Skier Jesper Saltvik Pedersen could come home to Norway this week as the widely hailed “King” of the Paralympics. By they time they’d ended on Sunday, Pedersen had won four gold medals and one silver, and could proudly carry Norway’s flag at the closing ceremonies in Beijing.
“I’m just so happy, and now I’m ready to go home and take a well-deserved rest,” Pedersen said after winning gold in the giant slalom, the Super-G, the super combined and then the slalom on Sunday.
The 22-year-old from Karmøy on Norway’s west coast, who was born with spinal bifida and therefore uses sit skis, also won a silver medal in the downhill. He ended up as the most successful Paralympian, and said he was already looking forward to the next Paralympics that will follow the Winter Olympics in Cortina, Italy in 2026.
He’s an amazing athlete, fearlessly flying down the slopes and winning thumbs-up and congratulations from fellow Olympic skiers. Newspaper Aftenposten reported how Pedersen, lame from the waist down, got his first wheelchair at the age of one and had an active youth both with sit skis, handball, football, track and field.
Skiing has been his passion, and he dominated the Paralympics after also doing well at the World Championships, where he won three gold medals and two silver.
“I’d hoped to do as well here, and this was beyond expectations,” Pedersen told state broadcaster NRK. “Doing well here was quite cool, I can live a long time on this.”