Ole Einar Bjørndalen : biography
- *Results are from IBU races which include the Biathlon World Cup, Biathlon World Championships and the Winter Olympic Games.
Bjørndalen is a solid shooter, but is generally outside the top twenty marksmen. Bjørndalen finished the 2005/06 season with a shooting percentage of 84%, hitting 292 out of 345 possible targets, that placed him in 36th position for shooting accuracy. His shooting record for both prone and standing were practically identical, 146/172 in the prone and 146/173 in the standing position. In the individual disciplines, he shot 92% in the individual, 89% in the sprint, 96% in the pursuit, 93% in the mass start and 96% in the relay. In the 2004/05 season Bjørndalen was the 16th best shot with an 85% success rate, the second best Norwegian behind Egil Gjelland. He hit 331 targets out of a possible 364. His prone like most biathletes was much better than his standing shoot, he hit 169/180 (92%) in the prone and 163/184 (81%) in the standing. He had an average of 88% in the individual, sprint and relay, a 91% hit rate in the mass start but only 79% in the pursuit. During his career in 1999/00 he averaged 82%, in 2000/01 78%, 2001/02 74%, 2002/03 86% and in 2003/04 he hit 80% of the targets, however in those five years his standing shoot was the same or better than his prone shoot. In comparison his greatest rival Raphael Poiree averaged 87% in 2004/05 and 86% in 2005/06. Nikolay Kruglov was the best shot in 2004/05 with a 91% success rate, with Ricco Gross in second with 89%, and in 2005 Julien Robert was best with a 93% average and Gross again second with 91%.
Bjørndalen does have a shooting pattern. During the 2003/04 and 2004/05 season Bjørndalen took to firing an empty round for his first shot, so that he could get into a comfortable rhythm without missing the first target, though he appeared to have stopped doing this since in the 2005/06 season. Like most biathletes, Bjørndalen reaches for the barrel and swings it around to prepare to shoot, though this is not really possible when competing in biathlon in the summer as the rifles are different and less sturdy and pulling on the barrel might misalign the sights. Bjørndalen also shoots like most biathles from right to left because the rifle becomes more stable after every shot when the athletes are running out of breath (which they hold when shooting). However Bjørndalen has a tendency to shoot the first three targets from right to left, but then shoot the leftmost target and then the remaining target, second from the left.
Bjørndalen also started a trend of having a picture of an eye on the blinder.
Bjørndalen occasionally competes in cross-country skiing, and in 2006 he won an FIS Cross-Country World Cup race in Gällivare, Sweden, to become the first ever biathlete to win a cross-country competition. He is also the only biathlete who has won every event during the same Winter Olympic Games (four gold medals). He achieved this feat at the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics, becoming the most successful athlete there. This makes him one of only three Olympians to win four gold medals during the same Winter Games. He repeated this medal haul at the Biathlon World Championships 2005 in Hochfilzen, Austria and at the Biathlon World Championships 2009 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
At the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, Bjørndalen became the most successful biathlete in Winter Olympic history by surpassing the previous record of 9 career Olympic medals, which he shared with Uschi Disl of Germany. He then anchored Norway to gold in the Men’s 4 x 7.5 km relay. This was the second time that Norway had won a title in this event, with the other being at the 2002 Winter Olympics (also anchored by Bjørndalen). With this victory he became the second most decorated Winter Olympian of all time and one of only two athletes to win 11 medals at the Winter Olympics. Only fellow Norwegian Bjørn Dæhlie has won more Olympic medals, with 12 in total.