Estonia: Punching above its weight in the winter Olympics

Despite its small size, Estonia has done remarkably well in the history of the Olympics; it is the 151st country by the size of its population, but 27th by the number of gold medals in the winter Olympics.

The twenty-two athletes, who have been selected to represent Estonia in the winter Olympics 2018, in Pyeongchang, South Korea, can think back and draw some inspiration from the hundreds of Estonian sportsmen and women who have competed and won medals in the Olympic games before. As of 2016, Estonia ranked number eight in the total medal count, when calculated per capita, and taking into account both the summer and winter Olympics - writes

Estonia first participated in the St Moritz (Switzerland) winter Olympicsin 1928, and then again in 1936 at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany (then under the Nazi rule). Following the Soviet occupation of Estonia in 1940, Estonian athletes subsequently competed for the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991. After restoring its freedom, Estonia participated again as an independent nation in the 1992 winter Olympics in Albertville, France.

The first gold medal in the winter Olympics was brought home by Ants Antson, who was the fastest speed skater at the Innsbruck (Austria) games in 1964. It took almost 25 years to wait for another medal – Allar Levandi won a bronze in Nordic combined (the ski jumping and the cross-country skiing) in the1988 winter OlympicsinCalgary (Canada).

Cross-country skiing success

Team Estonia has fared much better as part of an independent nation – mostly thanks to cross-country skiers Andrus Veerpalu andKristina Šmigun-Vähi, whodominated their fields in the last decade. Veerpalu won a gold inSalt Lake City, the US (2002), and in Turin, Italy (2006), andŠmigun-Vähi captured two golds in Turin.

Their success in Turin meant that with a total of three gold medals, Estonia snatched the 12th place in the overall medal board.

At Pyeongchang, Estonia is represented by 22 athletes from six sports: alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, Nordic combined, ski jumping and speed skating.

Out of the 22 athletes, twelve are making their Olympic debut. The youngest athletesof Team Estonia are 17-year old alpine skier Tormis Laine and ski jumper Kevin Maltsev. The most senior of the team is biathlete Roland Lessing; the 39-year-old is competing in his fifth Olympic Games.

Estonia’s medal count at the winter Olympics

Cover:The flag-bearer for Estonia at the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang on 9 February was Saskia Alusalu, the first Estonian female speed skater to compete in a winter Olympics event. Read also: Estonia at the Olympics . Images courtesy of theEstonian Olympic Committee.

Read more news of Tallinn on our site.
weight winter_Olympics
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
8 views in december
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

At the Riigikogu sitting beginning at 10:00 EET on Tuesday, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) will provide an overview of the activities of the Estonian government in the implementation of EU policies. Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Toomas Vitsut (Centre) will also deliver a report, and representatives of the Riigikogu's parliamentary groups will present their positions, according to a Riigikogu press release. In his rep...
Chairman of the opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) Mart Helme has called on Helir-Valdor Seeder, chairman of junior coalition member Pro Patria to tie the latter's support for the state budget bill to a decision by the government not to support joining the UN Global Compact on Migration. "Pro Patria still has the chance to demand from its coalition partners [the Center Party and the Social Democratic Party (SDE)] that its stances be t...
Political news portal Politico published its list of the most influential people in Europe next year last week, with fifth place going to Estonia’s cybersecurity ambassador Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar. Tiirmaa-Klaar takes her place in between well-known Europeans, after Secretary General of the European Commission Martin Selmayr and in front of Ukrainian presidential hopeful Yulia Tymoshenko. Politico believes Italy’s populist interior minister Matteo Salvini will...
Representatives of the transport ministries of the Baltic states, Finland and Poland who met in Tallinn on Monday were of differing opinions regarding whether to remain in summer or winter time once the practice of changing the clocks twice per year comes to an end. A recent survey indicates that more than half of Estonians would prefer permanent summer time. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Poland jointly acknowledged that the agreement to end the...
Ida-Viru Central Hospital is having trouble with patients not showing up to scheduled specialist appointments. To combat this issue, beginning next year, the hospital will start charging visit fees for no-show appointments as well. Last year, patients at Ida-Viru Central Hospital failed to show up for scheduled appointments a total of nearly 9,500 times, accounting for some 5% of all hospital visits, reported ETV news broadcast Aktuaalne kaamera. "Patients...
Tallinn city government finds that it is not reasonable to relocate the Tallinn Bus Station to the Ülemiste district near Tallinn Airport and that it should be left in its current location on Lastekodu Street. In connection with the preparation of an architectural idea competition and the drawing up of a detailed plan for the Ülemiste terminal in the framework of the Rail Baltic railway project, the city is drawing the attention of the Ministry of Economic...
A criminal investigation has been launched into the Medita Clinic, one of the largest private sector bidders in public procurement tenders in the health sector in Estonia. The Northern District Prosecutor's Office initiated the investigation in accordance with the Penal Code section concerning the transmission of false information, according to ETV investigative show Pealtnägija. The Medita Clinic was the largest private provider of specialist medical care...
The Tax and Customs Board (MTA) has signed an agreement with Online accommodation and hospitality marketplace Airbnb which enables hosts to automatically report earnings. The MTA and Airbnb held a joint press conference on Wednesday, announcing the agreement's signing as well as the new system and its rationale. The main premise, according to MTA deputy director Rivo Reitmann, is to keep things simple, meaning that Airbnb hosts who declare their income in...
Luminor notified its clients that as of 1 January, the bank will be closing the accounts of Estonian e-residents that fail to fulfil due diligence. Hannes Oja, head of Anti-Money Laundering at Luminor Estonia, said that based on the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act, banks are required to update the data of all of their customers, writes daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL). As a result, all existing clients have to do so themselves on a regul...