Norwegian athletes could boast another rush of gold medals that topped all other nations in the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022. However, for the chef of missions, Tore Øvrebø, enjoying themselves and creating good relationships were more important than winning. Learn more about the Norwegian gold rush in Beijing Winter Olympics.
Cool official Norwegian winter sports outfit, Norwegian flags and the Norwegian anthem were really in the spotlight when Norwegians entered the medal podiums 37 times during the two week’s games, 16 of them gold. That’s an increase of 14 since the last record-breaking Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Norway finished a narrow second in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, but really won considering Russia’s spectacular cheating scandal.
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Norway’s last gold medal before the 2022 winter games ended was claimed by veteran cross-country skier Therese Johaug (34), when she won the exhausting 30-kilometer race over the weekend. Johaug had already won gold in the opening 15K race and the 10K, but she lacked an individual Olympic gold medal and succeeded this time. According to the athlete this is her last Olympic games.
Some critics claim that Norway should have claimed more gold in biathlon and cross-country races, but Øvrebø measures success in different terms. “The main objective for us is to make the athletes have fun all the way through the Games,” he said when Norway won the men’s cross-country team sprint for a 13th Beijing gold.
But how can a small country like Norway, with only 5.5 million inhabitants outpace countries with much larger contingents and even much similar climates? The answer is a genuine sporting spirit from childhood to old age. In spite of this, a Norwegian Broadcasting Company reporter claimed that the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games was weak. “It has been 46 years since only one Norwegian woman won only one Olympic gold medal in cross-country skiing,” he said. Cross-country skiing is often viewed as Norway’s national sport.
Tore Øvrebø explains the Norwegian success has a three levels approach. First, to achieve development over time you have a very high quality of daily training. Second, working specifically with the competitions, preparations and executions. Last, but not least, is to establish and develop good and safe relations between the athletes themselves and also between the athletes and their coaches and the staff around.
Snowboarder Mons Røisland (25) was “blown away” by his silver medal. “It’s hard to explain Norway’s success,” he says. “We’re not many people, but we’re a people with passion. There are so many athletes out of Norway, and it’s so impressive and inspiring to see what everyone does to be here and be part of the crew.”
In spite of the Norwegian gold rush during the games, it was nonetheless an unusual Corona-plagued Olympics that prevented spectators from abroad to attend. No members from the Royal Norwegian family or the government attended, not because of a diplomatic boycott over China’s human right abuses or crackdowns on democracy in Hong Kong and freedom of expression anywhere under China control, but Corona-related reasons.
“The Norwegian sports model, which is being practiced all the way from childhood, should be physical activity based on fun, many types of activities, variety and different sports,” says the 56-year-old former Olympic rower Tore Øvrebø – director of Olympiatoppen since 2013.
The Norwegian Gold Rush in Beijing Winter Olympic, written by Tor Kjolberg