Bjørn Dæhlie has won more medals than any other cross-country skier at the Winter Games. He is viewed by many as one of the greatest Winter Olympic athletes of all time
First Olympic Games
Dæhlie won his first Olympic medals at the 1992 Albertville Winter Games. He claimed silver in the 30km before going on to claim three gold medals in the combined pursuit, the relay and 50km.
Dæhlie added four more golds in front of his home crowd at the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Games. But he also suffered a rare defeat when he was outsprinted in the thrilling final of the men’s relay. However, four years later in Nagano, Dæhlie finally collected a gold medal in this event when his relay team-mate Thomas Alsgaard won an equally tense sprint finish.
Dæhlie' final Olympic race – and his final victory – was in the 50km in Nagano. He would later describe it as the hardest race of his life. After skiing for more than two hours, he crossed the finish line 8.1 seconds faster than his nearest rival. Dæhlie collapsed and was unable to stand up again for five minutes.
Bjørn Dæhlie was in a class of his own in cross-country skiing and still holds many Olympic records. He was the only winter athlete to have won eight gold medals until his compatriot in biathlon, Ole Einar Björndalen, equalled his record at Sochi 2014, increasing his total of 12 medals and accessing his 13th podium. Daehlie remains the cross-country skier with the most medals, and the second most successful athlete of the Winter Games. Many consider him one of the greatest athletes of all time.