Tuesday, December 6, 2022

How does Norway dominate the Winter Olympics medals table?

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It trailed in fourth place and trailed the front-running Russians by 43 seconds Tuesday in the late levels of 1 huge goose bump of a four-man biathlon relay in sunshine and a couple of levels Fahrenheit and wind and a gnarly-slow observe. Eventually the guys on the anchor leg did their snowboarding and taking pictures, snowboarding and taking pictures, with the Russians manner out entrance all the manner, till one thing occurred that wreaked gasps. Russian anchor Eduard Latypov arrived at the ultimate taking pictures forward of everybody and commenced lacking.

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The panic began to really feel palpable, and the entire factor began to really feel like a type of nightmares while you go to the ultimate examination however can’t discover the proper classroom, or while you hit the baseball to the warning observe however maintain tripping up the baseline and get thrown out at first. He missed and missed as the Frenchman, German and Norwegian who had scrapped for second place quickly skied up from behind and arrived and commenced taking pictures alongside him.

And quickly that Norwegian, Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen, in his first Olympics at 29, up and exited the taking pictures space to renew snowboarding after working from some very best athletic trance and making 5 clear photographs, which none of the rivals may muster.

“My feeling,” Christiansen would say, “was we were three teams fighting for this second, third and fourth place, and that’s what we didn’t want, fourth place, so it was a big, big pressure to catch this medal, I think. But when we entered the last shooting, I think we all saw, at least I saw, that Latypov, he missed four of the first five shots. It was a change in mind-set. I went from a little bit defensive to completely in mode for a gold medal. There was this possibility that we were given. It was an extra bonus for us. We could fight for a gold medal we didn’t think we had the chance to fight for. So I just felt, I don’t remember — I was so calm. I was completely in my own world. I think it was a little bit blackout there. But it must have been really exciting to watch the relay, at least we hope.”

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So Christiansen skied alone out in entrance coolly round the closing turns as Norwegians typically do, after which he skied throughout the line nicely in first as Norwegians typically do, after which proper on into the festive hugs of his surprised teammates. Latypov would ski by means of for bronze behind France at silver and would topple to the floor into the subdued comfort of his surprised teammates.

Norway had nonetheless one other medal to make it 10 in biathlon and 6 in cross-country snowboarding and three in Nordic mixed and Alpine snowboarding, two in speedskating and one every in ski bounce, snowboarding, freestyle snowboarding and curling. It had nonetheless extra so as to add to the 4 medals of feminine biathlete Marte Olsbu Roeiseland and of cross-country skier Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo and the Boe brothers of biathlon who ended upon the identical podium in a single occasion, or the recent surprises reminiscent of 21-year-old Birk Ruud (gold) in the males’s freestyle huge air or an astonished 25-year-old Mons Roisland (silver) in the males’s snowboard huge air.

Then it got here time to ask once more about simply how a small nation reigns so, the way it outpaces nations with a lot bigger contingents and nations with a lot comparable climates. There’s the Norwegian factor about not maintaining rating of the video games of young children, and the factor a couple of system that emphasizes the total well being of the human athlete, and the factor about not paying medal winners as a result of it would beget suboptimal motives, and the factor about not working round the world crowing.

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There’s Ruud after his freestyle gold early in these Games, talking of his father who died final April: “It’s hard to say what he would have said, but I believe he’s really proud that I skied, that I did this for the right reasons, not really for the result but more for the sport, the love of the sport. I didn’t start skiing to end up with this [medal], but I started skiing because that’s what I love and that’s what he wanted me to do, so I think he would be really proud.”

There’s Roisland, who was “blown away” by his snowboarding outcome Tuesday: “It’s hard to explain Norway’s success. 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.”

The biathletes fielded the query, too, and first-leg dude Sturla Holm Laegreid stated, “I mean, we have a lot of cold,” proving there’s a sensible man in each room and a sensible man welcome in each room.

Then Christiansen spoke of the implausible paradox, the profitable system that doesn’t prioritize success.

“Our system is not set up for success,” he stated. “It’s more a system for joy and happiness, to have joy with your sport and first of all be healthy. And maybe that’s why we are so successful, because we really enjoy what we’re doing and it’s then easy to work hard — not every day but almost every day.”

There’s biathlete Johannes Thingnes Boe, who knowledgeable officers he had dedicated a rule breach and thus disqualified himself at a World Cup occasion in 2019 in Utah and who generally will get second-guessed for not coaching sufficient. “This is a bit hypothetical,” he winked to TV2 in Norway in 2020, “but how good could I have been if I had done the job properly?” He strives to keep away from overtraining. He has 4 medals right here.

They all deal with their medals-per-capita titan of a rustic to this curious quadrennial tail-kicking of the world, and so they carry out their 5-for-5 photographs in the clutch and whatnot even amid the heightened expectations of any public that will get accustomed to successful.

“I think they are satisfied,” Klaebo stated of the Norwegians. “Norway, we have this culture of a lot of people watching the Olympic Games, which I think it’s in many countries, especially the cross-country skiing, there is a lot of pressure about it. And for our athletes it has been challenging sometimes but, yeah, I think we have managed to do it right, and I hope they are satisfied back home.”

Anyone unhappy with watching Tuesday, you’d have to contemplate a bit huffy.

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