Where Were You When Oddvar Bra Broke His Pole? – The New York Times

This bizarre article will give you some insight into why Norway, which was 4 million people, now 5 million, has won more winter olympic medals than any other country in the world.

“VANG, Norway — It seems an unlikely event to be emblazoned in a nation’s collective memory. But if you’re from Norway, and you’re over 50, you almost certainly have a vivid recollection of this:

A man named Oddvar Bra is skiing the final segment of the men’s 4×10-kilometer cross-country relay at the 1982 world championships in Oslo. Surging up a hill, he passes and sideswipes the only person ahead of him, Alexander Savyalov of the Soviet Union.

Immediately, Bra realizes that the impact has had a terrible consequence. His right pole has snapped in two.

“Let him get a pole, man!” shouts the sportscaster for what is then Norway’s only national TV station.

As if on cue, someone in the crowd bolts into view and hands off a pole. His equilibrium restored, Bra battles Savyalov in a sprint to the finish line.
Let’s recap. A guy breaks a ski pole and keeps racing. Not exactly the moon landing, is it? And to be clear, this isn’t a come-from-behind story. Bra was actually leading after he broke his pole, because contact had knocked Savyalov to his knees.”

via Where Were You When Oddvar Bra Broke His Pole? – The New York Times