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Record-Breaking Biathlete Bjoerndalen Puts Retirement Plans on Back Burner

Norwegian biathlon star Ole Einar Bjoerndalen. Tor Atle Kleven

The most decorated Winter Olympian of all time, Norwegian biathlon star Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, announced Tuesday he has prolonged his career until the 2016 world championships after flirting with retirement.

Bjoerndalen, 40, stunned observers by winning gold medals in the 10 kilometer sprint and mixed relay at last month's Sochi Olympics, taking him to 13 career medals, one more than the previous record holder, Norwegian  cross-country skier Bjoern Daehlie.

Before the Sochi Olympics, Bjoerndalen had not won any major race since February 2012, and was widely considered to be in the twilight of his career.

"Before this season I was sure that this was my last season as a top biathlon athlete. My plan was to retire, and to start a new life and career," Bjoerndalen said on his Facebook page.

"But after coming home from Sochi, full of energy and inspiration, I have been discussing with my team if I should reconsider my decision. Our conclusion is that I will continue my career until the World Championships in Oslo 2016."

Bjoerndalen added that he would compete in the three remaining World Cup events of the season, starting with this week's round in Pokljuka, Slovenia.

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