The 37-year-old, 10-time Olympic medalist Marit Bjorgen could become the most decorated winter Olympian of all time in PyeongChang. She trails her fellow Norwegian, the once dominant biathlete Ole Einar Bjorndalen, by just three medals. It seems possible considering Bjorgen’s performance at the 2017 World Championships, where she won four gold medals – three of which came in individual events.
However, Bjorndalen has shown no sign that he plans to slow down. At 44 year old, the 13 time Olympic medalist remains a contender. In PyeongChang he’ll attempt to build on his medal haul, which began mounting 20 years ago at the 1998 Nagano Olympics.
Growing up on a farm in Norway, Bjorgen started competing in cross-country races when she was seven. She did not lose a race until she was 13. Bjorgen joined the World Cup circuit in 1999 at 19, but finding success against the world’s elite would take time. In 2002 she won her first World Cup race at the first event of the 2002-03 season.
Bjorgen’s dominance has been staggering since her debut. She has won the Overall World Cup title four times while winning 110 World Cup gold medals and approximately $2.6 million in prize winnings. She has been equally impressive at World Championships, winning 12 individual World Championship gold medals plus six more in team relay events.
After winning five medals, three of them gold, at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games – the most of any athlete at the Games – Bjorgen was bestowed the Holmenkollen Medal, the highest award given to a Nordic sport athlete.
Bjorgen took most of the 2015-16 World Cup season off to have a baby with her partner, and four-time Olympic Nordic combined medalist, Fred Borre Lundberg. The couple welcomed their son, Marius, in December 2015.
Bjorgen returned to the World Cup circuit in November 2016, and as if she had never left, she won a race.
Getting to know Marit Bjørgen
Has been a member of every Norwegian Winter Olympic team since 2002
Her athletic ambitions initially revolved around handball, a sport contested at the summer Olympics
Grew up on a farm in the Norwegian village of Rognes