Marte Olsbu Roeiseland used to hate biathlon. The Norwegian wanted to quit when she first started in the ninth grade. She also couldn’t find a suitable ski gymnasium because of an asthma illness, but wound up following her other brother when he began training for cross-country in Sirdal.
It’s a good thing Roeiseland stuck with it.
The 31-year-old Roeiseland is on a medal-winning tear at the 2022 Winter Olympics. She has claimed gold in three of four events so far — the 7.5km sprint, 10km pursuit and mixed relay — and bronze in the 15km individual, becoming the first woman to win four biathlon medals in a single Olympics.
Roeiseland will have a chance to become the first winter Olympian in any sport to win six medals in a single Games, with still the 4x6km relay and 12.5km mass start to come. She's already the first athlete to win four medals at these Olympics.
And she’s now enjoying biathlon very much.
“I am smiling and having fun,” Roeiseland said after winning her fourth medal in the 10km pursuit. “I just feel so lucky that I'm here and that I can race good races. I'm just enjoying it."
Roeiseland’s performance at the Olympics has already produced a long list of historical achievements.
Her 96-second win over Sweden’s Elvira Oeberg in the 10km pursuit was the largest margin of victory in any Olympic biathlon event. She became the second biathlete to win four medals at a single Winter Olympics, the third to win gold in both the women’s sprint and pursuit events and the fourth Norwegian woman to win at least three gold medals.
"I had really good preparation and I was looking forward to these Olympics for a really long time,” Roeiseland said.
Roeiseland burst onto the scene at the 2018 Winter Olympics, where she won silver in the women’s sprint and mixed team relay, her first major individual titles. Something must have ignited her, because Roeiseland has not stopped winning since.
In 2020, Roeiseland won a medal in all seven biathlon events at the Winter Championships in Italy, cementing her status as the most successful female biathlete at the World Championships.
“My goal has never been to be the best in the world overnight but to get a little better every day,” Roeiseland wrote on her website.
With her performance in these Olympics, she just might be the best in the world.
Before winning the 10km pursuit, Roeiseland’s shooting coach, Patrick Oberegger, told her: “Remember to enjoy this. This is once in a lifetime.”
“He was so right,” Roeiseland said. "Every medal is special. I'm just trying to be right here and right now and be present. Right now, I'm just enjoying this moment."