OSLO, Norway (AP) — China has hired the most decorated male Winter Olympian in history, biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, as a coach as it ramps up preparations to host the 2022 Games.
The Norwegian, who won eight Olympic golds and 13 total medals, says on Instagram he will be head coach of the Chinese biathlon team. His wife Darya Domracheva, a four-time gold medalist, will be a coach on the women’s squad.
Since landing the right to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, China has been trying to expand beyond its core sports of speed skating and figure skating. Government money has poured into sports like skiing and ice hockey.
China surprised many last month when Yan Zhang won the women’s 7.5-kilometer pursuit at the summer biathlon world championships, which is held on asphalt using roller-skis, and considered a valuable tune-up for the winter season.