V for victory in Vancouver Tora Berger made a little piece of history when she won the 15km individual event at Vancouver 2010, becoming Norway’s first Olympic women’s biathlon champion and securing the country’s 100th Olympic Winter Games title in the process. The host nation of the 1952 and 1994 Winter Games, Norway is the first country to achieve that milestone.
Though the first of Berger’s many biathlon triumphs had come back in the 2007 IBU World Cup, but her victory in Vancouver added a new dimension to her career and heralded the start of a period of domination that would last all the way to Sochi 2014.
On top of the worldIt was during the 2010/11 season that the Ringerike-born biathlete began to enjoy sustained success in the sprint, pursuit, individual and mass start events. The younger sister of biathlete and cross-country skier Lars Berger, she raised her game even higher the following season to win the 12.5km mass start and 15km individual titles at the IBU Biathlon World Championships in Ruhpolding (GER).
Onwards and upwards in 2013 Berger’s best was still to come. At the 2013 World Championships in Nove Mesto (CZE), she appeared on the podium in every event she entered, winning gold medals in the 15km individual, pursuit, 4x6km relay and mixed relay, and silvers in the mass start and the sprint. As if that were not enough, she secured nine World Cup victories over the course of that season, emulating the previously unique achievement of French biathlete Martin Fourcade by bagging all five crystal globes on offer in the World Cup to complete the “grand slam”.
Three more medals at Sochi Berger won her second Olympic medal in the 10km pursuit at Sochi 2014, climbing up through the field from the midway stage of the race to finish second behind Belarusian Darya Domracheva. A few days later she joined forces with compatriots Tirl Eckhoff, Ole Einar Bjørndalen and Emli Hegle Svendsen to win the inaugural mixed relay gold. A third medal then came her way in the women’s 4x6km team relay, when she anchored Norway to bronze behind Russia and Ukraine. With her overall tally of two golds, a silver and a bronze, Berger has become her country’s most successful female biathlete ever.