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NEWS FEATURE All-conquering Bjoergen set to claim Bjoerndalen's Olympic record By John Bagratuni, dpa

Europe, Europa
18.02.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Marit Bjoergen has won a women‘s record seventh Olympic gold and with one more will become the most successful Winter Olympian of all-time. No one really doubts that she will achieve this goal, including the current record holder Ole-Einar Bjoerndalen.

Pyeongchang, South Korea (dpa) - "Yes."

That was the simple answer from Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen when Marit Bjoergen‘s three relay team-mates were asked whether the Norwegian cross-country ski icon would would end her Olympic career as the most decorated Winter Games athlete of all-time.

The current leader in this category is countryman biathlete Ole-Einar Bjoerndalen who has no illusions either.

"She is an unbelievable athlete and will win two more golds," Bjoerndalen told reporters just a few hundred metres away at the Pyeongchang biathlon centre where he was in support of his wife Darya Domracheva who took silver for Belarus on the day.

Bjoerndalen failed to qualify for the Norwegian team and remained on a career 8-4-1 haul. He could only look on as Bjoergen levelled with him on 13 medals overall on a 7-4-2 haul.

The 37-year-old mother of one from Trondheim is the first woman with seven Olympic golds and needs just one more gold for the top spot as most and best decorated athlete in 94 years of snow and ice Games.

She will compete in the 30km which is the final medal event of the Pyeongchang Games on February 25 and her Olympic career, and possibly in the team sprint as well.

But again she refused to talk about her record-breaking achievements which include 18 world titles and an unrivalled 112 World Cup race wins in a career spanning more than a decade and a half.

"When you are still racing you are looking forward to the next race and not back. When I finish skiing I will look back," she insisted.

However, she has in the past named surpassing Bjoerndalen "a dream" which may have factored in in her impressive anchor leg Saturday where she wore out sprint gold medallist Stina Nilsson of Sweden for the latest triumph along with Jacobsen, Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg and 10km winner Ragnhild Haga.

Oestberg named Bjoergen "one hell of a girl and skier" and Bjoerndalen praised her as "a great role model" as Bjoergen completed a full set of 2018 medals after skiathlon silver and joint 10km bronze.

Rather than dwelling on her own achievement, Bjoergen talked about Jacobsen who had cried in relief after the team had dropped 30 seconds behind during her leg, with Haga then making up the deficit in the third leg.

"If anyone who deserves gold, that‘s Astrid. She has been on for a long time and there has been a lot of up and down. Not least because of what she was through in Sochi," Bjoergen said in reference to the death of Jacobsen‘s brother at the start of the Games in Russia.

Saturday‘s victory also made up for the relay disaster from four years ago where Norway failed to medal over waxing problems.

Bjoergen‘s overall tally could have also long been higher had she not been hit by illness at Turin 2006 where she had to settle for one silver.

But Bjoergen also realised she had done something extraordinary in the twilight of her career when she managed to hold off fast and strong Nilsson, who is 13 years her junior.

"I was surprised by myself," she admitted.

 

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