On Monday, Ole Einar Bjørndalen gave an emotional farewell as a top athlete.
Bjørndalen’s decision was confirmed at a press conference in ‘Simostranda Idrettslags’ clubhouse on Tuesday.
The news that the skater will retire became big news all around Europe.
“I really appreciate that so many met up here. The season was far below what I expected of myself,” said Bjørndalen.
‘’The run started very well. I had my first heart fibrillation meeting this summer, but I went back to training. Then I got a new round of heart palpitations later in the summer.’’
Bjørndalen then had a heart flicker later in the autumn.
Long competitive career
It is 25 years since Bjørndalen entered his first world cup race. The 20 kilometer competitor ended in 29th place. Since then, there have been 58 international championships at senior level, including 20 World Cup golds and eight Olympic gold medals.
The ‘Simostranda’ skate king won a total of 13 Olympic medals. It made him the winter Olympics top medal winner until he was passed by Marit Bjørgen in South Korea. In the World Cup, there have been a total of 45 medals.There is nobody near to matching that.
Ole Einar Bjørndalen
Did not play the Olympics
The 44 year old had a disappointing season, having failed to qualify for what would have been his seventh winter Olympics. Thus, he was in Pyeongchang as an important part of the support apparatus around wife,Darja Domratsjeva. Together, they have the daughter, Xenia, who was born on October the 1st, 2016.
Domratsjeva, who took silver at the start, and went from Belarus into gold position at the Pyeongchang Olympics, now has four gold, one silver and one bronze in the Olympic context. It makes her one of the greatest female Olympic skiers of the time.
Bjørndalen has previously stated that he will not jump right into a coaching job after his career is over. There have been a few offers for the veteran.
“I have received some offers in recent years, but there have been a little more now. It’s natural when you get older and have some experience,’’ Bjørndalen said to NTB news two weeks ago.
‘’Being a coach immediately after a career is not optimal because you’re a bit incompetent. You do not see the big picture. There are many ways to reach the goal. You should probably get a little distance to be a good coach,’’ he added.
Existing IBU President, Anders Besseberg, has also lauded Bjørndalen as a possible successor in office. Bjørndalen has also previously been a part of the IOC executive committee.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today