Norway may have won one more Olympic medal than Canada so far in Sochi — and the same number of gold medals as Canada — but the tiny Scandinavian nation (population five million) is in a tizzy over what the entire country regards as a national humiliation at these Winter Games.
The expectation of the sports-mad Norwegian public was that its team, which has won more Winter Olympic medals than any other country, would prove it was the best in the world in Sochi by winning about 16 gold medals. With the Games now half over, it has only won four.
Norway is doing worse in almost every sport compared with how it did in Canada four years ago. While its alpine racers and men’s curling team have been weaker than expected, most of the hysteria has been directed at its cross-country and biathlon athletes, who are revered at home as Canada’s hockey players are. They have been blamed for not racing well enough.
Anger is being directed at its team of ski waxers. They are considered to be the most knowledgeable in the world, but have been unable to figure out how to prepare for the warm snow conditions that have existed here since these Olympics began.
The outrage has reached such heights that Norway’s lead waxer, Knut Nystad, told one journalist: “Take us out behind the shed and shoot us” and told another newspaper that “my wife has (jokingly) told me that the best I can hope for now is that they fire me.”