Guinness World Records - Officially Amazing

Have you heard of Ole Einar Bjoerndalen? You should

 
 
 
 
 
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Image (C) Reuters

We're willing to guess you've heard of Michael Phelps.

If you're an older Olympics fan, you've probably heard of Larisa Latynina too.

But do you know who Ole Einar Bjoerndalen is? If not, now you should.

Bjoerndalen, the 40-year-old Norwegian biathlete, won gold in the biathlon mixed relay Wednesday at Sochi. It's his second gold medal of these Games and 13th medal of his Olympics career - breaking the record for most career medals at the Winter Olympics.

"It's difficult to realize during the championships what has happened because you try to focus on the races,'' Bjoerndalen told reporters after the victory. "It will only sink in after the Olympics.''

Like summer athletes Phelps and Latynina - the career holders for most Olympic medals ever, Phelps with 22 and Latynina with 18 - Bjoerndalen has dominated his sport, with more than half his medals being gold. Unlike the iconic American swimmer and Soviet gymnast, though, Bjoerndalen has maintained his metronomic success over a much longer period of time. 

While Phelps and Latynina (and, for that matter, third-place Soviet male gymnast Nikolai Andrianov with 15 medals) scored their entire haul over a span of three Olympics, Bjoerndalen has spread the wealth. The Norwegian debuted at Lillehammer 1994 and has appeared in every Winter Games since, medalling at each one save his first.

Bjoerndalen broke a tie with his countryman, cross country skier Bjorn Daehlie, who won 12 medals from 1992-1998. Bjoerndalen still has one race to go in these games, looking to secure his career record with another medal in Saturday's 4x7.5K race.

"It's fantastic, I never imagined this would happen,'' Bjoerndalen said.

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