Marte Olsbu Roeiseland leads group of biathlon stars to retire

Marte Olsbu Roeiseland

Norway’s Marte Olsbu Røiseland, who won five biathlon medals at last year’s Olympics, including two individual golds, announced she will retire after this weekend’s season-ending World Cup stop in Oslo.

“It’s the right time,” the 32-year-old Røiseland said, according to the International Biathlon Union (IBU). “I just feel it. It’s a feeling I had the whole year, actually.”

Røiseland was one of the most dominant athletes across all sports at the Olympics, tying the record for most medals won at one Winter Games, then missed the first month of this past season due to health issues.

She won one individual bronze medal and two relay golds at last month’s world championships, then earned her two World Cup wins this season two weeks ago.

“Last year was an incredible season, but I’m so glad I took another year,” she said, according to the IBU. “This year, it’s been tough, but it’s been so worth it. I’m just so happy with everything I have done. Now it’s time. I feel it, and I feel the life is so much more than biathlon.”

In 2020, Røiseland won medals in all seven events at the world championships — five gold and two bronze.

She was considered a late bloomer, competing in her first Olympics at age 27, earning her first of 19 World Cup wins at 29 and winning her World Cup overall title at 31.

Later Tuesday, German Denise Herrmann-Wick, a reigning individual Olympic and world champion, announced she will also end her career at the Oslo World Cup at age 34.

Then on Wednesday came more retirements: Norwegian Tiril Eckhoff, who won eight Olympic medals and 15 world championships medals, and Frenchwoman Anaïs Chevalier-Bouchet, who won three Olympic medals and seven world championships medals.

France’s Julia Simon, who had a best individual 2022 Olympic finish of sixth, leads this season’s World Cup overall standings.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Did Norway have best world championships season in snow sports history?

Norway Cross-Country Skiing

At the last two Winter Olympics, Norway reset the records for total medals a single Winter Games (39) and gold medals at a single Winter Games (16).

Over the last month, Norway bettered those totals with 52 medals and 18 gold medals in Olympic program events across the world championships in Alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, freestyle skiing, Nordic combined, ski jumping, snowboarding and speed skating.

Norway came oh-so close to becoming the first nation to win a world championships gold medal in every single traditional Winter Olympic snow sport discipline in one year. It just missed in ski jumping, taking three silver and two bronze medals.

In Alpine skiing, Norway won the most medals outright at a world championships for the first time in history.

In biathlon, Norwegian Johannes Thingnes Boe nearly became the first person to sweep all four individual gold medals at a world championships. He won three golds and a bronze. Add in relays, and he earned five gold medals, a silver and a bronze in the seven events at worlds, plus a road sign in his name.

In cross-country skiing, Norway won all six men’s gold medals at worlds and all four individual men’s silver medals, its most dominant showing ever in men’s races in that sport.

Freestyle skiing and snowboarding hold their world championships together. This was the second time in history that Norway won a gold medal in each discipline in one year — Marcus Kleveland in snowboard slopestyle and Birk Ruud in ski slopestyle. Norway’s seven total medals at freestyle and snowboard worlds were its most ever.

Norway was at its best in Nordic combined, winning all five gold medals (three men’s events, one women’s event and one mixed-gender event). Nordic combined is the lone Olympic sport with no female representation at the Winter Games.

On ice, Ragne Wiklund earned one gold and two silver at speed skating worlds, marking the best-ever performance for a Norwegian woman at those championships that date to 1996. Wiklund, still just 22, is Norway’s most accomplished female speed skater since World War II.

There are more Winter Olympic medal events than ever, so it’s hardly a surprise that Norway, the most successful Winter Olympic nation in history, is breaking medal records (especially with Russia, a traditional rival in biathlon and cross-country skiing, absent).

Other nations can take solace in knowing that a new snow sport debuts at the 2026 Winter Games: ski mountaineering. Norway didn’t win any medals at that sport’s world championships that finished on Sunday.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Johannes Thingnes Boe denied first sweep of individual golds at biathlon worlds

Johannes Thingnes Boe

Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe nearly became the first biathlete to sweep all four individual gold medals at a world championships.

Boe, a 29-year-old who won four golds at last year’s Olympics (two in relays), captured the sprint, pursuit and individual, then took bronze in Sunday’s 15km mass start in Oberhof, Germany.

He finished with five gold medals, a silver and a bronze in the seven events at worlds, tying the record of seven medals at a single worlds. Biathlon worlds didn’t have seven events per gender until 2019.

Boe was compared to Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt in a post-race press conference Sunday, then handed a yellow road sign with “Boeberhof” replacing “Oberhof.”

“You must remember we are biathletes,” he said. “You have to be good to take seven medals. I’m not talking myself down, but Michael Phelps is quite another league. Same with Bolt as well.”

In Sunday’s finale, he led by 11.8 seconds going into the fourth and final shooting stage, but his third miss of the day proved too much to overcome.

He fell 6.8 seconds behind after skiing his penalty loop and ended up in third place, 16.5 seconds behind Swede Sebastian Samuelsson, who went 20 for 20 shooting on the day.

Boe still matched the record of five gold medals at a worlds shared by German Laura Dahlmeier (2017) and Norwegian Marte Olsbu Roeiseland (2020).

Biathlon worlds had four events per gender through 1996, then five starting in 1997. A mixed-gender relay was added in 2005 and another in 2019.

At last year’s Olympics, Boe shared the glory with Frenchman Quentin Fillon Maillet. They split the four individual men’s gold medals. The best biathlete at the Games may have been Roeiseland, who earned a medal in all four women’s individual events, including two golds.

This season, Boe won 11 of the 14 World Cup races going into worlds.

“After every race this season I have said in the mixed zone that the day when we beat him only comes closer and closer,” Samuelsson said. “Nobody believed me.”

A highlight at worlds was when Boe stopped before the finish line of last Sunday’s 12.5km pursuit — guaranteed to win by more than one minute in a 34-minute event — and mimicked countryman Erling Haaland‘s goal-scoring celebration.

Roeiseland earned one medal (a bronze) among the four individual women’s events at worlds. The golds were split among Swede Hanna Oeberg (two), German Denise Herrmann-Wick and Frenchwoman Julia Simon.

Deedra Irwin, 30, had the best individual U.S. finish at worlds — 20th place in the women’s individual. Last year, Irwin posted the best individual Olympic result for a U.S. biathlete in history with a seventh-place finish.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!