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Wed Feb 16, 2022, 03:20 PM

Norway is dominating the Winter Olympics. What's its gold medal secret?

When Tore Ovrebo, head of Norway's vaunted national athlete development program known as Olympia toppen, arrived in Beijing, he predicted exactly how many medals his country would win.

"The medal aim is 32 three, two," Ovrebo said at a press conference, making the number crystal clear for anyone not listening closely.

That is an astonishingly high bar, sort of like a Major League Baseball manager promising his pitcher will throw a no-hitter.

Ovrebo proceeded to map out his game plan, predicting Norway would medal repeatedly in three core disciplines: alpine skiing, biathlon and cross-country skiing.

With the Winter Olympics entering the final days of competition, his country's athletes are actually well ahead of schedule. The U.S. with its vastly larger population lags by half a dozen medals.

https://www.npr.org/2022/02/16/1081039454/why-does-norway-dominate-the-winter-olympics-medal-count

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Reply Norway is dominating the Winter Olympics. What's its gold medal secret? (Original post)
Jilly_in_VA Feb 2022 OP
onecaliberal Feb 2022 #1
Beakybird Feb 2022 #2
onecaliberal Feb 2022 #4
DoBotherMe Feb 2022 #11
Jilly_in_VA Feb 2022 #5
LisaM Feb 2022 #12
bucolic_frolic Feb 2022 #3
DinahMoeHum Feb 2022 #8
Cicada Feb 2022 #6
mitch96 Feb 2022 #7
DinahMoeHum Feb 2022 #9
Jilly_in_VA Feb 2022 #10

Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Wed Feb 16, 2022, 03:23 PM

1. They live in a very cold place. They ski, instead of traditional sports.

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Response to onecaliberal (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 16, 2022, 03:25 PM

2. So do the Canadians, Swedes, Finns, Russians, etc.

Plus, think of all the Americans in northern New England, Rockies, Cascades.
I'm thinking healthy diet, incredible medical care, vacation time, and great youth programs.

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Response to Beakybird (Reply #2)

Wed Feb 16, 2022, 03:28 PM

4. The Russians dope.

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Response to onecaliberal (Reply #4)

Sun Feb 20, 2022, 02:17 AM

11. Yes they do.

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Response to Beakybird (Reply #2)

Wed Feb 16, 2022, 03:48 PM

5. I think that's a lot of it

But they also don't try to do everything. They pick a few sports and excel in those. They get government support (most of our athletes don't, unless they're in military Olympic development programs, which are few). Our athletes have to depend on family and corporate support, and we have a lot of athletes in a lot of different private programs.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Reply #5)

Mon Feb 21, 2022, 03:45 AM

12. I agree with that.

We tend to get all swept up in stuff like snowboarding and the newer ski events,.rather than sticking to the more workmanlike things. And I really enjoy watching cross country skiing. I have noticed that I really get more engaged with the snow sports that involve racing, so I can tell a winner, rather than all those tricks, which are impressive but 1) kind of bore me and 2) are hard for me to tell apart.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Wed Feb 16, 2022, 03:25 PM

3. Don't know but I'd bet its athletes are not doubling as celebrities

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Response to bucolic_frolic (Reply #3)

Thu Feb 17, 2022, 08:38 AM

8. Uh, its elite winter athletes BECOME celebrities. . .

. . .in Nordic countries, cross country skiing and biathlon are mainstays on television. With that popularity comes fame for Norwegian athletes, along with more sponsorships, more money.

Norway also funds its Olympic athlete development programs with a national lottery.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Wed Feb 16, 2022, 05:43 PM

6. Norway's secret is eternal snow and ice

My dad was transferred from the real world to Fairbanks when I was14. Humans absolutely should not live there. But my high school class mates were crazy good at ice and snow sports. A big majority were in the curling club. The number one dream college was Colorado State, because of superior ski runs. I was pissed warm Stanford wait listed me so I had to go to cold New Haven instead.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Wed Feb 16, 2022, 06:33 PM

7. "What's its gold medal secret?" I think it's the Lutefisk..😉..nt

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Thu Feb 17, 2022, 08:45 AM

9. Go further into this story. Bill Demong has great insights. . .

. . .as well as great suggestions on how more US athletes can reach the podium in these sports. It includes a tax on sports betting to help fund the programs


He and the US Nordic Combined team won 3 silver medals plus his gold medal in 2010 Games in Vancouver. 3 events, 4 medals for Team USA. It hasn't been repeated since.

But he notes that his success wasn't followed by a pipeline of other American athletes reaching the podium.

"Was there a group [of U.S. athletes] behind me?" Demong said. "Absolutely there was. Did they all quit essentially or retire young? Absolutely."

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Response to DinahMoeHum (Reply #9)

Thu Feb 17, 2022, 10:58 AM

10. That's a great idea!

The way sports betting advertises is disgusting. Make them pay into Olympic development programs.

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