Norwegian women, Dutch speedskaters strike gold
Norway's gold medal winner Marit Bjoergen, left, congratulates Norway's bronze medal winner Kristin Stoermer Steira and Norway's silver medal winnerTherese Johaug, right, after the women's 30K cross-country race at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Norway's Marit Bjoergen gets a bottle with a drink during the women's 30K cross-country race at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Marrit Leenstra, Lotte van Beek, Jorien ter Mors, and Ireen Wust of the Netherlands celebrate with the national flag after taking the gold medal on the women's team pursuit at the Adler Arena Skating Center at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Russia's Vic Wild celebrates his gold medal in the men's snowboard parallel slalom final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
SOCHI, Russia – The Norwegian women revived their cross country skiing dominance at the Sochi Olympics yesterday.
Marit Bjoergen won her sixth career gold medal by leading a Norwegian sweep in the women’s 30-kilometer cross-country race. A week ago, Norway’s heavily favored women’s relay team finished a disappointing fifth, touching off a mini-crisis in the ski-crazed country.
Bjoergen is now the most decorated female Winter Olympian in history with 10 total medals and six gold, including three in Sochi and three from Vancouver. Her career total puts her one ahead of Russian cross-country skier Lyubov Egorova, who had six golds and three silvers. Two other women – Stafania Belmondo of Italy and Soviet skier Raisa Smetanina – also have 10 medals, but fewer golds. Therese Johaug took silver in the 30K race, while Kristin Stoermer Steira completed the Norwegian sweep by winning bronze.
Also, cross-country skier Marina Lisogor of Ukraine became the third athlete to test positive for banned substances in two days.
The Netherlands won both men’s and women’s team pursuit races, giving the Dutch eight gold medals out of 12 speedskating events, and 23 total in the sport. That’s two more golds than the Soviet Union won in speedskating in 1960, the previous record, and 10 more than East Germany’s 1988 total medals mark.
The Dutch men’s team of Sven Kramer, Jan Blokhuijsen and Koen Verweij set an Olympic record of 3 minutes, 37.71 seconds in the team pursuit. In the women’s race, the Netherlands trio of Ireen Wust, Marrit Leenstra and Jorien ter Mors also set an Olympic record of 2:58.05. Wust now has won five medals in Sochi, more than any other athlete – two golds and three silvers.
Austria’s Mario Matt won gold in the men’s slalom, making him the oldest Alpine champion in Olympic history. Matt, who turns 35 in April, surpasses now-retired Norwegian great Kjetil Andre Aamodt as the oldest skier to win an Alpine race.
Russian anchor Anton Shipulin beat Germany’s Simon Schempp on the final lap of the 4x7.5K men’s relay, giving the host nation a Games-leading 11th gold medal.
The American-born Vic Wild captured his second gold by winning the Olympic debut of men’s parallel slalom snowboarding. In the women’s parallel slalom, Julia Dujmovits of Austria edged Anke Karstens of Germany at the finish.
Russia’s Alexander Zubkov holds a narrow lead after the first two runs of four-man bobsled. Latvia’s Oskars Melbardis is .04 seconds behind in second, followed by Germany’s Maximilian Arndt (third, 0.16 back) and defending Olympic champion Steven Holcomb of the United States (fourth, 0.17 back).