Record-breaking opening day for Norway in Sochi / News / The Foreigner

Record-breaking opening day for Norway in Sochi. Norway maintained their promising start to the 22nd Winter Olympic Games by collecting their second gold medal in the first day. It’s early days, but Norwegian officials have Oslo 2022 in mind. Veteran biathlete Ole Einar Bjørndalen made history on Saturday after winning gold in the 10km sprint."An uphill struggle" The 40-year-old now has 12 Winter Olympic medals to his name, equalling the record of his compatriot Bjørn Daehlie. It was his first medal since back trouble hit him in 2011, when he thought it was all over.

sochiolympics, oslo2022, norway, sochi2014, norway



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Record-breaking opening day for Norway in Sochi

Published on Saturday, 8th February, 2014 at 22:07 under the news category, by John Price/The Foreigner   .
Last Updated on 10th February 2014 at 10:51.

Norway maintained their promising start to the 22nd Winter Olympic Games by collecting their second gold medal in the first day. It’s early days, but Norwegian officials have Oslo 2022 in mind.

Norway team, Sochi 2014 opening
Norway team, Sochi 2014 opening
Photo: Sochi 2014 Press Office/Flickr


Veteran biathlete Ole Einar Bjørndalen made history on Saturday after winning gold in the 10km sprint.

"An uphill struggle"

The 40-year-old now has 12 Winter Olympic medals to his name, equalling the record of his compatriot Bjørn Daehlie. It was his first medal since back trouble hit him in 2011, when he thought it was all over.

Bjørndalen could break Daehlie’s record on Monday if he finishes in the top three in the Biathlon Pursuit.

The 40-year-old from Buskerud County’s Modum, eastern Norway, beat Austrian silver medallist Dominik Landertinger and the Czech Republic’s bronze medallist Jaroslav Soukup to the finishing line. It was the Norwegian’s first individual Olympic gold since Salt Lake City in 2002.

“This victory has been a four-year struggle and it’s been many years since I won [an individual gold medal], but life is too short to give up,” said Bjørndalen.

Norway leads            

The gold from Bjørndalen was Norway’s second of the Sochi Winter Olympics. Marit Bjørgen won her fourth Olympic gold in the 15km skiathlon. This victory means 33-year-old Bjørgen is now Norway’s most successful Winter Olympic athlete.

Norway currently stands in first position in the medals standings. They have an opportunity to improve on their gold tally, Sunday, if skier Aksel Lund Svindal could improve on his silver medal he won in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics once he competes in Alpine Skiing Downhill.

There are also Norwegians competing in Luge Men’s Singles, Men’s Cross Country 15+15km Skiathlon final, and Alpine Skiing Men’s Downhill.

Booing boobs

Today’s victories come after a somewhat mooted Norwegian TV coverage start to Sochi 2014 by NRK, Friday. The broadcaster lost its bid for winter games coverage to TV2. It was limited to brief mentions in the news on NRK1 and NRK2 – the two major nationwide public TV broadcasting channels.

NRK1 news covered a protest against the Olympic Winter Games (OWG) by half-nude lesbians in Berlin in its 5pm news and the Norwegian team entry in the opening ceremony in its 7pm news transmission. NRK2’s 9pm news saw a minute and a half’s coverage of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s opening speech, and the lighting of the Olympic flame in Sochi.

Commercial station TV2 aired two programmes on the ceremony comprising an hour and half together.

Europeans said no

The disparity in coverage between the public and private sector broadcasters in winter-sports aware Norway may be an enigma of broadcasting policy, but might have other reasons than just money.

Two essays in the 7 February issue of Morgenbladet, the national cultural weekly newspaper, provide clues as to why this may be so. In Boikott OL på heimebane (“Boycott the OWG on home ground”), journalist Gudmund Skjeldal argued that cost alone has become a major hindrance.

The final cost of the Sochi Games will be some 30 billion, 15% more than the cost of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and more than the combined total of all other Olympic Winter Games to date, starting from the first in 1924.

It’s worth noting that while Oslo is one of the applicants proposing to hold the 2022 OWG, public referendums in Switzerland and in Munich, Germany have turned their thumbs down on application.

“A social experiment”

In Den store løgnen (“The big lie”), journalist Simen Sætre tests the wisdom of the 1994 OWG in Lillehammer and finds it lacking. The Lillehammer Games, he says, “were not a two-week public celebration, but rather a six-year long social experiment.”

Journalist Sætre, a native of Lillehammer, sensitively described the changes brought about before and during the Games by the invasion of VIPs – Olympic functionaries who established a network that enjoyed privileges and status beyond the reach of the ordinary citizenry of the city.

Another concern common in the media – but not directly mentioned in these two essays, perhaps because it is part of the everyday knowledge of Norwegian sportspeople – is that the Olympic Winter Games have grown too large, even for Norway. The Scandinavian country has twice hosted OWGs: in 1952 in Oslo and in 1994 in Lillehammer.

Money little object

Sky-high cost aside, the number of events may have spiralled to more than feasibly manageable.

There were 22 events in the 1952 Oslo OWG, four of them in cross-country ski racing, Norway’s prime pride in winter sports. This had risen to 61 events in the 1994 Lillehammer OWG, 10 of them in cross-country. In the 2014 Sochi OWG, there are 98 events, 12 of them in cross-country.

The statistics of cost and complexity apparently have not dampened the enthusiasm of the City of Oslo for its 2022 OWG application, though. A report in the 7 February edition of Aftenposten states that the City has sent seven Oslo politicians and 16 representatives of the Oslo 2022 OWG initiative to Sochi to lobby for its application; all at a cost of NOK 6 million.




Published on Saturday, 8th February, 2014 at 22:07 under the news category, by John Price/The Foreigner   .
Last updated on 10th February 2014 at 10:51.

This post has the following tags: sochiolympics, oslo2022, norway, sochi2014, norway.





  
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