Norway wrapped up its efforts at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics with two more golds and one silver in the nation’s final events, bring its total to ten medals. A highlight was the women’s handball team, which secured the gold and became overnight national heroes after defeating favourites Russia in the final.
Norway’s overall medal count from the 2008 Olympics consists of three gold, five silver and two bronze medals. The Nordic nation managed to win four more medals than their last outing in the 2004 Athens games.
Although all the Norwegian athletes performed admirably, the women’s handball team provided a huge thrill with their emphatic 34-27 victory over rivals Russia in the final match. Throughout the Olympics Russia seemed unstoppable at handball, progressing easily to the final medal round.
The Norwegian women, however, dominated the final handball match from the opening whistle. It was a particularly satisfying victory for coach Marit Breivik, who enjoyed winning her first Olympic medal. In other final events, Andreas Thorkildsen clinched the gold in javelin by throwing 90.57 metres. Nina Solheim took the silver in the women’s taekwondo, losing out to Mexico’s Maria del Rosario Espinoza.
Norway still faces the possibility of having its bronze medal in equestrian team jumping stripped over doping allegations. But overall, Norwegian athletics boss Jarle Aambo was proud of his countrymen, telling Aftenposten, “Given our Norwegian culture, conditions [for summer sports] and limitations, I feel great pride. All of our athletes have performed at top levels.”