Initially, Magdalena Forsberg started out as a member of the Swedish cross-country skiing team. Her best result was a second place in an individual 10 km race in 1988 and the bronze medal in the relay at the 1987 World Championship. She was a member of the 1992 Olympic cross-country team but with little success. In 1993, she decided to join the biathlon team, making the top ranks in the world in no time because she was not only a good skier but also a very precise shooter. In 1994, she had to undergo Achilles surgery but managed to win her first bronze medal at the 1996 World Championships. In 1997 Forsberg became double world champion, winning the individual event and the ever first pursuit title, also repeating as bronze medalist in the sprint. Through 2001 she won four more titles at the World Championships for a total of six.
In the World Cup Forsberg was even more successful, ranking first in the overall World Cup, from 1997-2002. In total she succeeded in 42 World Cup races and, therefore, was voted female biathlete of the 20th century. Her best season was 2000-01, when she won eight straight races in the World Cup and 14 races in the whole season, both figures unmatched in biathlon. She made the top three in 19 and the top ten in 22 of 25 races that year. Until 2011-12 she held the record of overall World Cup points until she was passed by Magdalena Neuner. In addition to the overall World Cup in this season she won all World Cups in the various events in the 2000-01 season. She was similarly dominant in the following season repeating the clean sweep in all the World Cup disciplines. In one race she made a remarkable mistake shooting at the wrong target without noticing receiving 10 minutes penalty bringing her from second place to 95th place, the second last. Forsberg was less successful at the Winter Olympics. Only in the final stages of her career would she win two bronze medals at Salt Lake City in 2002, one individual and one in the relay. At these Olympics, she was the flagbearer of the Swedish team at the opening ceremony.
During most of her career, Forsberg was coached by the German Wolfgang Pichler. She received the annual award of the sport section of Sveriges Radio in four of five consecutive years. After studying economics, she worked part time as a tax adviser because of a lack of funding for biathletes. After her active career, she acted as an expert for German TV until 2007 and until today for the Swedish broadcasting station SVT. In 2008 the Mid Sweden University awarded her an honorary doctorate, and in 2011 she acquired a Management Diploma for Athletes. Magdalena Forsberg married the Swedish cross-country skier and biathlete Henrik Forsberg by whom she had two children.