Another big haul for Norway at winter sports

No Lie, first Norwegian woman to win a World Cup downhill events

Photo: NTB/Geir Olsen
Kajsa Vickhoff Lie became the first Norwegian woman to win a World Cup downhill event.

Michael Kleiner
Business & Sports Editor
The Norwegian American

If it’s mid-February or early March, it’s time for the winter sports world championships. Time to count Norway’s medal haul. Norway collected an amazing 60 medals over 19 disciplines: 24 gold (world champions), 20 silver, 16 bronze medals. There were 14 World Cup champions (topped the standings) including duplicate winners and a relay team, 12 seconds, seven thirds.

One of the historical accomplishments came in alpine skiing, 13 days after the world championships. On March 4 on home snow at Kvitfjell, 24-year old Kajsa Vickhoff Lie became the first Norwegian woman to win a World Cup downhill event, crossing the line in 1:32.60.

At the world championships at Courchevel, France, Feb. 8, Lie tied for third with defending Olympic downhill champion Cornelia Hütter (Austria) in the Super G (1:28.39), the first medal a Norwegian woman had won in a speed discipline in the championships since Astrid Lødemel won silver in downhill and bronze in Super G in 1993. It was Lie’s third career World Cup medal.

Maria Therese Tviberg won gold and Thea Louise Stjernesund won bronze in parallel; Ragnhild Mowinckel was third in a Super G (1:03.25, 1:04.10, 2:07.35), Norway (Kristin Lysdahl, Alexander Steen Olsen, Stjernesund, Timon Haugen) was second in mixed team parallel.

Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum / NTB
Kajsa Vickhoff Lie skis toward victory at Kvitfjell, Norway, on March 4.

WC Standings: 8. Mowinckel (790).

Men: Norway took a gold—Henrik Kristoffersen in the slalom (47.84, 51.66, 1:39.50)—two silvers: Aleksander Aamodt Kilde in Super G (0.01 behind Canada’s James Crawford), and downhill (1:47.53, )—and a bronze: Haugen (parallel).

WC Standings: 2. Kilde (1,240, #1 Downhill, #2 Super-G); 3. Kristoffersen (1,014, #2 Slalom, #2 Giant Slalom). 6. Lucas Braathen (824, #1 Slalom).

BIATHLON

Men: No one dominated like Johannes Thingnes Bø. At the world championships at Oberhof, Germany, Feb. 8-19, he won five gold: mixed relay (totals 1:04:41.9, 9 penalties); 10km Sprint (23:21.7, 1 penalty); 12.5km Pursuit (33:34.5, 0 penalties); 20km Individual (49:57.5, 2 penalties); Single Mixed Relay with Marte Olsbu Røiseland (total 35:37.1, 6 penalties); silver in 4×7.5km Relay (1:22:27.6, 14 penalties with Vetle Sjåstad Christiansen, Tarjei Bø, Sturla Holm Lægrid), and bronze in 15km Mass Start (37:21.6, 3 penalties). The 10km Sprint was a Norway sweep with Tarjei Bø second, Lægrid third. In the 12.5km Pursuit and 20km Individual, Lægrid was second. JTB has 31 world championship medals (9-17-5).

Holmenkollen, March 16-19: JTB won the 10km sprint (8th straight sprint win) in 25:13.0 (1 penalty), the 12.5km pursuit (32:34.0, 1 penalty)—Lægrid third­—and 12.5km Mass start (38:51.9, 2 penalties; Christiansen third.) He was 14-1 in individual events in 2023 and set a record with his 18th individual season victory.

Photo: Javad Parsa / NTB
Johannes Thingnes Bø leads the pack in the Biathlon World Cup in Oberhof, Germany.

