Ole Einar Bjørndalen

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Ole Einar Bjørndalen (born 27 January 1974) is a Norwegian professional biathlete. In 1992, he won his first career medal at the junior world championships. A year later In 1993, after winning a record three junior world championship titles, Bjørndalen made his Biathlon World Cup debut. His breakthrough came in 1994 when he featured on his first World Cup podium in a Sprint race held in Bad Gastein, Austria. Bjørndalen's first participation at the Olympic Games was during the Lillehammer 1994 Winter Olympics, which were held in his home country of Norway. He obtained his first major victory on 11 January 1996 in an individual competition held in Antholz-Anterselva, Italy.

Bjørndalen occasionally competes in cross-country skiing, and in 2006 he won an FIS Cross-Country World Cup race in Gällivare, Sweden, to become the first ever biathlete to win a cross-country competition. He is also the only biathlete who has won every event during the same Winter Olympic Games (four gold medals). He achieved this feat at the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics, this makes him one of only three Olympians to win four gold medals during the same Winter Games. Seven years later he repeated this medal haul at the 2009 Biathlon World Championships in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

At the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, Bjørndalen became the most successful biathlete in Winter Olympic history by surpassing the previous record of 9 career Olympic medals, which he shared with Uschi Disl of Germany. He then anchored Norway to gold in the Men's 4 x 7.5km relay. This was the second time that Norway had won a title in this event, with the other being at the 2002 Winter Olympics (also anchored by Bjørndalen). With this victory he became the second most decorated Winter Olympian of all time and one of only two athletes to win 11 medals at the Winter Olympics. Only fellow Norwegian Bjørn Dæhlie has won more Olympic medals, with 12 in total.

As of March 2010, Bjørndalen has won six Olympic gold medals, four silver and a bronze, as well as fourteen World Championship gold medals, eleven silver and nine bronze (more than anybody in biathlon history). In addition, he has a record 92 World Cup victories and 159 podium finishes. He also finished in the top 3 of the Overall World Cup rankings for a record thirteen successive seasons between the 1996-97 and 2008-09 seasons. As well as being the most decorated biathlete in history, he is generally viewed as the greatest biathlete of all time.

Bjørndalen resides between the villages of Obertilliach, Austria, and Toblach, Italy, with his wife, Italian-Belgian biathlete Nathalie Santer, whom he married on 27 May 2006.


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