Golden times in London

Photo: London 2012. Sailor Aleksander Wang-Hansen carries Norway’s flag during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympics.

Norway takes home eight medals from the London 2012 Paralympics

After the conclusion of the the London 2012 Paralympics on Sept. 9, the Games were hailed as the best and most successful ever.

“I can agree to that. Both in terms of overall experience, the public interest, the athletes, organizers and the media coverage. Yeah, really the whole package,” says Cato Zahl Pedersen, Norway’s Chef de Mission.

Norway won a total of eight medals at this year’s Paralympics, ranking 35th overall, above fellow Nordic countries Iceland and Denmark. Sweden ranked 29th with 12 medals.

One of this year’s gold medal winners was somewhat of a surprise. If the Norwegians are born with skis on their feet, then Chinese people are born with a table tennis racket in hand, and therefore Norwegian table-tennis player Tommy Urhaug had some stiff competition from China. But he ended up winning the gold medal in spite of it.

“An insanely great achievement. Norway is so small in table- tennis, but Tommy is great,” says Zahl Pedersen.

Another major standout for Norway was swimmer Sarah Louise Rung. The young Stavanger woman competed in five events, and came home with two gold medals, two silver medals and a fourth-place win. “It has been great to follow Sarah Louise. She was the one who had the most pressure on her, but kept a cool head and benefited very well,” says Zahl Pedersen. She won the honor of being Norway’s flag bearer at the closing ceremony because of her stunning performance.

“She thinks it’s nice to be appreciated and honored with such a gesture,” said her coach Morten Eklund to Aftenbladet.no after the closing ceremony on Sept. 9.

A bronze medal went to the Norwegian sailing team. “I am very, very happy. There is a lot of training and traveling behind this result, and it’s great that we’ve gained something for all the toil. A medal in the Paralympics is huge,” says Sarpsborg native and sailing team member Marie Solberg.

With her in the boat were teammates Aleksander Wang-Hansen and Per Eugen Kristiansen.

Norwegian Roger Aandalen took the bronze in boccia. “I had a great time. I have never had it better on a boccia court, I think,” he said to NRK after his victory. Runar Steinstad took the bronze in the men’s javelin throw.

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 14, 2012 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.