WC Standings: 1. JTB (1,589, #1 Sprint, #1 Pursuit, #2 Mass Start); 2. Lægrid (1,098, #2 Sprint, #2 Pursuit, #3 Mass Start); 3. Christiansen (935, #1 Individual, #1 Mass Start). Norway had five of the top seven overall. Relay: 1. Norway (450); Nations Cup: 1. Norway (8,993).Women: Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold (17:23.1, 3 penalties) and Røiseland (17:35.2 (34:58.3, 2 penalties) joined Lægrid (14:45.7 (49:44.0, 0 penalties) and JTB (14:57.9 (1:04:41.9), 4 penalties) in winning the mixed relay. Tandrevold was second in the 12.5km Mass Start (36:52.8, 1 penalty); Røiseland third (32:38.5, 3 penalties).

Holmenkollen, March 16-19: Røiseland was second in the 12.5km Mass Start. (36:56.1, 1 penalty, +22.6).

WC Standings: 6. Tandrevold (#4 Individual); Relay: 2. Norway; Nations Cup: 3. Norway.

CROSS-COUNTRY 

Men: Were there any other skiers at the men’s world championships at Planica, Slovenia, Feb. 21-March 5? Norway made it its world. Six events, six gold. Four silver, two bronze, 12 total, most by a country at any of the world championships. Of a possible 18 podium spots, Norway had 12–two of the golds were relays. Six individuals received medals: Johannes Høsflot Klæbo (5), Pål Golberg (4), Simen Hegstad Krüger (3), Hans Christer Holund (2), Sjur Røthe and Harald Østberg Amundsen (1).

First, Klæbo (2:56.07) and Golberg (2:58.29) were 1-2 in the sprint final. Klæbo took silver (1:09.52.5, +12.2) in a Norway sweep+1 in the 30km Skiathlon. Krüger captured gold (1:09.40). Røthe bronze (1:09.54.4, +14.1); and Golberg fourth (1:10.26.2). Klæbo and Golberg combined to win the team sprint (17:28.14). Klæbo fell one second shy of a bronze in the 15km individual start (32:42.9) in another sweep+1. Krüger took gold (32:17.4), Østberg silver (32:22.7, +5.7); Holund bronze (32:42.0, +24.6). Holund, Golberg, Krüger and Klæbo won the 4x10km Classic/Free Relay (1:32.54.7). In the 50km Mass Start finale Golberg, (2:01:30) edged Klæbo (2:01.31.2. +1.0) for gold.

Holmenkollen, March 11-12: In the 50km Mass Start, Norway took the first 10 places. Krüger (1:55.01.5), Holund (1:55.07.2, +5.7) and Martin Løwstrøm Nyenget (1:55.14.1, +12.6) took the podium spots.

WC Standings: 1. Klæbo (2,158 pts, #1 Sprint, #3 Distance), his fourth title in six years; 2. Golberg (1,934 pts, #1 Distance, #4 Sprint), Norway had six of the top eight.

Women: The lone gold came in the 4x5km Relay Classic/Freestyle with Tiril Udnes Weng, Astrid Øyre Slind, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, and Anna Kjersti Kalvå (50:33.3). Kalvå (1:23.11.0; +0.53) took the only Norwegian silver in the 30km Mass Start. The 35-year old Slind (38:59.8) earned bronze in the 15Km Skiathlon. In the Team Sprint Freestyle, Kalvå and Tiril Udnes Weng (6:17.01) brought Norway bronze.

Photo: Geir Olsen / NTB
Gyda Westvold Hansen brings home the gold in the 5km combined cross-country ski race at Holmenkollen in Oslo.

Holmenkollen, March 11-12: Ragnhild Haga won a close finish in the 50km (2:13:36.1), edging Slind (2:13:36.4) by 0.3 and American Jessie Diggins (2:13:36.6) by 0.5). Norway had five of the top seven, six of 11.

WC Standings: 1. Tiril Udnes Weng (1,733, #3 Distance, #4 Sprint), first title; 7. Twin sister Lotte Udnes Weng; sister, 10. Heidi Weng.

