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Legendary Olympic biathlete set to retire after Sochi

Jun 12, 2013, 2:35 PM EST

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All-time Olympic great Ole Einar Bjørndalen, 39, said Wednesday he finally plans to retire from the biathlon following the Sochi Games in February.

“It’s clearly a heavy decision,” he told NRK Wednesday. “I think it’s fun to take part, to train hard and sacrifice everything – to put everything else aside to be the best possible in biathlon.”

Bjørndalen’s eleven Winter Olympics medals are the second most all-time, and he’s only one behind his similarly named Norwegian cross-country skiing compatriot Bjørn Dæhlie, which mean’s he could catch him with a good showing in Russia.

On top of six Olympics golds – including four from the Salt Lake Games – the legendary biathlete has also won an unfathomable 37 World Championships medals and 94 World Cup victories in his twenty-year career. He considered pushing himself through the 2016 Worlds on his home soil in Oslo, but thought the better of it since he’ll be 42 by that time.

Instead, Bjørndalen admitted to having some yet to be announced plans for his retirement:

“I’m working quite intensively with them, and have a lot of meetings right now,” he said. “That’s good for my head, too, because then I can break away from what I do every single day.”