Norway’s biathlon superstar Ole Einar Bjorndalen, the most decorated male Winter Olympian in history, said Tuesday he would retire at the end of the season, at the age of 44. “I would have liked to continue a few more years, but this is my last season,” a tearful Bjorndalen told a press conference, citing health and family time as reasons behind the retirement.
Since making his professional debut in March 1993, Bjorndalen went on to win 13 Olympic medals (eight gold, four silver and one bronze). That leaves him as the men’s record medal holder in the Winter Olympics and number two overall behind compatriot Marit Bjorgen, the cross-country skier who set a new record of 15 medals after starring at last month’s Pyeongchang Games.
During his exceptional career, Bjorndalen amassed 95 individual victories in the World Cup, including one in cross-country skiing, and 179 podium finishes. He also claimed the overall World Cup biathlon title six times. But poor results this season meant he missed out on a seventh Olympics in Pyeongchang.