When he is not at the forefront of dandruff prevention in Norway, exposing himself to Tora Berger in the freezing cold of Khanty or messing about with Tarjei Bø , Emil Hegle Svendsen sometimes does a bit of biathlon.
Born on the 12th of July 1985 in Trondheim, Norway Emil has been competing in biathlon since 1997.
He has his own website http://www.supersvendsen.com , but what I want to know is can he justify calling himself “super”? Other biathletes haven’t got similar monikers like” Brilliant” Bjorndalen ,”Fantastic Fourcade”, or “Terrific Tora”!
The Collins English Dictionary defines super as:
(informal) outstanding; exceptionally fine
And its synonyms include:
= excellent, wonderful, marvellous, outstanding, smashing, superb, magnificent, glorious, terrific, sensational, awesome, incomparable, out of this world, peerless, matchless.
When I hear the word “super” I immediately think about Superman, a normal guy who puts on a red and blue suit and does extraordinary things. The same could be said about Svendsen. He seems like a pretty normal 27 year old but when he puts on that red ski suit he is capable of producing some phenomenal performances.
For example last season 2012/13, he won 5 medals at the World Championships in Nove Mesto. They included 4 gold in the Sprint, Pursuit and both relays and a bronze in the Mass Start. He was the only athlete to really challenge Fourcade’s dominance over the World Cup season. In a season shortened by illness, Svendsen was second in the Total Score, sprint, pursuit and mass start standings behind Fourcade.In the Vancouver Olympics he won 2 gold and 1 silver medal and in total he has 11 World Championship gold, 4 silver and 2 bronze medals. He has 31 wins and 65 podiums to his name and one overall World Cup title which he won in 2009/10.
Quite a compelling case then to be able to use the word “super”. However he is not the most successful biathlete ever. That title goes to Ole Einar Bjorndalen. Nor has he won successive World Cups like Bjorndalen, Poiree, Ullrich, Roetsch or Fourcade. He currently appears 9th on the Olympic biathlon medal table.Saying that he is competing at time when there are a lot of outstanding biathletes and it is never easy to win a race never mind a Chrystal Globe. Plus he is still competing so his titles and medal count has not finished yet.
So maybe he isn’t the best biathlete of all time or even of the present but he is an amazing biathlete. His performances and achievements in the sport can more than adequately be described using adjectives like excellent, wonderful, superb and magnificent. What I don’t think we could use is peerless, matchless or incomparable which I am sure he wouldn’t either.
So how super is Svendsen? Well considering all the things he has achieved already and the huge potential he has for more success I would say he is very super. He can deservedly call himself SUPERSVENDEN and I am not going to tell him otherwise – he is also a supershot afterall!