SPEED SKATING

Women: The first race of the world championships at Heerenveen, Netherlands, March 2-5 was the women’s 3,000m. Ragne Wiklund clocked 3:56.86; beating Olympic champion Irene Schouten (Netherlands) by +0.54; (3:57.40) to become a world champion for the second time.

Two years ago, she shocked the world and herself by becoming world champion in the 1,500m at 20 years old. This time, she was a favorite in the 3,000.

Wiklund got a battle from Canada’s Valérie Maltais, but was able to pull away from Maltais with splits of 31.09 and 31.60 in the last 800m.

Wiklund earned silver in the 1,500m (1:54.30, +0.76) and 5,000m (6:46.15 Personal Best) losing to Schouten (6:41.25 Track Record, Personal Best).

In Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland, on Feb. 17, Wiklund won the 3,000m in a track record 4:02.7, and the 1,500m (1:56.45) Feb. 18. A week earlier on the same oval, she clinched the Long Distance World Cup title.

WC Standings: Long Distances: 1. Wiklund (342) by 91 points; 1,500m: 2. Wiklund (278)

Men: Norway picked up bronze in the Team Sprint (Bjørn Magnussen, Harald Rukke, Håvard Holmefjord Lorentzen (1:19.80, +0.54) and Team Pursuit (Peder Kongshaug, Sverre Lunde Pedersen, Alan Dahl Johansson (3:40.93, +2.67). At Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland, Feb. 18, 20-year old Sander Eitrem set a track record in the 5,000m (6:15.06) winning by 6.57, and was third in the 1,500m (1:48.30) Feb. 17.

WC Standings: Long Distances: 3. Eitrem; Team Pursuit: 2. Norway; Team Sprint: 3. Norway (140.)

NORDIC COMBINED

Men: Norway won every men’s and women’s event at Planica, Feb. 24-March 4. Four-time World Cup champion Jarl Magnus Riiber won HS100/10km (103.5m, 131.1 pts, 24:36.3); HS138/10km (147.0m, 152.6 pts, 23:42.6), HS138/10km (147.0m, 152.6 pts, 23:42.6); was the anchor in Mixed Team HS100/4x5km: (100.0m, 128.1 pts), which tallied 461.8 pts, and clockled a combined 37:38.2, and included Jens Lurås Oftebro (99.5m, 117.3 pts), Ida Marie Hagan (87.0m, 96.7 pts), and Gyda Westvold Hansen (96.5m, 119.7 pts). Norway won gold in Men’s Team HS138/4x5km: with 478.0 pts, combined time 47:20.4 (Espen Andersen 126.0m, 114.2 pts; Oftebro 127.5m, 116.7 pts; Jørgen Graabak 120.0m, 102.3 pts; Riiber 139.0m, 144.8 pts, the best marks);. Oftebro (131.0m, 129.4 pts, 24:44.0, +1:01.4) took silver in HS138/10km.

Holmenkollen, March 11-12: Riiber won both HS134/10km events (134.5m; 23:40.4/ 125m; 22:45.7) and remains undefeated at Homenkollen.

Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB
Hans Christer Holund, Pål Golberg, Simen Hegstad Krüger, and Johannes Høsflot Klæbo celebrate their win in the 4×10 km relay at the Ski World Championships 2023 in Planica, Slovenia.

WC Standings: 3. Oftebro (1,173); 4. Riiber (923)

Women: There was one event for the women, HS100/5km, and Hansen grabbed gold (91.0m, 114.4 pts, 14:27.1). Hagan was fourth. Hansen won all 10 World Cup events this season and all 15 in other competitions.

Holmenkollen, March 11-12: Hansen (103.5m, 13:42.3) and Hagen (92m, 14:29.1) were 1-2 in HS106/5km. Hansen won all 10 World Cup events this season and all 15 in other competitions.

WC Standings: 1. Hansen 1,000 points by 411 pts; 3. Hagen (542).

