Practising biathlon requires very diverse qualities: excellent physical capacities of endurance, along with intense concentration and extreme precision when getting into position for the shooting section.
Indeed, it is not easy to keep cool to aim at a target when your heart is beating fast. These are qualities which Halvard Hanevold developed throughout his long career. This civil engineer qualified in building machinery and tools was able to apply a scientific and methodical approach to his sports performance. This is certainly what enabled him to remain, for more than 15 years, an essential, yet discreet, figure in the world of biathlon.
His first steps into the world of Olympism were taken at home in Norway in 1994, at the Lillehammer Games. He very quickly became a pillar of the relay team, in which he amassed many rewards (he was a four-time world champion). He was always the first athlete in the relay. A fine tactician and good shooter, he launched his team onto the road to success.
In 1998, he became Olympic champion for the first time, winning the 20km. A few days later, with the Norwegian relay team, he was beaten by five seconds and won silver. In Salt Lake City in 2002, the biathlon events were dominated by an extraterrestrial, Hanevold’s teammate, Ole Einar Bjørndalen, who won the three individual races. In the team event, Halvard took the first leg of the relay, perfectly setting up his teammates for their triumph. And it was a second gold medal. In 2003, he won three medals, including a World Championship title.
Two individual medals
The athlete from Askim, on the south-east point of Norway, was not weary of competition. In 2006, he was still among the world’s best biathletes, despite not being the best shooter or the fastest man on skis. He remains a high-level athlete who knows himself perfectly, knowing how to make the most of his capacities and how to react according to the elements of the course. In Cesana San Sicario, in the 20km event, despite two shooting errors, he won the bronze medal. A very nice bronze medal followed shortly after the sprint event.
Gold 16 years later
At the age of 41, the Norwegian biathlete was still at the top of his form. He qualified for a fifth edition of the Olympic Games. Constantly seeking innovations in his equipment, endlessly repeating shooting movements despite years of experience, Halvard is a model of professionalism, always going the extra mile in his quest for detail. He did not win an individual medal in Vancouver, but, as usual, Hanevold started the relay and fought ardently for the title. He set his partners up well. A close, intense race followed, at the end of which the Norwegians stole the Olympic title. This was the sixth medal in five editions of the Games for Halvard Hanevold. The biathlete took a well-deserved retirement after a last podium finish in the winter 2010 season.