Halvard Hanevold - Six-time Olympic biathlon medalist

Passing Date

Halvard Hanevold died September 3, 2019, at age 49, at home in Asker, a town on the west bank of the Oslo Fjord. In his competitive career he won six medals in the Winter Olympics, three of them gold (1998 Nagano, 2002 Salt Lake City, and 2010 Vancouver).

In the Biathlon World Championships, he won even more: five gold, seven silver, and four bronze medals. His Olympic and World Championships medal record is second only to that of Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjørndalen. Like other champions, Hanevold is remembered most for one outstanding win—the 1998 Winter Games individual 20 km gold medal that he won by a margin of five seconds over Italian biathlete Pieralberto Carrara.

In his teens, Hanevold started competing in cross-country ski racing and in orienteering. Unlike many that became sports stars, he was not a talent spotted early and then nurtured to excellence as an adult. He took up biathlon at age 15 in 1984 and combined the sport with earning a degree in industrial economics.

By 1992, Hanevold had become a sufficiently skilled biathlete to be named to the Norwegian national team, itself an accomplishment in the Nordic countries. He was on the team through the winter of 2010, a respectable tenure that reflected his talent, mindset, determination and attitude. —M. Michael Brady