Norway favourite to win most golds at Sochi

Norway is the clear favourite to scoop the most gold medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi, with leading bookmakers Ladbrokes, Coral, and William Hill all giving the country's team even odds to come out tops.

Norway favourite to win most golds at Sochi
Therese Johaug (centre): Scanpix
That means that anyone betting 100 kronor on Norway would double their money, whereas if they bet the same money on the US team, judged the second most likely to win, with odds of 7/2, they would win 350 kronor. 
Norway's cross country ski teams, led by Petter Northug and Marit Bjørgen look set to dominate in their races, despite Northug's recent fitness issues following last year's illness. 
"I will stop at nothing because I must be at the top of the podium at the Sochi Olympics," the 28-year-old Northug said. 
"If I am speaking honestly, I have high expectations. One gold medal will not be enough. I want to win no less than two gold medals."
Meanwhile, Bjørgen, 33, and her enormously talented team-mate Therese Johaug almost certainly have both gold and silver in the bag.  
But the bookies are betting that the Norwegian team will fall behind the US when it comes to the total number of medals won, with Ladbrokes and William Hill both giving the US even odds,and respectively seven-to-four and to two-to-one against for Norway. 

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Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland

Norway, which has suspended the use of AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine until further notice, will send 216,000 doses to Sweden and Iceland at their request, the Norwegian health ministry said Thursday.

Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland
Empty vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

“I’m happy that the vaccines we have in stock can be put to use even if the AstraZeneca vaccine has been paused in Norway,” Health Minister Bent Høie said in a statement.

The 216,000 doses, which are currently stored in Norwegian fridges, have to be used before their expiry dates in June and July.

Sweden will receive 200,000 shots and Iceland 16,000 under the expectation they will return the favour at some point. 

“If we do resume the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, we will get the doses back as soon as we ask,” Høie said.

Like neighbouring Denmark, Norway suspended the use of the AstraZeneca jab on March 11 in order to examine rare but potentially severe side effects, including blood clots.

Among the 134,000 AstraZeneca shots administered in Norway before the suspension, five cases of severe thrombosis, including three fatal ones, had been registered among relatively young people in otherwise good health. One other person died of a brain haemorrhage.

On April 15, Norway’s government ignored a recommendation from the Institute of Public Health to drop the AstraZeneca jab for good, saying it wanted more time to decide.

READ MORE: Norway delays final decision on withdrawal of AstraZeneca vaccine 

The government has therefore set up a committee of Norwegian and international experts tasked with studying all of the risks linked to the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which is also suspected of causing blood clots.

Both are both based on adenovirus vector technology. Denmark is the only European country to have dropped the AstraZeneca
vaccine from its vaccination campaign, and said on Tuesday it would “lend” 55,000 doses to the neighbouring German state of Schleswig-Holstein.