Madshus athletes Ole Einar Bjørndalen and Michael Greis are the first biathletes to receive the Holmenkollen medal, the most prestigious award given to athletes in any skiing discipline in Norway.

The medal, Holmenkollmedaljen, has been awarded by Skiforeningen since 1895. This year marks the first time the award is given to biathletes after the organization changed the statutes of the award.  The athletes were given their awards after the World Cup sprint races in Holmenkollen Thursday, March 17. Andrea Henkel (GER) also received the medal.

Holmenkollmedaljen can be awarded to skiers who over years have earned outstanding results in one or more of the ski disciplines. The jury heavily weighs outstanding performances in the Holmenkollen events, “Holmenkollrennene.” Additionally, the candidate must have delivered outstanding international results over years. 

The medals were awarded by the Board of Directors for Foreningen til Ski-idrettens Fremme (Skiforeningen) following the International Biathlon Union World Cup events in Holmenkollen on March 17, 2011.

“We are pleased that we are finally able to award Holmenkollmedaljen to biatheltes as well. And we could not imagine any more deserving reciepients than the three we selected this year,” said Ole Anker Rasch, Chairman of the Board of Directors in Skiforeningen.

Reason for the awards:  for tildelingene:

Ole Einar Bjørndalen
Ole Einar Bjørndalen is the most-winning biathlete to date. He had his international debut as a senior in 1994, when he was second in the sprint race and earned his first World Cup podium finish. Starting with the 1997 World Championships up until today, Bjørndalen has earned medals in every Olympic Winter Games and World Championships that has been held, a total of 19 major events (including relays).

His long career has delivered:
4 individual Olympic gold medals, 3 silver and 1 bronze. Additionally, he has 2 Olympic gold medals in the relay and 1 silver relay medal. He has 11 individual World Championship gold medals. He also has 4 individual World Championships silver medals and 7 bronze medals. He has 5 world Championship gold medals in the relay, 7 silver relay medals and 2 bronze medals (mixed relays and team competitions included). Bjoerndalen has won the overall World Cup no less than six times. He has won 93 individual World Cup events, and seven of those have been earned at the Holmenkollen venue.  

Michael Greis, Germany
Michael Greis has a long international career at the elite level. He debuted on the World Cup in 2001, and earned his first World Cup podium in 2002, in a sprint competition.

His extensive career has resulted in:  
2 individual Olympic gold medals, as well as 1 Olympic gold medal in the relay. In the world Championships, Greis has won 1 individual gold medal and 2 individual silver medals. He also has 2 World Championship gold medals in the relay, 1 silver and 4 bronze medals (mixed relays included). Greis also has won 11 individual World Cup, including 2 podium finishes in Holmenkollen World Cup events. 

Andrea Henkel, Tyskland
Andrea Henkel has an extremely long list of merits from international racing over many years. She debuted on the world Cup in 1995, and won her first World Cup event in 1999 when she was first in the mass start.

Her long career has resulted in:
1 individual Olympic gold medal, as well as 1 Olympic gold relay medal, 1 relay silver and 1 relay bronze medal. She has 4 individual gold medals from the World Championships, as well as 3 World Championship relay gold medals, 5 relay silver medals and 1 relay bronze medal from the World Championships (including mixed relays). She has won the overall World Cup once, and has 16 individual World Cup first places, including 2 in Norway. 

The jury consisted of:
Per Bergerud, Skiforeningen (CEO)
Erik Røste, Norges Skiforbund
Kari Uglem, Norges Skiforbund
Rakel Rauntun, Norges Skiskytterforbund
Erlend Slokvik, Norges Skiskytterforbund
Rolf Bårdstu, Skiforeningen (secretary)

Skiforeningen, March 16, 2011