Record-breaking Norway out of Olympic golden shoes

Norway have won the most medals of any country ever at a Winter Olympics but it has come at a cost -- they have run out of commemorative, gold-coloured shoes.

Record-breaking Norway out of Olympic golden shoes
Photo: Lise Åserud / NTB scanpix

The Scandinavians were sitting pretty at the top of the medals table on Saturday, the penultimate day of the Pyeongchang Games, with a record 38 medals, 13 of them gold.

That betters the previous record of 37 won by the USA at Vancouver 2010.

But their gold rush has created a problem — albeit a nice one.

On Monday, Norway ran out of the eye-catching gold-coloured shoes that its triumphant athletes sport at medal ceremonies.

“After the men's team event in ski jumping we ran out of stock,” said Nils Roine, chief communications officer of the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

“There alone another four pairs were handed out and with gold medals in both the men's and the ladies' cross-country relays, the shoes were ripped away.”

Norway, led by their peerless cross-country skiers, have enjoyed a barnstorming Olympics. One day before the closing ceremony, they top the table with Germany on 13 golds, but with a vastly superior overall medals total.

Roine said the Norwegian team in South Korea had surpassed all expectations.

“Our ambition was 30 medals in total, but no number was set for gold medals. We will anyhow do our best to provide our athletes with shoes if they win more,” Roine said.

READ ALSO: Work comes second in Norway during the Winter Olympics


Norwegian Winter Olympics superstar Marit Bjørgen to retire

Norway's legendary biathlete Marit Bjørgen, who won a record eighth gold medal at the Winter Olympics in February, on Friday said she would call it quits at the age of 38.

Norwegian Winter Olympics superstar Marit Bjørgen to retire
Norwegian biathlon legend Marit Bjørgen. Photo: Berit Roald / NTB scanpix

“I don't feel I have the motivation required to give 100 percent for another season, that's why I'm quitting,” she told public broadcaster NRK.

“I thought it would be easier to say. I'm emotional. It has been an epoch in my life, over 20 years. So it's a bit special to say that this is my last season as an elite athlete,” she said.

Bjørgen underlined her status as an all-time great in the sport at the games in Pyeongchang, South Korea earlier this year, when she grabbed a record-extending 15th Winter Olympics medal, winning the 30km cross country to put Norway top of the final medals table.

The Olympian had earlier become the most successful winter games competitor of all time by finishing third in the team sprint free.

Her bronze with Maiken Caspersen Falla put her on 14 Olympic medals, outstripping fellow Norwegian Ole Einar Bjørndalen, who has 13 in the biathlon.

Bjørgen is also the second most successful woman at either the Summer or Winter Games, trailing only Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina with 18 medals.

She was showered with tributes from fellow athletes, and politicians, after the news broke on Friday.

“She was terribly important to me, she was my idol,” said Therese Johaug, a seven-time world champion and former Olympic gold medallist who was suspended after failing a drug test.

“You have been a source of inspiration and a role model, you made us jump with joy and scream with excitement,” former Norwegian Prime Minister and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg wrote on his Twitter account.

Bjørgen claimed her first World Cup victory in Dusseldorf in October 2002 and her first Olympic medal (silver) in Salt Lake City the same year.

She gave birth to her first and only son, Marius, in 2015.

Norway, a country of 5.2 million people, enjoyed a barnstorming Winter Olympics, breaking the United States' 2010 record of 37 medals at a single winter games.

Bjørndalen, the most decorated male Winter Olympian in history, also announced his retirement this week, saying he would quit at the end of the season at the age of 44.

READ ALSO: 'We are not super-human': the secret to Norway's Olympic success