Norway’s winter wonders

Celebrating 10 World Cup champions

Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB
Nordic Combined’s Jarl Magnus Riiber is getting used to winning the King’s Cup, showing off the one he won at the Norwegian Championships March 27.

MICHAEL KLEINER
Business and Sports Editor
The Norwegian American

Another sports season in Norway has ended. Even as restrictions were relaxed, the pandemic still made its mark. We had another Olympics in Beijing with empty stands, a 70-page playbook of COVID-19 protocols and “closed loop systems” for fully vaccinated people. It’s amazing the athletes were able to compete and provide thrills and agony.

Norway finished as the top medal winner for the second straight Olympics and ninth time in 24 Winter Olympics and set a record with 16 gold medals. Before leaving for the Olympics, women’s cross-country runners Heidi Weng and Anna Kjersti Kalvå tested positive. Cross-country skier Johannes Høsflot Klæbo tested positive upon his return from the Olympics. However, he wrestled the World Cup trophy back from Russian rival Alexander Bolshunov by 497 points in the FIS World Cup Nordic in Holmenkollen. The Russian athletes were barred from participating in Holmenkollen because of its country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Men’s and women’s biathlon dominated the Olympics, but after Holmenkollen, the final competition of the season, 10 athletes and a coach tested positive for coronavirus, meaning they couldn’t compete in the Norwegian Championships.

Norway had 10 World Cup champions out of 28 sports and events.

It also saw the retirements of two legends, whose impacts will be everlasting, women’s cross-country skier Therese Johaug and alpinist Kjetil Jansrud.

Røiseland

Photo: Terje Bendiksby / NTB
Marte Olsbu Røiseland kisses the overall World Cup women’s biathlon trophy following the Holmenkollen competition on March 20

Here’s a rundown:

Men’s Nordic Combined: Jarl Magnus Riiber won his fourth straight World Cup title by 21 points over Johannes Lamparter (Austria). Riiber’s Olympics were disrupted by coronavirus. He still won Holmenkollen and Norwegian Championships and has seven career Kings Cups, three in the last five months. He was the top-ranked jumper. Jørgen Graabak (4th), Jens Lurås Oftebro (6th) and Espen Andersen (14th) gave Norway four in the top 14.

Women’s Nordic Combined is still in its infancy. Gyda Westvold Hansen won her second straight title, with Ida Marie Hagen earning silver, and sisters Marte Leinan Lund and Mari Leinan Lund finished sixth and seventh, respectively.

Women’s Biathlon: Marte Olsbu Røiseland had a breakout season winning her first World Cup title, ranking first in sprint and pursuit and fourth in mass start. Norway was first in the mixed relay and Nations Cup, and second in the women’s relay.

Men’s biathlon: Three-time defending champion Johannes Thingnes Bø fell to 13th, but Sturla Holm Lægreid was in the silver position for the second straight year, Vetle Sjåstad Christensen (4th), Tarjei Bø (6th), Sivert Guttorm Bakken (9th), Johannes Thingnes Bø (13th) and Filip Fjeld Andersen (21st) gave Norway six in the top 21. The relay and Nations Cup ranked Norway first.

Men’s Cross-Country: Besides Klæbo, Norway had nine others ranked in the top 21: Erik   Valnes (5th), Didrik Tønseth (6th), Martin Løwstrøm Nyenget (7th), Harald Østberg Amundsen (8th), Pål Golberg (9th), Sjur Røthe (13th), Håvard Solås Taugbøl (18th), Simen Hegstad Krüger (20th), and Hans Christer Holund (21st).

Women’s Cross-Country: Johaug finished her career with three golds at the Olympics and a gold at Holmenkollen but did not win the World Cup title for the second straight year. She was fifth, with Heidi Weng sixth and Tiril Udnes Weng 16th.

Men’s Ski Jumping: Marius Lindvik had a good performance at Planica, vaulting him to third place, and dropping last year’s World Cup champion Halvor Egner Granerud to fourth. Robert Johansson was 12th, Daniel-Andre Tande 21st.

Women’s Ski Jumping: Maren Lundby took the year off, opening the door for Silje Opseth (6th), Thea Minyan Bjørseth (16th), and Anna Odine Strøm (17th).

Men’s Alpine: Aleksander Aamodt Kilde ranked first in downhill and Super-G and finished second overall. Henrik Kristoffersen ranked first in slalom, second in giant slalom, and fourth in parallel, earning bronze. With Lucas Braathen and Atle Lie McGrath, Norway had four skiers in the top 12.

Women’s Alpine: After recovering from a knee injury the last two seasons, Ragnhild Mowinckel finished fourth.

Freeski, Snowboard: Birk Ruud captured the World Cup title in freeski, while Mons Røisland had a great final weekend to win snowboard park and pike by two points over Tiarn Collins (New Zealand) and three points better than Ayumu Hirano (Japan). Røisland took the lead on his last run, then teammate Marcus Kleveland surpassed him, but Røisland still had enough points to win the cup.

Women’s Speed Skating: Ragne Wiklund was second in long distances, fourth in 1,500m.

Men’s Speed Skating: The highest ranking was second in the team pursuit and fourth in the 1,000m by Håvard Holmefjord Lorentzen

 

This article originally appeared in the April 15, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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Michael Kleiner

Michael Kleiner, business and sports editor, has more than three decades of experience as an award-winning journalist and public relations professional. He has operated his own PR and web design business for small businesses, authors and community organizations in Philadelphia since 1999. Not of Norwegian descent, he lived in Norway for a year with his family at age 11 and has returned as an adult. He is the author of a memoir, Beyond the Cold: An American’s Warm Portrait of Norway, and a member of the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce Philadelphia. Visit Kleinerprweb.com; beyondthecold.com.

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