The eyes of a nation will be fixed on Maiken Caspersen Falla when she makes her third Olympic appearance at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games. There is good reason to think a triple-gold performance is within reach for the 27 year old Norwegian.
Falla will make her first Olympic gold medal defense attempt in the sprint, an event she won in 2014 without having to face then defending sprint gold medalist and teammate Marit Bjorgen in the final. A slip and fall in the semifinal pushed Bjorgen down the leaderboard, and left the door open for Falla to go on to win her first Olympic gold medal. History repeated itself at the 2017 World Championships when Bjorsen also fell in her semifinal race, and Falla went on to claim sprint gold for her first ever solo world championship title.
Falla grew up in southeastern Norway, where she and her twin brother Marius were exposed to every athletic opportunity available to them in Norway including snowboarding, skiing, biathlon, cycling, soccer and handball. When she was four, she received her first pair of skis. At 15 she enrolled at the Hovden Ski High School, a prep school for aspiring winter athletes, and by 18 she was already competing on the World Cup.
Just a month after her World Cup debut, Falla made her first podium appearance when she won bronze in the sprint event in Duesseldorf. To date, Falla has won World Cup gold 18 times, 13 of those coming in individual sprint events. Her World Cup medal haul also includes 18 silver and 13 bronze medals. In four World Championship appearances she has won four gold medals and three bronze.