Paris 2024 | Ambitious Norway eye best-ever finish at the Olympic Games

10 Jul. 2024

Paris 2024 | Ambitious Norway eye best-ever finish at the Olympic Games

For the first time in history, Norway have clinched back-to-back appearances at the Olympic Games, after finishing seventh at Tokyo 2020. This only the third time when the Norway men’s team qualified for the competition, after ending ninth in 1972, but they are aiming for another quarter-finals berth, like in the previous edition.

Since earning back-to-back silver medals at the IHF Men’s World Championship in 2017 and 2019 and the bronze medal at the EHF EURO 2020, Norway did not manage to enter the medals conversation again, finishing sixth in 2021 and 2023 in the world handball flagship competition, fifth at the EHF EURO 2022 and ninth at the EHF EURO 2024.

But they proved they belonged at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in the Olympic Qualification Tournament #3, which took place in March in Tatabanya, Hungary. Norway were the team which swept their opponents, beating hosts Hungary, 29:25, challengers Portugal, 32:29 and Tunisia, 41:24, to clinch the coveted ticket to Paris 2024.

It was a dominating performance from the Scandinavian side, but their roller-coaster style, which saw Norway fail to produce the goods at the last major international competition, the EHF EURO 2024, where they won only three of the seven matches they played, raises some questions for coach Jonas Wille.

Norway still have a fantastic generation on their hands, led by Sander Sagosen, who needs only 105 goals to beat Roger Kjendalen’s record for the largest number of goals scored by a player for the Scandinavian side. The supporting cast is also full of experience, with players like Harald Reinkind, Kristian Bjørnsen, Torbjørn Bergerud or Christian O’Sullivan forming the core of Norway in the past years.

“It has been an exciting and interesting process. Among other things, the question of the number of left wingers versus the number of right-handed backs has been a topic. Another dilemma has been whether there is room for both Aga and O'Sullivan as defensive specialists in a small squad of 14 men. Here we have landed on O'Sullivan becoming our fourth right-handed full-back. This makes room for both Blonz and Barthold,” says Norway’s coach, Jonas Wille.

Norway will be heading to Group B at Paris 2024 Olympic Games, where they face three other European powerhouses – world champions Denmark, hosts France and their rivals in the Paris 2024 Olympic Qualification Tournament, Hungary. Matches against Egypt and Argentina will not be a walk in the park either for the Scandinavian side, which will have its work cut out if they are to secure a place in the quarter-finals for the second time in a row.


Coach: Jonas Wille

Key Players: Sander Sagosen (left back), Torbjørn Bergerud (goalkeeper), Christian O'Sullivan (centre back)

Qualification for Paris 2024: Olympic Qualification Tournament #3: 1st place

Previous appearances: 1972: 9th, 2020: 7th 

Group at Paris 2024: Group B: Denmark, Norway, Hungary, France, Egypt, Argentina