Marit Bjoergen has announced her retirement. The most decorated winter Olympian in history with 15 medals told Norwegian state broadcaster NRK the time was right to hang up her skis.
“I don’t feel I have the motivation that is needed to give 100 percent for another season, that’s why I’m choosing to retire,” she told NRK.
The 38-year-old Norwegian finishes her glittering career with eight Olympic gold medals, 18 world titles, four overall World Cup titles and 114 individual World Cup race wins.
Finishing in style
Bjoergen closed out a remarkable Olympic career in style winning gold in the women’s 30-kilometre mass start classic on the final day of competition in PyeongChang making her the only athlete to take five medals in Korea.
“When I look behind me and see what I have done, it’s incredible,” said Bjoergen, who broke down in tears after the race. “It has been an amazing career for me, this is my last Olympics and to finish like this is incredible.”
A tough decision
She emphasised it wasn’t easy to come to this decision because “it’s been an era in my life, more than 20 years. So it’s a special thing to say that this is my last season as a top athlete.”
The cross country queen claimed her first Olympic medal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games and followed that up with medals at the 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018 Olympics.
The legend, Marit Bjoergen 🇳🇴 has decided to call it a career.
1️⃣1️⃣4️⃣ individual World Cup wins
1️⃣8️⃣4️⃣ World Cup podiums
1️⃣8️⃣🥇from the WSC
8️⃣🥇from the OWG
We are thankful for the memories and we wish Marit all the best in her future endeavours. pic.twitter.com/ioamcCZTOH
— Cross Country (@FISCrossCountry) April 6, 2018
First Bjoerndalen, now Bjoergen
Bjoergen’s announcement comes just three days after fellow countryman Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, the most successful male Winter Olympian, brought the curtain down on his golden career at 44.
The biathlon legend has eight Olympic gold medals and 20 world championships to his name.
“My motivation is unstoppable, you know that, and I feel that it is just as much fun today,” an emotional Bjoerndalen told reporters. “I would have liked to have had another year, but this is my last season.”
He had failed to qualify for the strong Norwegian Olympic team after struggling on the World Cup circuit all this season long.