That’s unlikely, as the 23-year-old Norwegian looks forward to jump on home turf next weekend in World Cup competition at Holmenkollen. The season final will be held in Oberstdorf on March 24-25.

“It’s difficult to say what ranks highest, Olympic gold or the World Cup,” the smiling Lundby, who’s suddenly become extremely sought-after for everything from speaking engagements to TV appearances, told news bureau NTB. “But the overall World Cup means a lot to me. It shows you’ve been the best jumper all year.”

More speed-skating success
She was far from the only Norwegian celebrating this weekend, not least after speed skater Håvard Holmefjord Lorentzen became a World Champion in addition to winning his own gold and silver in South Korea. Lorentzen and his teammates have put Norway back on the speed-skating scene, and on Sunday the 25-year-old from Bergen won the men’s sprint at the Speed Skating World Championships in China.

The latest victory came despite a bout with illness after leaving South Korea. It had even been unsure whether he’d be able to compete. Lorentzen was a bit overwhelmed himself: “Winning Olympic gold and World Championship gold in the same season exceeds all expectations,” Lorentzen told newspaper Aftenposten.

Norwegian skier Andreas Nygaard was also the first to cross the finish line of the 90-kilometer Vasalöppet race in Sweden. PHOTO: Vasalöppet

Then the lesser-known Andreas Nygaard, a cross-country skier from Burfjord, fulfilled a dream he’d had of winning the tough 90-kilometer Vasalöppet in Sweden over the weekend. It attracted more than 15,000 racers, including lots of professionals, but Nygaard beat them all.

“It was a fantastic day where everything went the way I’d dreamed about,” Nygaard told news bureau NTB as he stood with the traditional laurel wreath around his neck. He said he’d tried to save up energy for the final spurt and prevailed, skiing the long course from Sälen to Mora in Dalarna in just four hours, 24 minutes and 36 seconds. Bob Niemi Impola of Sweden finished second and aonther Norwegian, Stian Hoelgaard, was third.

Two of Norway’s most succesful skiers, however, didn’t meet expectations in their first big races since the Olympics. Marit Bjørgen placed a relatively lowly third in the women’s 10 kilometer classic race in World Cup competition at Lahti in Finland, while the much-hyped Johannes Klæbo was seventh in the men’s 15-kilometer classic race. Klæbo still leads the overall World Cup this season, though, followed by Martin Johnsrud Sundby.

They’re all expected to be skiing at Holmenkollen this coming weekend, before thousands of cheering Norwegian fans.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund