Where Were You When Oddvar Bra Broke His Pole?

It seems that to know how this showdown entered the realm of nationwide mythology in Norway, you’ll be able to’t simply watch the ending. The tape should first be rolled again roughly 20 minutes.

In the third leg of the relay, the person racing for Norway, Pal Gunnar Mikkelsplass, inexplicably fell whereas snowboarding on their own on a downhill portion of the course. He wound up briefly in an undignified heap.

Mikkelsplass would later obtain demise threats that had been taken severely sufficient to benefit a police escort for the Norwegian crew out of the world. More instantly, the catastrophe left Bra with a roughly 15-second deficit when it was lastly his flip to race.

In different phrases, when you see the competition in its totality, this can be a comeback story.

Now roll the tape again a full decade. In the years earlier than 1982, Bra distinguished himself as one in every of Norway’s biggest skiers, profitable greater than a dozen nationwide titles beginning in his early 20s. In a sport identified for its sluggish and regular tempo, Bra was a born sprinter who would as soon as beat the English soccer participant Kevin Keegan in a televised foot race. Bra additionally had a freakishly excessive tolerance for ache and will race in an agony that produced a recurring visible hallucination.

“I see this gray fog,” he stated within the interview. “Especially during 50-kilometer races. The point is not to just keep going. The point is to enjoy it.”

Bra appeared destined for an epic profession, however his promise was matched solely by his horrible fortune. In the ‘70s, at each the Olympics and world championships, he caught the flu, or he selected a catastrophically unsuitable set of skis or wax. Gradually, he started to look cursed, an ideal expertise thwarted by the celebs.

Norwegians by no means deserted hope. That’s as a result of Bra appears reverse-engineered to be irresistible to them.

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