By Rolf Arne Odiin,
Chairman Nordic Ski and Biathlon Commission
OESTERSUND, Sweden, February 6, 2008 - During the11 remaining World Cup races this season Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (34) needs seven victories to be the most successful skier in history.
During the years from 1973 until 1989 the Swedish alpine skier Ingmar Stenmark (b. 18.03.56) won 86 World Cup races and put his stamp on what everyone thought would be an unbeatable record.
Next Saturday, February 9, Bjoerndalen (b. 27.01.74) starts the chase for the impressive task when the World Biathlon Championship opens with the sprint events.
Ahead of the championship in Oestersund, Sweden Bjørndalen has won 80 World Cup races and has 11 remaining competitions left in the winter season. From that point of view the King of Biathlon could equalize and even beat Stenmark this season. More realistic, this should be the start of the finish to realize the impossible dream.
“I have had priority on the World Cup this season and have made some good races preparing ahead of the championship,” says Bjoerndalen, who made two Worlds gold medals and won 11 World Cup races last season. So far this winter the champion has crossed the finishing line as a winner four times, among them the sprint and the mass start in Anterselva, ITA – the last races ahead of the Oestersund Worlds.
If Bjoerndalen some day can equalize Stenmark in the World Cup, his record in the Olympic Games and World Championships is even better:Stenmark has won two gold medals and one bronze in Olympic games.
One of Bjoerndalen’s victories is in another sport, he is the only biathlon athlete in history who has won a World Cup race in cross country.
Statistics of World Cup victories in Skiing sports:
86: Ingmar Stenmark, alpine, SWE
80: Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, biathlon, NOR
62: Annemarie Moser-Proell, alpine, AUT
55: Vreni Schneider, alpine, SUI
53: Hermann Maier, alpine, AUT
50: Alberto Tomba, alpine, ITA
46: Bjoern Daehlie, cross country, NOR
46: Matti Nykaenen, ski jumping, FIN
45: Elena Vaelbe, cross country, RUS
45: Hannu Manninen, nordic combined, FIN
43: Marc Girardelli, alpine, LUX
42: Magdalena Forsberg, biathlon, SWE
42: Bente Skari, cross country, NOR