Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (NOR) tops incredible career with a pair of Olympic gold medals, a prestigious title and being elected the next representative for the IOC Athlete Committee. But he is still hungry for more.
“The timing to retire now, after a successful Olympics in Sotchi, would be perfect. But the motivation and desire to continue is too strong,” Bjoerndalen says to Norwegian newspaper VG. “I can’t quit now.”
The 40-year-old earned two gold medals at the 2014 Olympics in Sotchi: in the opening event 10 kilometer Sprint, and in the mixed relay. He now owns a total of 13 Olympic medals: eight gold medals, four silver medals and one bronze medal. Additionally, he has earned 39 World Championship medals since his first major championship in 1995. A total of 52 medals. And now he is committing to another two years, with the World Championship 2016 on home turf in Oslo as the grand finale.
Over the course of two weeks in February, the King of Biathlon made history as he became the most winning winter Olympian to date, was elected into the IOC Athlete Committee and was voted the best male athlete of the 2014 Winter Olympics by the Association of International Sports Journalists (AIPS).
Bjoerndalen won 28 percent of the votes, and narrowly beat Russian short track skater Victor Ahn, who received 27 percent of the votes for the prestigious AIPS title. French biathlete Martin Fourcade was the second runner-up with 12 percent of the votes.
In the IOC Athlete Committee election, which took place during the 2014 Olympics in Sotchi, Bjoerndalen won by a landslide. 81 percent of the athletes who competed in the 2014 Sotchi games voted at the election, and Bjoerndalen received 1087 votes. Canadian Hayley Wickenheiser (ice hockey) was the next contender, receiving 758 votes. Both Bjoerndalen and Wickenheiser will serve an eight-year term with the IOC Athlete Committee, and they replace Beckie Scott of Canada, also a former Madshus racer, and Saku Koivu. Both Scott and Koivu have served on the committee since 2006.
“This is a huge achievement for Norwegian athletics as a whole. Ole Einar Bjoerndalen has become the most winning winter Olympian in the history of the Games, and is an athlete who is sincerely passionate about sports. We are convinced that he will be a huge asset with the vast experience he brings to the committee, and he has a commitment to help develop international sports in a good direction,” says Inge Andersen, who is the secretary general of the Norwegian Athletic Association.
“When the Norwegian board of athletics decided to help promote Bjoerndalen as a candidate for the IOC Athlete Committee last fall, we did so as a commitment to further Norways ideals and values in regards to international sports as described in our mission statement. To have Bjoerndalen elected to the IOC Athlete Committee is an important step in this process,” says Børre Rognlien, who is the president of the Norwegian Athletic Assocation (NIF).