The 2022 Beijing Olympics officially kicked off February 4. Norway enjoys a long history of success at the Winter Olympic Games, collecting 368 total medals (132 gold) and is one of only three nations with more medals at the Winter Games compared to Summer Olympics. Furthermore, Norway is expected to lead the 2022 medal count in Beijing with 45 medals and over 20 are projected to be gold. Contrary to the Summer Games, there is a lot more excitement, pride and anticipation surrounding the Winter Olympics in Norway when the country’s athletes get to compete on the world’s biggest stage in their respective sport. In the spirit of the Olympic Games, we here at Stressless® want to celebrate past and present Norwegian Olympic greats.
Best Norwegian Athletes of All-Time (retired)
Norway has hundreds of decorated athletes when it comes to the Winter Olympics, making it a real challenge to narrow down, but after some research these are our top 3.
1. Bjørn Dæhlie | Cross Country Skiing
Daehlie (54) known during his time competing as “Rocketman” is potentially the most successful Olympic athlete in Norway history. He has 12 Olympic medals (8 gold, 4 silver) and 17 World Championship medals (9 gold, 5 silver, 3 bronze) in cross-country skiing. Daehlie competed at the 1992 Albertville Games, the 1994 Lillehammer Games and the 1998 Nagano Games. While there are some other Norwegian greats we will mention with arguably equal or better athletic stats, Bjørn Daehlie is separated by his success beyond sport. Daehlie, a present day businessman, who has a fortune of an estimated half a billion dollars, started his own ski clothing line known as Daehlie, invented the Salomon Nordic System Pilot Bindings, co-hosted a show called Gutta på tur, and is well known in the real estate world. He has been featured in various advertising campaigns and in Norway he is a cultural icon.
2. Ole Einar Bjørndalen| Biathlon
Bjørndalen (48) is a former Olympic biathlete for Norway who had one of the longest athletic careers of all time, competing at his first Olympic Games in 1994 and his last in 2010. In total, Bjørndalen has 13 Olympic medals (8 gold, 4 silver, 1 bronze) and an astonishing 45 World Championship medals (20 gold). This feat doubles the medal count of any other biathletes at World Championships except for Martin Fourcade, who has 28 total medals.
3. Marit Bjørgen | Cross-Country Skiing
Marit Bjørgen (41), a Norwegian cross-country skier, has a total of 15 Olympic medals (8 gold, 4 silver, 3 bronze) making her the most decorated winter Olympian of all time. She won the most medals at the PyeongChang Games in 2018 with 5 in total. In addition, she has 26 World Championship medals (18 gold). Bjørgen retired in 2018; however, she recently came out of retirement to compete with Team Ragde Eiendom, though it is suspected her Olympic career is over.
Norwegian Athletes to Watch in Beijing
There will be plenty of Norwegian faces representing the nation this month in China. These five athletes stand out with the most potential to win gold.
1. Johannes Høsflot Klæbo | Cross-Country Skiing
Klaebo (25) is coming into the winter games on fire. He won both sprint events at the 2019 and 2021 World Championships, as well as at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. He has his mind set to win yet again in Beijing. Norway is known to dominate cross-country skiing and Klaebo may be the one to lead the charge.
2. Johannes Thingnes Bø | Biathlon
Bø (28) is a 3-time Olympic medalist (1 gold, 2 silver) and a 24-time World Championship medalist (12 gold, 9 silver, 3 bronze). He won most of these medals between 2018 and 2021. Bø’s recent and consistent victories bode well for his chances in Beijing. Bø also has an older brother, (Tarjei Bø) who is expected to participate on Norway’s relay in biathlon.
3. Tiril Eckhoff | Biathlon
Eckhoff (31) became the youngest Norwegian female biathlete to win Olympic gold at 23 years of age in Sochi (2014), where she also added two bronze medals. At the 2018 Winter Games she won a silver and a bronze and has a total of 15 World Championship medals (10 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze). Eckhoff just came off a stellar 2021 World Championship performance where she won four gold medals. This positions her well to have success in Beijing.
4. Jarl Magnus Riiber | Nordic Combined Skiing
Riiber (24) is a favorite in Nordic combined where he could potentially win 3 gold medals in Beijing. At just 21 years old, Riiber won a silver medal at the 2018 PyeongChang Games, as well as 7 World Championship medals (4 gold, 3 silver). With more experience under Riiber’s belt, Norwegians are hopeful that he will be the guy to break the German stronghold in Nordic skiing and restore Norway as the powerhouse.
5. Marte Olsbu Røiseland |Biathlon
Røiseland (31) heads into Beijing with a lot of recent success. She won 2 silver medals at the 2018 Winter Games and 2 gold medals at the World Championship in 2021. At the 2020 World Championships she won a record breaking 7 gold medals, making her the winningest female biathlete at a single World Championship. There is just one thing missing from Røiseland’s resume, and that is winning an Olympic gold. It is certain she will be motivated to do just that in Beijing.
This wraps up our picks for best Norwegian winter Olympians, past and present. Those competing in Beijing may have some stress, but you can cheer on our Norwegian Olympians from the comfort of your home in a Stressless environment.