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February 6, 2010
Who will win Norway's 100th winter gold medal?

ON THE WINNING TRACK: Biathlon World Champion Emil Hegle Svendsen won the last two competitions he participated in ahead of the Vancouver Olympics. Photo/Rolf Arne Odiin
by Rolf Arne Odiin

Chairman, AIPS Nordic Ski and Biathlon Commission

OLSO, February 6, 2010 - During the winter Olympic Games in Torino 2006 Norway won a disappointing two gold medals - Lars Bystøl (Ski jump) and Kjetil Andre Aamodt (Super-G).

If the Norwegians can win another two disciplines in Vancouver, the second medallist will earn Olympic Winter gold medal No. 100 for the nation.

The schedule tells that Aksel Lund Svindal (downhill), Ole Einar Bjørndalen or Emil Hegle Svendsen (biathlon) could fight to win the biathlon sprint discipline. Marit Bjørgen in woman's 10 km cross country, Petter Northug in men's 15 km cross country race or Magnus Moan in the Nordic Combined could also have the potential to stand at the top of the podium and hear the nation's anthem.

The goal is to bag the nation's 100th medal and enter the history books and two of these athlete hope to do so at their first winter appearance. But one never knows. After the all time high gold rush with and impressive 13 gold medals at the Salt Lake City games in 2002, the director of the Norwegian Olympic training centre Jarle Aambø was brought down to everyday serious work after the poor Torino results of four years ago.

The situation at the moment does not look very bright for the best winter sport nation.
There are no competitors in figure skating, bob, luge or short track skating. Female alpine skiers are without any medal hope, neither are the female speed skaters or men's freestyle.

In fact, there are only five athletes who are deemed able to win individual gold medals. Anything better would be a big surprise. But the former World Champions, Bjørndalen, Hegle Svendsen, Northug, Hattestad and Bjørgen, could in fact surprise us all and win more than one race.

Statistics Winter Olympic gold medals:

98 Norway
78 USA
78 Soviet Union
68 Germany
51 Austria
43 Sweden
41 Finland
39 DDR
38 Switzerland
37 Canada
36 Italy
33 Russia
25 France
25 Holland
17 South Korea

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