High hopes in the slopes

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Simen Hegstad Krüger in Sunday's skiathlon. Photo: Bjørn Landsem/Dagbladet

The 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea have started - and Norway stands still.

Norwegians love the Winter Olympics. The Norwegian press are peppering us with hourly updates of the most recent results of our best cross-country skiers, and the weather conditions in Pyeongchang are studied in detail. The whole country holds its breath while our skiers are fighting their way towards the goal.

The rest of the world does not seem to care as much about the Olympics as little Norway. Why are Norwegians so engaged in the winter games?

Norway is in fact the nation in the world that has won most medals in the Olympic Winter Games, leading with 337 medals. This gives the small country of roughly 5.2 million inhabitants a sky-high medals-per-capita ratio. Norwegian cross-country skiers are the best of the world, producing new talents every season.

On Sunday, the relatively unknown young skier Simen Hegstad Krüger took everyone by surprise by winning his first Olympic gold medal ever. Krüger even fell and broke a pole on the beginning of the game, but then passed 67 racers and won with no other skiers in sight. The second and third place were also occupied by Norwegians.

The hype around the winter games goes way back for Norwegians. It topped itself in 1994, when the Norwegian town of Lillehammer hosted the Winter Games. Ever since, the numerous medals won by Norwegian winter sport athletes have been the country’s greatest pride. A Norwegian pro-verb is that we are “born with ski on our feets”. Let the Olympic Games prove it!