|Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Norway celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men’s 10 km sprint. |
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) ― Ole Einar Bjoerndalen had just become the oldest Winter Olympic individual gold medalist ― at age 40 ― when he was hugged by a fellow Norwegian whose records he might soon overtake.
Cross-country skiing great Bjoern Daehlie embraced Bjoerndalen in the finish area Saturday, shortly after the biathlete had pulled off an upset win in the men’s 10-kilometer sprint at the Sochi Games.
Bjoerndalen beat the age record held by Canadian skeleton racer Duff Gibson, who was 39 when he won gold at the 2006 Turin Olympics.
“I always forget that (I’m 40). I feel like I’m 20. My age is perfect,” Bjoerndalen said. “I am in super form. I prepared well for this and I am feeling strong.”
Bjoerndalen missed one target before finishing in 24 minutes, 33.5 seconds for his seventh career Olympic gold medal, leaving him one short of the all-time mark held by Daehlie.
Earning his 12th medal overall, Bjoerndalen also tied Daehlie’s record for most medals won at the Winter Games, and looks in a strong position to overtake Daehlie as Norway is a clear favorite in both the men’s and the mixed relay competitions.
“In my eyes Bjoern is still the biggest athlete in Norway,” Bjoerndalen said. “I am just looking from race to race now. Our men’s relay is the most important for our team ... but everyone needs to have a perfect day or it’s really tough to get a medal.”