Bente SKARI

Norway NOR

Cross-Country

  • Olympic Medals
    1 G
    2 S
    2 B
  • Games participations
    3
  • First Olympic Games
    Lillehammer 1994
  • Year of Birth
    1972
Olympic Results

Biography

Bente SKARI

The winner of five Olympic cross-country skiing medals and five times a world champion, Bente Skari called time on her career in 2003 at the end of a season in which she rewrote the record books.

Skiing in the blood

Born in Oslo, Skari is the daughter of Odd Martinsen, the great Norwegian cross-country skier, who won three Olympic medals at Grenoble 1968 and Innsbruck 1976, along with the world title in 1966, before becoming an administrator with the International Ski Federation (FIS). Coached by her father and competing under her maiden name, she competed in her first World Cup race in 1992 and made her Olympic bow at Lillehammer 1994. In the years that followed she became one of the world’s greatest cross-country skiers, battling for victory on every type of course and proving particularly adept at the classic technique. She scored her first win in December 1997, in a five-km event at Val Di Fiemme, the first landmark in a very special career.

Golden years

In 1999 she married American skier Geir Skari, with whom she has three children, and began competing as Bente Skari. The name change marked the start of a tremendously successful run. As well as collecting five Olympic medals, including gold in the 10km classic at Salt Lake City 2002, she won five world titles between 1999 and 2003, scored 42 FIS World Cup wins, and picked up four crystal globes for topping the overall cross-country skiing standings in 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2003 and five more globes for the successive sprint titles she won between 1998 and 2002.

Classic style

Skari won all her medals and most of her victories on the global circuit in classic events, where racers ski in parallel tracks cut into the snow. Though she was less at ease with the free technique (skate-skiing), she proved unbeatable in the 1,500m sprint, the shortest event in the discipline, which involves four-skier heats leading to a final round. Revelling in the head-to-head knockout format, she dominated her rivals. Explaining the secret of her success, she once said: “I don’t want to lose so I speed up, without really knowing how.”

Olympic Results

More results
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

Salt Lake City 2002

G
10 kilometres, Classical
10 kilometres, Classical Cross Country Skiing
#6
5/5 kilometres Pursuit
5/5 kilometres Pursuit Cross Country Skiing
B
30 kilometres, Classical
30 kilometres, Classical Cross Country Skiing
S
4 × 5 kilometres Relay
4 × 5 kilometres Relay Cross Country Skiing
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

Nagano 1998

B
5 kilometres, Classical
5 kilometres, Classical Cross Country Skiing
#9
5/10 kilometres Pursuit
5/10 kilometres Pursuit Cross Country Skiing
#=6
15 kilometres, Classical
15 kilometres, Classical Cross Country Skiing
S
4 × 5 kilometres Relay
4 × 5 kilometres Relay Cross Country Skiing
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

Lillehammer 1994

#20
15 kilometres, Freestyle
15 kilometres, Freestyle Cross Country Skiing