Norway trails in early Olympics results

Germany and Netherlands both lead the all-time champs in the first days of competition

Johann Andre Forfang

Photo: Taxiarchos228 / Wikimedia Commons
Johann Andre Forfang flying at the FIS World Cup in Titisee-Neustadt, Germany, in March 2016.

Michael Kleiner
The Norwegian American

With the early results of Feb. 14, Germany jumped ahead of Norway in the Winter Olympics medal table with 12 on the strength of seven gold. Norway (3-5-3) and Netherlands (5-4-2) had 11, Canada 10, and the United States and Japan seven.

There were some remarkable performances and some surprises. Simen Hegstad Krueger’s victory in the 15km (freestyle) +15km (classical) skiathlon will become legend. Early in the race he fell, finding himself in the back in 68th place. Somehow, he harnessed the energy to overtake everybody (1:16.20) and lead a Norwegian sweep. Martin Johnsrud Sundby (1:16.28) and Hans Christer Holund (1:16.29.9) trailed. Johannes Høsflot Klæbo took gold in the sprint classic.

In the women’s 7.5km+7.5km ski­athlon, it was a Scandinavian sweep. Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla crossed the finish line first, followed by Norway’s Marit Bjørgen in second, and Finland’s Krista Parmakoski in third. The silver made Bjørgen the top women’s Winter Olympian of all time, leaving her three medals from passing countryman biathlete Ole Einar Bjørnedalen as best Winter Olympian. In the women’s sprint classic, Maiken Caspersen Falla won the silver behind Sweden’s Stina Nilsson.

The Norwegians got a hopp from the ski hopp. In the men’s normal hill, Johann Andre Forfang took silver and Robert Johansson bronze behind Germany’s Andreas Wellinger. In the women’s normal hill, Maren Lundby gave Norway the gold with 264.60 points.

The first men’s biathlon event, 10km sprint, brought the shocker. France’s Martin Fourcade was ranked first in the world, with Norway’s Johannnes Thingnes Bøe second. Neither medaled in the event. Bøe missed three of five targets from the prone position and one standing. With the time penalty, he finished 31st. Fourcade missed three of five shots from the prone position, penalizing him three laps. Fourcade placed eighth. Seeding for the 12.5km pursuit the next day was based on the times of the 10km sprint, so Fourcade left 24 seconds after the leader, Bø, 1:24. Fourcade took the gold in that event.

In the women’s 7.5km sprint, Marte Olsbu took silver.

Norway dropped the mixed doubles bronze medal curling match, 8-4, to Olympic Athletes from Russia.

Norway failed to reach the podium in Nordic Combined Individual Gundersen and normal hill, won by Eric Frenzel of Germany.

On the ice, Sverre Lunde Pedersen took bronze in men’s 5,000m (6:11.618).

For the stars and stripes, it’s been an amazing performance in snowboard, where the U.S. earned all its gold, from both old timers and rising stars. First, 17-year-old Red Gerard pulled off a clutch final run in snowboard slopestyle, pushing the Norwegians off the podium. Fellow 17-year-old Chloe Kim captured gold in women’s snowboard halfpipe (98.25 pts), with back-to-back 1080s on her final run, a first for a woman snowboarder. Arielle Gold picked up bronze. Veteran Kelly Clark was fourth. Jamie Anderson, 27, earned gold in women’s snowboard slopestyle (83.0) for the second straight Olympics, with Norway’s Silje Norendal fourth. In the men’s halfpipe, Shaun White, 31, the original face of the sport, performed back-to-back 1440s on a final run that scored 97.75 points to become the first American man to win gold in three separate Olympics. It’s also America’s 100th Winter Olympics gold.

Chris Mazdzer became the first individual American luger ever to earn Olympic hardware, winning silver. The Americans captured bronze in team figure skating, which was won by Canada. Contributing to that were Adam Rippon, who was third in men’s free skate (172.98); Mirai Nagasu, who was second in women’s free skate (137.53); and siblings Alex and Maia Shibutani, who were second in ice dance free skate (112.01).

The Netherlands dominated long-track speed skating with a sweep in the women’s 3,000m (Carlijn Achtereekte 3:59.21, Ireen Wüst 3:59.29, Antoinette De Jong 4:00.02), one-three in women’s 1,500m (Wüst, Marrit Leenstra), one-two in the men’s 1,500m (Kjeld Nuis, Patrick Roest), gold in the women’s 1,000m (Jorien Ter Mors) and men’s 5,000m (Svein Kramer broke his own Olympic Record in 6:09.76). Canada’s Ted-Jan Bloemen won silver (6:11.616).

Natalie Geisenberger led a 1-2-4 finish in women’s luge singles for Germany, which also went one-three in luge doubles.

This article originally appeared in the Feb. 23, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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