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Estonia at the Winter Olympics

Estonia first participated at the Winter Olympics in 1928, then again in 1936. From that time until 1992, Estonian athletes competed for the USSR. When the dissolution of the Soviet Union took place in 1991 the nation participated in all of the succeeding Winter Olympic Games starting in 1992 in Albertville France.

Cross-country skiing has proven to be the only source of medals for the former Soviet republic as it has won 7 medals (4 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze) from 1992 to 2018. The nation’s most successful campaign at the Winter Olympics was in Turin in 2006 where it won a total of three gold medals to snatch 12th place in the medal board.

Estonia first participated as an independent nation in 1928 by sending a couple of speed skaters to St. Moritz, Switzerland. They passed on the 1932 Winter Olympics and came back in 1936 but still did not manage to win a medal. They again missed the 1948 Winter Games then came back later (1952 – 1988) as part of the Soviet Union Olympic team. It was not until 2002 when they gained a footing in the Winter Games when cross-country skiers Andrus Veerpalu and Jaak Mae won them Olympic medals.

Andrus Veerpalu officially became Estonia's first Olympic medalist in the Winter Games when he took the gold in the 15 km cross-country skiing in 2002. Jaak Mae also took the bronze in the same event on the same day. Veerpalu went on to win another medal, this time silver in the cross-country skiing 50km event. In 2006, Andrus Veerpalu again won the gold in the men's 15 km classical. That year, fellow cross-country skier Kristina Šmigun went on to win the gold for both the women's 15 km pursuit and the women's 10 km classical in Turin, Italy. Kristina then came back in 2010 to win the silver in women's 10 kilometer freestyle.

Notable Estonian cross-country skiers at the Winter Games include Kristina Šmigun-Vähi who won three medals (2 gold and 1 silver) from 2006 to 2010, Jaak Mae who won a bronze medal in 2002 and Andrus Veerpalu who captured 3 medals (2 gold and 1 medal) from 2002 to 2006.


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