Biathlon pays respects to triple Olympic champ Halvard Hanevold

The Norwegian biathlete, who won Olympic gold in 1998, 2002, and 2010, has died aged 49.

Norwegian triple Olympic champion Halvard Hanevold has been heralded as a "biathlon legend", following news of his death aged 49.

Hanevold, who won gold at Nagano 1998, Salt Lake City 2002, and Vancouver 2010, died at home near Oslo on Tuesday (3 September) of unspecified causes.

In addition to his three Olympic titles, Hanevold also claimed three other Olympic medals (two silvers and a bronze) and won five world championship gold medals.

The world of biathlon has been paying its respects to the late champion.

In a statement, International Biathlon Union president Olle Dahlin said Hanevold "embodied the best characteristics of our sport".

"He was humble, always curious and thoughtful but above all friendly, and he always found a reason to smile and a reason to laugh.

"More than his prodigious talent, we will miss his friendship, generosity, wit, and ever-present smile which will never be forgotten."

Current biathlon stars, including Hanevold's countrymen Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and Johannes Thingnes Boe and Boe's French rival Martin Fourcade, expressed their shock and sadness at Hanevold's untimely death.

"You were a fantastic being," Bjoerndalen said in a tribute video.

On Instagram, Boe described Hanevold as "a role model and pioneer in Norwegian biathlon history".

Since his retirement and until his passing, Hanevold had worked as a commentator and analyst for Norwegian channel NRK.

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