Bjorndalen: All-time record-breaker
Still competing at 43 years of age, Ole Einar Bjorndalen has pushed back the limits for longevity, at the same time amassing the greatest number of honours in the history of the biathlon, and in winter sports in general. He's tireless.
The skier with most individual victories
The king of the biathlon is yet to retire. Well past his 43rd birthday, and after 24 years of true and loyal service on the circuit, Ole Einar Bjorndalen can take pride in having the best record in the history of skiing, be it Nordic or downhill. And this despite coming from a hybrid sport with military roots. He is forever pushing the envelope, whether it be in the number of wins or in his scientific preparation.
With 95 wins in the Biathlon World Cup, the Norwegian holds the men´s record for most individual victories. He has topped Swede Ingemar Stenmark, the legend of downhill skiing and all-time great of winter sports, who won 86 times in technical races between 1975 and 1989.
In purely biathlon terms, Bjorndalen is not ready to surrender his record. To date, his main rival, Frenchman Martin Fourcade, has 64 wins in the World Cup. The latter is having his best time ever on the circuit. He has been able to wrest some records from his rival, such as the number of small globes (26 to 25), but not all.
Bjornadelen, Mr Big Globe
With six Big Crystal Globes (1998, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009), the top trophy in the discipline, Bjorndalen holds most biathlon honours. Only Martin Fourcade (since 2017) and Swede Magdalena Forsberg (6 women's globes) can look him straight in the eye.
Taking more disciplines into account, only Marcel Hirscher (6 Big Crystal Globes, downhill) and the legendary Bjorn Dæhlie (6 Big Crystal Globes, cross-country) are his equals.
19 gold medals at major meetings
Nothing is more important than mental attitude in day-long races. In this respect, Bjorndalen has found a winning formula to record Herculean achievements in this type of meeting. To date, he has 44 world championship medals (11 individual and 20 relay) and 13 Olympic medals, including 8 golds. In both cases, a record, and an enormous one at that.
Taking both summer and winter Olympics into account, the Norwegian holds the sixth highest number of medals in the history of the Games. Since Sochi, he has become the most successful winter sportsman (13 medals), equalling then surpassing his compatriot Bjorn Dæhlie. If he takes part in a seventh Games in Pyeonchang next February, he will become one of the top 3 Olympians, joining Jeannie Longo (7) and Josefa Idem (8).
Since first competing in the Biathlon World Championships, the "Cannibal" has claimed gold on eleven occasions. Above all, it is the extreme longevity of his record that helps us gauge his performance, because the Norwegian hasn't won gold since the 2009 World Championships. The mark of a true athlete. With nothing to prove.