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Denmark at the 2012 Olympics Posted by on Aug 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

Olympic rings with white rimsA tiny nation obsessed with hygge (having a good time in cosy surroundings, like when you’re sharing a birthday lagkage, layered cake, with your family), Denmark is rarely associated with athleticism. Wrote poet Piet Hein in 1950:

Den slankekur en dansker gerne tager / i håbet om at blive let og mager / er søndagsturen til kvarterets bager / samt turen hjem igen med flødekager.

The reducing treatment preferred by a Dane / hoping to become light and lean / is the Sunday stroll to the local baker / and the stroll back home again with creamy cakes.

Caroline Wozniaki snapped at match

Caroline Wozniacki

Yet in the recent OL [oh-el] (short for Olympiske Lege, ’Olympic Games’) in London, Denmark quietly brought home 9 medaljer: 2 guld, 4 sølv and 3 bronze.

The two gold medals were won by the cyclist Lasse Norman Hansen and by the rowers Rasmus Quist and Mads Rasmussen, who thus helped highlighting Denmark as a nation of bicycling (in the flat, windswept landscapes) and boating (along the country’s numerous beaches). The silver and bronze medals were gathered in the fields of shooting, rowing, sailing and badminton.

One of the biggest names in Danish sports, the tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, did not manage to live up to the enormous forventninger (expectations) of the Danish media: On August 2nd, the young star was beaten by the American Serena Williams in the kvartfinale (quarter-final).

Another skuffelse (disappointment) was the Danish male håndbold team. Master coach Ulrik Wilbek and his ”dream team” – which includes the current ”world’s best handball player”, Mikkel Hansen – seemed to have forgotten the fun of the game as they were outplayed by their archenemies from Sweden on August 9th, also in the quarter-final.

Notwithstanding the two setbacks, London 2012 might be Denmark’s biggest Olympic triumph ever. According to the newspaper Politiken, it’s the first time Denmark has gained more Olympic medals than its Scandinavian friends-and-rivals Norway and Sweden. Now, let’s prepare for Rio 2016…

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About the Author: Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.