PyeongChang 2018: Ragnhild Myklebust recalls glory days

Most decorated Winter Paralympian speaks to ahead of Opening Ceremony 09 Mar 2018
a female Nordic skier

Ragnhild Myklebust is the most decorated athlete in Winter Paralympics' history

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By Ryan Wilson and the IPC

No other winter Paralympian has ever won more titles than Ragnhild Myklebust.

She claimed a staggering 27 medals, including 22 golds, three silvers and two bronze, across three sports over five Paralympic Winter Games between 1988 and 2002.

Only USA’s 41-time swimming Paralympic champion Trischa Zorn holds more titles than the Norwegian but at Summer Games.

Myklebust also has 14 golds more than her compatriot Marit Bjorgen, the most decorated winter Olympian ever.

“I actually never think about being the most decorated winter Paralympian ever,” she said. “It is only when they mention the athletes who have won more medals, and they talk about able-bodied athletes while say nothing about us that I think about it.”

Myklebust was a successful ice sledge speed skater, a sport which last featured at Winter Paralympics at Nagano 1998, and Nordic skier.

She won four golds, three silvers and one bronze in ice sledge speed skating between Innsbruck 1988 and Lillehammer 1994. She remained unbeatable as a cross-country skier, winning 16 titles from her first race in Innsbruck until her last in Salt Lake City.

Myklebust also added two golds and one bronze in biathlon.

From all the many medals she has sealed, the gold in the women’s 3x2.5 km relay open at Lillehammer 1994 stands out according to her. “It is a tricky question because for me all of the medals have been the best. But if I had to choose, I would pick that relay.”

In that race, Myklebust joined forces with Anne Helene Barlund and Siw Vestengen to give Norway the gold with a time of 25:46.4. Germany (26:51.8) and Russia* (27:14.4) completed the podium.

Germany´s Reinhild Moeller (1980-2006) and Gerd Schoenfelder (1992-2010), both of whom won 16 golds in alpine skiing, are the two winter Paralympians who ended closer from breaking Myklebust´s record.

It may take many years, if it ever happens, to see another athlete winning so many titles at Paralympic Winter Games.

“I am not sure if my record will ever be broken,” said Myklebust. “I think competition nowadays has gotten harder than when I used to compete.”

Tickets for PyeongChang 2018 can be purchased here.

Every competition as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies can be watched live right here on the International Paralympic Committee’s website. Highlights of each day’s action will also be made available.

*Editor's note: The International Paralympic Committee suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee on 7 August 2016 for its inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code (to which it is also a signatory). As a result of the suspension, Russian athletes cannot enter IPC sanctioned events or competitions, including the Paralympic Games.

On 29 January 2018, the IPC announced that eligible Russian Para athletes who met strict conditions would be allowed to compete in five sports at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. These sports are alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country, snowboard and wheelchair curling.

For further information please click here.