By Nick Butler

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen will continue his illustrious biathlon career until 2016 ©AFP/Getty ImagesMarch 4 - Norway's record Winter Olympic medal winner Ole Einar Bjørndalen has reversed his retirement plans and vowed to carry on his remarkable career until the 2016 World Championships in Oslo.

Bjørndalen, elected last month as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes' Commission, announced his decision via Facebook this morning.

"Before this season I was sure that this was my last season as a top biathlon athlete and my plan was to retire, and to start a new life and career," the 40-year-old wrote.

"But during my season, I got more and more hunger to achieve even more, but I wanted to wait for the Olympic Games before deciding.

"After coming home from Sochi, full of energy and inspiration, I have been discussing with my team if I should reconsider my decision.

"Our conclusion is that I will continue my career until the World Championships in Oslo in 2016."

Bjørndalen added that he would compete in the three remaining World Cup events of the season, starting with this week's round in Pokljuka, Slovenia.

Ole Einar Bjørndalen won his first Olympic gold medal at Nagano 1998 ©Bongarts/Getty ImagesOle Einar Bjørndalen won his first Olympic gold medal at Nagano 1998 ©Bongarts/Getty Images

In addition to eight Olympic gold medals and and five additional medals, Bjørndalen has accrued 19 world titles and a staggering 95 World Cup victories, including one in cross-country skiing. 

He first emerged on the international stage 21 years ago in 1993 when, at the age of 19, he became the first biathlete to win all three available gold medals at the World Junior Championships.

Despite having not won a major individual race since February 2012, the veteran cemented his legend at Sochi 2014 by winning gold medals in the 10 kilometre sprint and mixed relay events.

This put him equal and then ahead of cross-country skiing compatriot Bjoern Daehlie in the all-time Winter Olympic medal stakes. 

In a particularly good fortnight in Sochi, Bjørndalen was also voted on to the Athletes' Commission during the Games, where he was elected with a leading total of 1,087 votes in the nine-horse race for two places. 

He was officially introduced as an IOC member at the Closing Ceremony of the Games.

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February 2014: Bjørndalen and Wickenheiser elected to IOC Athletes' Commission