SKI JUMPING

Men: Ski Jumping at Planica, Feb. 21-March 4 was a disappointment. Before the championships, Halvor Egner Granerud won six of the last seven individual events and a mixed relay. At Planica, he finished seventh in HS138, 11th in HS100. The men’s only medal was a silver in the Team HS138 (Johann Andre Forfang (137.0m, 144.5 pts, 139.5m, 148.0 pts, 292.5 total pts); Kristoffer Eriksen Sundal (133.5m, 143.5 pts, 133.5m, 137.5 pts, 280 total pts; Marius Lindvik (125.5m, 145.4 pts, 131.5m, 143.0 pts, 288.4 total pts, Granerud (136.5m, 154.4 pts, 135.5m, 149.7 pts, 304.1 total pts) with 1,166 points.

Raw Air #1, Holmenkollen, March 11-12: In the first HS134, Granerud was fourth; in the second, Daniel-Andre Tande was fourth. Raw Air #2, Lillehammer March 14: Granerud took gold (135.0m, 121.3 pts, 139.5m, 136.4 pts, 257.7 total pts.). Raw Air #3, Vikersund March 18-19: Granerud won HS240 (235.5m, 225.2 pts, 222.0m, 199.7 pts, 424.9 total pts), was second in another HS240 and won Raw Air.

WC Standings: 1. Granerud (2,058).

Women: The distance jumpers collected one silver and two bronze medals. Mixed team (Anna Odine Strøm (97.0m, 129.0 pts, 91.0m, 122.9 pts, 251.9 total pts); Forfang (92.5m, 127.7 pts, 98.0m, 122.5 pts, 250.2 total pts); Thea Minyan Bjørseth (90.5m, 121.2 pts, 99.5m, 125.5 pts, 246.7 total pts), Granerud (99.0m, 128.2 pts, 97.5m, 127.5 pts, 255.7 total pts, team 1,004.5 pts). earned silver in Mixed Team HS100). Maren Lundby (139.5m, 130.9 pts, 133.0m, 123.1 pts, 254 pts, -10.4) reached her first podium of the season, a silver in HS138. Strøm took third in HS100 (100m, 131.2 pts, 95m, 114.8 pts, 246 total pts). Norway, with Lundby (89.0m, 100.6 pts, 95m, 107.9 pts), Eirin Marie Kvandahl (91.5m, 88.4 pts, 91.5m, 100.4), Bjørseth (91.0m, 104.5 pts, 93.5m, 108.7 pts), and Strøm (99.0m, 106.0 pts, 95.0m, 112.1 pts), brought home bronze in Team HS100 (828.6 pts).

Raw Air #1, Holmenkollen, March 11-12: In a HS134, Strøm took bronze (127.5m–best jump of the round-123.1 pts, 120.0m, 108.5 pts, 231.6 total pts). Raw Air #2, Lillehammer, and #3 Vikersund: Silje Opseth (116.5m, 99.8 pts, 131.0m, 123.3 pts) won gold in HS140, and then was second at Vikersund.

WC Standings: 4. Strøm; 7. Opseth.

SNOWBOARDING

Men: Norwegian men earned five medals (2-2-1) at Bakuriani, Georgia (Russia), Feb. 19-March 4. Gold went to Marcus Kleveland (87.23 pts) in Freestyle Slopestyle, and to Birk Ruud (90.75 pts) in Freeski Slopestyle. Christian Nummedal (87.08) took silver behind Ruud. Silver was also collected by Mons Røisland (157.25 pts) in Big Air. Ruud (183.50) received the bronze in Freeski Big Air.

WC Standings Freeski Slopestyle: 1 Ruud (460).

Women: Sandra Eie (175 pts) was responsible for Norway’s only women’s medal, silver in Freeski Big Air.

WC Standings Freeski Slopestyle: 2. Johanne Killi (300); 3. Eie (234).

This article originally appeared in the April 2023 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 NorCham Philadelphia. Visit Kleinerprweb.com; beyondthecold.com.