Norway has taken the world by storm at Pyeongchang 2018, winning more medals than any other nation since the very first Winter Olympics in 1924.
The country’s Olympic team won 39 medals – 14 of those being gold – topping the overall medal table. That’s 10 medals more than Canada overall and 8 clear of Germany, while Team USA was 16 medals behind Norway.
One of the biggest highlights of Norway’s success was it’s latest medal win – when Marit Bjoergen made history for Norway by winning gold in cross-country skiing.
“I knew that if we won a medal today we would make history for Norway” said Leif Kristoan Nestvold-Haugen, part of the Norway skiing team.
“Even underneath the suit I get goosebumps talking about it, that the Alpine team could get that 38th medal”.
Through the games this year, Norway dominated cross-country skiing, and won medals in alpine skiing, biathlon, curling, freestyle skiing, ski jumping and speed skating.
Many Norwegian athletes competed in more than just one event at the Olympics. While that does seem like a strategic move, as it increases the country’s chances of winning more medals – head of the Norwegian team Tore Øvrebø says that’s more of a happy coincidence.
“They’re the most popular sports in Norway,” he explained. “We didn’t have to do that strategically – we just kept on and professionalised the sports we were already in love with. So that makes the recruitment process quite easy”.
“It’s an organic system because we’re doing what we like to do and we’re doing it well.”
Another memorable moment was when Norwegian Cross-Country skier Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo cruised to his second Olympics gold medal, joining up with Martin Johnsrud Sunday to win the men’s team sprint relay by 1.71 seconds.
We can’t forget Norway’s win in the men’s ski jumping. Robert Johansson landed a spectacular final leap to secure the team a gold medal for the country. Their team spirit was undeniable. Johansson expressed his love for his team, saying “I think we’re really good friends, travelling a lot of days during the year together.
Norwegian speed skater, Havard Lorentzen set a a new 200m Olympic record on the way to his first Olympic medal.
“It’s the best race I’ve ever done. It’s been 20 years since the last gold medal (for) Norway in speed skating, so it’s been a while,” Lorentzen said following the race. “It’s time for Norway to step up on the top of the podium again. It feels so good to do that today.”
As Pyeongchang 2018 has now come to a close, cross-country skier Klæbo said Team Norway has built strong relationships among the athletes who went to Pyeongchang.
“It’s quite cool to be a part of it because everyone inspires everyone,” he said. “Back at the hotel we are friends hanging around and just trying to compete with each other and having fun.”
With the epic run Norway has had this year, the world must brace itself for what Norway might do at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.