Marte Olsbu Roeiseland announces retirement

This morning, Marte Olsbu Roeiseland has announced that the World Cup in Holmenkollen will be the final event of her outstanding career.

It's the right time. I just feel it, it's a feeling I had the whole year, actually. Last year was an incredible season but I'm so glad I took another year, this year, it's been tough but it's been so worth it. I'm just so happy with everything I have done - now it's time. I feel it and I feel the life is so much more than biathlon. Of course, biathlon will always been in my heart but I'm so much looking forward to the future! (Marte Olsbu Roeiseland)

Marte Olsbu Roeiseland leaves the sport with a sterling record, highlighted with almost unprecedented successes in the last five years. In that time, she went from an unproven talent on the Norwegian women’s team to its biggest star and a Championships medal machine. Her rising star status came from two crucial improvements. First, she went from an 83% shooter in the 2018-19 season to 91% perfection in the 2021/22 season. Secondly, Olsbu Roeiseland became well-known for devastatingly fast last loops that sealed victories in both individual and relay competitions.

She could be called a “late bloomer;” an athlete who won no big accolades as a junior, toiled on the IBU Cup circuit, honing her craft while gaining victories. The 2016 BMW IBU World Championships in Oslo were a breakthrough for Olsbu Roeiseland, taking her first two IBU WCH medals with a women’s relay Gold and mixed relay Bronze.

This was just a warm-up to the 2017/18-2021/22 time-span when she became a dynamic biathlon star. Sprint and Mixed Relay Silver medals at the 2018 Pyeongchang OWG set the stage for three Gold medals in the women’s relay as well as the mixed and single mixed relays at the 2019 IBU WCH. Olsbu Roeiseland’s first World Cup wins precluded those medals with another sprint/pursuit double earlier that season at Nove Mesto na Moravě in 2018.

Record-setting is the only description of the Norwegian’s exploits at the 2020 IBU World Championships in Antholz. She became the first-ever athlete to win a medal in each of the seven competitions, taking Gold medals in the sprint and mass start, plus three more Gold medals in the mixed, single mixed and women’s relays. The icing on the cake and her overwhelming dominance was 15 km individual and pursuit Bronze medals. After winning her fifth Gold medal in the mass start, she was overwhelmed and almost incredulous with her success, “I am so happy, at the start of the competition I was so tired and I was falling behind (22nd). I said, ‘okay, be happy, you had a good Championships; just keep going.’ Then I started hitting in standing. Suddenly I was up there chasing the Gold. If anyone had told me that I would win before the start I would not have believed them.”

After finishing second in the 2021 Women’s World Cup Total Score and “only” winning two relay IBU WCH Gold medals that season, She switched her focus for the 2021/22 Olympic season, “enjoying” the competitions while focusing solely on the Beijing OWG. That formula pushed Olsbu Roeiseland into legendary status, winning five pursuits and three sprints during the season. The Beijing OWG then saw her take sprint and pursuit Gold medals, as well as 15 km individual and mass start Bronze medals, capped with a mixed relay Gold medal, making her the most-medaled female biathlete in a single OWG.

A few weeks later, Olsbu Roeiseland ensured the Women’s World Cup Total Score as well as the World Cup Sprint and Pursuit Score titles, the first-ever Crystal Globes of her career.

After struggling with health issues in autumn 2022, Roeiseland made a delayed entrance to the 22/23 World Cup season but claimed Pursuit bronze and Mixed as well as Single Mixed Relay Gold at the World Championships in Oberhof. The Norwegian showed she had lost none of her magic and dominated the World Cup week in Nove Mesto Na Morave, claiming her latest sprint-pursuit double in the venue where she recorded her first-ever World Cup victory. Marte’s dominance in the last five seasons becomes clear in the statistics: 24 (16 Gold) medals in five IBU WCH and two OWG and 19 individual WC victories.

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