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Bente Skari-Martinsen

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 2
Bronze 2
Total 5
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameBente•Skari-Martinsen
Used nameBente•Skari-Martinsen
Born10 September 1972 in Oslo (NOR)
Measurements173 cm / 63 kg
AffiliationsNittedal IL, Nittedal (NOR)
NOC(s) Norway


Bente Skari was the dominant female cross-country skier from 1998-2003. In this period she was World Champion five times, won the total World Cup four times, and won the sprint World Cup five times in a row – 1998-2002, winning a total of 42 World Cup races. Skari won 16 Norwegian titles, the highest ever for a Norwegian female cross-country skier until 2013, when Marit Bjørgen also won her 16th title. Skari’s only Olympic gold medal came at Salt Lake City in 2002, when she won the 10 km classical race, the first individual Olympic gold medal won by a female Norwegian skier.

She was born Bente Martinsen, daughter of the well-known Norwegian cross-country skier Odd Martinsen. Bente had her World Cup début at age 19, but had to wait five more years for her first World Cup podium. Skari was a classical specialist, and her first international title came in 1999 when she was World Champion over 5 km in Ramsau, Germany. She ended her career in 2003 after winning two World Championship titles in Val di Fiemme, Italy.

Skari competed under her maiden name Bente Martinsen until the 1998-99 season. In 1999 she married Norwegian cross-country skier Geir Skari and competed later under her married name. She and her brother took over their father’s ski firm that he started in 1983, and they have done very well in the ski business. Bente Skari had an important role with the Organizing Committee for the 2011 World Nordic Ski Championships, being responsible for the cross-country events.


Games Discipline (Sport) Event Status Team Pos Details
1994 Winter Olympics Cross Country Skiing (Skiing) 15 kilometres, Women Olympic 20 Representing Norway     as Bente Martinsen
1998 Winter Olympics Cross Country Skiing (Skiing) 5 kilometres, Women Olympic 3 Bronze Representing Norway     as Bente Martinsen
  15 kilometres, Women Olympic =6
  5/10 kilometres Pursuit, Women Olympic 9
  4 × 5 kilometres Relay, Women Olympic Norway 2 Silver
2002 Winter Olympics Cross Country Skiing (Skiing) 10 kilometres, Women Olympic 1 Gold Representing Norway     as Bente Skari
  30 kilometres, Women Olympic 3 Bronze
  5/5 kilometres Pursuit, Women Olympic 6
  4 × 5 kilometres Relay, Women Olympic Norway 2 Silver

Olympic family relations

Special Notes