Bjoergen becomes most successful winter Olympian with 14 medals

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PyeongChang (South Korea), Feb 21 (IANS) Norwegian cross-country skier Marit Bjoergen on Wednesday sealed her place among the greatest ever winter Olympians after winning the bronze medal in the women’s team sprint final at the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games here.

The 37-year-old from Trondheim had already equalled the record held by her compatriot Ole Einar Bjoerndael, dubbed “the King of Biathlon”, when she won gold in the women’s 4 x 5 kilometre relay on February 17, reports Efe.

On Wednesday, Bjoergen surpassed the great Bjoerndael, and now stands on her own as the most successful athlete ever to compete at the Winter Olympics with a total of 14 medals.

Bjoergen stole the spotlight from the United States pair of Kikkan Randall and Jessica Diggin, who won gold, and Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla and Stina Nilsson, who took the silver medal.

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Bjoergen’s bronze was her fourth medal at PyeongChang, after she won gold in the 4×5-kilometre relay, silver in the 15-kilometre skiathlon and bronze in the 10-kilometre freestyle.

The 18-time world champion won her first Olympic medal — a silver in the 4×5-kilometre relay — at Salt Lake in 2002.

Four years later in Turin she came second in the 10-km classic too win another silver medal.

It was in Vancouver 2010 that she truly announced herself to the world on the sport’s biggest stage, securing three gold medals (sprint, skiathlon and relay), a silver (30-km classic) and a bronze (10-km freestyle).

Although she won fewer medals in Sochi 2014, she still won three golds – in 30-km freestyle, skiathlon and team sprint.

Despite likely being disappointed at not adding yet another gold medal to her haul on Wednesday, she can reflect on a career that has spanned almost 20 years.

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She still has the opportunity to extend her record by adding another podium finish to her resume if she chooses to compete in the 30-kilometre mass start classic on Sunday.

–IANS

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