BEIJING – They’re doing it again.
Norway, with a population of only five million, is carrying out its quadruple victory over the rest of the world.
Norway may not surpass the historic 2018 Pyeongchang Games, when Norway won 39 medals, eight more than its closest competitor, Germany, which has 16 times the number of people.
But it is close.
Norway won its 15th gold medal at the Beijing Games on Friday, a record for one country in the Winter Olympics, which saw it seven times ahead of Russia (population 144 million) in the overall medal table and five countries ahead of Germany (number of population). 83 million) in the race for the most gold medals.
It’s her last victory men’s biathlonNorway also has medals in snowboarding, combined Nordic, speed skating, cross-country skiing, and freestyle skiing.
“We have a strong team,” said Kjetil Jansrud, the alpine ski champion. “We always do.”
More than strong. Norway has now been so successful that it has become a beacon of winter sports. American skiers, both alpine and cross-country, have trained with Norwegian athletes on the same mountains and glaciers for years. Each year, the state brings 150 of the best international junior cross-country skiers to a bootcamp to learn technique and train with the sport’s best coaches. Norway has a partnership with Britain to develop and share ski wax technology in the Nordic countries.
Despite this, over the past four years, several countries have sent their top sporting leaders to study the country’s methods – well, the ones the specialists will be participating in – to highlight the latest move in elite winter sports hospitality in Norway.
DISCOVER THE GAMES
said Luke Budensteiner, then director of sports for the American Ski and Snowboard Association, the national ski governing body.
And so, that spring, Bodensteiner and its top CEOs went to visit their competition.
Norway’s willingness to offer tutoring to competitors may seem odd, but while it wants to win, it also wants to make sure its trophies thrive in winter sports, and only if the competition is tough.
Bodensteiner and his team left Norway a week later, confident that any country could build a Norwegian-style winter sports machine. All it takes is 30 years and a complete overhaul of the systems that develop young athletes.
He also had a sneaking suspicion that Norway was keeping its most valuable information to itself.
Norway, for example, has been ahead of competitors in developing the most aerobic ski suits. She pioneered the use of GPS sensors to help alpine skiers find the fastest line down a mountain. Its cross-country skis are reliably the fastest, as a result of endless testing and retesting.
While the rest of the world trained alpine skiers like runners, focusing on building explosives, Norwegian coaches and coaches discovered that the alpine race was more like a 3,000-meter run. So alpine skiers started training like distance runners, taking long bike rides and doing creative aerobic training sessions in the gym.
The country’s research is now beginning to bear fruit in summer sports, too. In Tokyo, Norway’s men won gold medals in the 400m hurdles and 1500m hurdles.
For Norway, everything changed after the 1988 Calgary Games, winning only five medals, none of which were gold. That was an unacceptable outcome for a country where children start skating and walking around the same age.
Norway, which has rapidly transformed from a middle-class economy built on fishing and agriculture to an oil-rich country, has begun pouring money into Olympiatoppen, the organization that oversees elite Olympic sports.
It has also doubled down on its commitments under the Children’s Right to Sport document, which guarantees and encourages every child in the country to have access to high-quality opportunities in athletics, with an emphasis on participation and socialization rather than strong competition.
Local well-funded sports clubs in Norway, which are found in almost every neighborhood and village, do not hold tournaments until children are 13 years old.
The largest national ski event, the Holmenkollen Ski Festival, which began in 1892, includes a race for elite adult but not young skiers. Children join the course when they want and there is no official time allotted to them. The coaches, both professional and parent volunteers, must undergo formal training.
“There seems to be a lot more focus on getting everyone involved,” said Attlee McGrath, a 21-year-old Norwegian alpine skier whose father, Felix, competed in the US Alps at the 1988 Olympics. “Whether you’re really good or not, it’s pretty much the same experience for everyone.”
Jim Stray-Gundersen, a surgeon, former physiologist and sports science consultant for the American Ski and Snowboard Association, lived in Norway, where his father grew up, for five years while working as a scientist with Norwegian Olympic athletes. He said that one of the state’s priorities is to build a culture of health and regular practice, and its competitive prowess stems from that.
“It’s the way it produces psychological satisfaction, healthy living habits, and elite athletes over time, and that’s very much in contrast to the way we do and don’t do it in the United States,” he said.
Young people who do not display special talent remain engaged, and some thrive in their teens, long after children in competition-reliant countries have transitioned to the cello. McGrath, for example, didn’t outgrow it until he was 17.
Norwegians also tend to enjoy life and activity outdoors, during the summer months when the sun shines for nearly 22 hours, and during the long, cold, and dark winters.
Felix McGrath, who grew up in Vermont, said his son first showed an affinity for skiing when he was 8 or 9 and would spend hours making homemade ski jumps in the front yard, although he continued to play soccer, baseball and crossovers. Ski country.
At the age of 14, he was getting serious about alpine skiing, but people hardly paid attention to his racing results until he was at least 16 and attended a private public school for aspiring alpine skiers.
“Attle has always been very good but has never won consistently,” McGrath said. “He was the kind of guy who was always hovering a little behind the best kids and always showing up and working hard and getting better.”
Attlee McGrath didn’t win a medal in these games, but he showed some Norwegian spirit. On Wednesday, he skipped a gate in his second slalom and stopped. But instead of skiing off the track, he took two steps up the hill, went back around the gate and continued down the slope. He crossed the finish line 12 seconds behind the leader but still raised his arms in victory.
This is, after all, what Norwegians do at the Olympics.