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OSLO, February 24. /ITAR-TASS/. The Winter Olympics have delighted Norway's athletes, along with the royal family and government members, as they return home with 26 medals, the country's Olympic committee Secretary General Inge Andersen told Itar-Tass.
The national team had performed while King Harald V and his wife watched alongside Crown Prince Haakon and Prime Minister Erna Solberg from the stands, Andersen said.
Olympic committee members and their guests had been impressed. The atmosphere was great, and Russians were warm in their welcome, he said, noting the role played by event volunteers.
"We want to thank Russia for the wonderful Games," the official added, noting that his team, competing with Russia for medal tally first place until the last day, had fulfilled a medal plan with 26 to repeat its 1994 Lillehammer Games record.
Regrettable skiing race failures had disappointed fans, but many debut performers had pleased the kingdom with unexpectedly won medals, he said. Successes were not only of the stars but also of a new generation of athletes.
These had proved themselves alongside Ole Einar Bjoerndalen's unprecedented success for the highest number of Winter Olympic gold medals ever awarded to reign as eighth-time Olympic champion and Emil Hegle Svendsen's triumph with his third and fourth Olympic golds.
Russian fans had hailed Bjoerndalen's successes, the official said. The king of biathlon, for whom the 2014 Games were the golden final of his career, had beaten the record of famous Norwegian skier Bjorn Daehlie, wining his 13th Olympic medal.
"He is much loved in Russia. It was very pleasant to hear Russian fans' greetings addressed to him," Andersen noted, also hailing the performance of Swedish skiers who had snatched a victory from Norwegian and Russian competitors.