The sprint portion of cross-country skiing at the 2014 Winter Olympics has just concluded, with both men and women winning medals for their amazing efforts on Tuesday afternoon in Sochi.
Ola Vigen Hattestad claimed gold for Norwayon the men’s side, while Sweden’s Teodor Peterson and his teammate, Emil Joensson, earned silver and bronze—respectively.
Maiken Caspersen Fallawas able to edge the field and finish first out of the women, bringing Norway yet another gold medal. She was joined on the podium by fellow countrywoman Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg and Slovenia’s Vesna Fabjan, the respective winners of the silver and bronze medal.
Let’s recap how these competitors reached the podium and take a look at the complete standings for the men and women’s cross-country skiing finals at the 2014 Sochi Games.
Women’s Final Standings
|Women's Cross-Country Sprint Finals|
|1||NOR||Maiken Caspersen FALLA||2:35.49||0.00|
|2||NOR||Ingvild Flugstad OESTBERG||2:35.87||+0.38|
|4||NOR||Astrid Uhrenholdt JACOBSEN||2:37.31||+1.82|
Men’s Final Standings
|Men's Cross-Country Sprint Finals|
|1||NOR||Ola Vigen HATTESTAD||3:38.39||0.00|
Norway dominated the women’s sprint final. Falla was clearly the best of the day and was well ahead of the remaining finalists as they barreled towards the finish line.
The 23-year-old finished with a blistering time of 2:35.49, which was .38 seconds faster than teammate Oestberg.
However, Oestberg should be proud of her second-place finish. She edged Fabjan at the last possible moment to steal silver and push the Slovakian to third-place.
Norway almost swept the podium, but Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen was unable to push herself into the running at the tail end of the competition.
As per SportsLiberated.com, Jacobsen’s brother unexpectedly died on Friday and it had to be emotionally tough for her to even compete in this race. It’s impressive that she not only made the finals, but also finished with an immensely respectable time of 2:37.31, just 1.82 seconds off the lead.
Sweden’s Ida Ingermarsdotter was a non-factor in the final race, coming in fifth with a time of 2:42.04.
The United States had a chance to win its first ever medal in women’s cross-country skiing, but it was not to be. Sophie Caldwell was right in the running at the beginning portion of the final sprint, but fell as she rounded a tight corner at the top of the course and was unable to recover.
Caldwell finished in sixth with a time of 2:47.75, over 12 seconds behind the winner.
Hattestad helped Norway complete a sweep of the gold medals available during the cross-country sprint events. The veteran was at his best in Sochi, improving greatly upon his fourth-place finish in this event four years ago during the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.
The 31-year-old completed the brutal course with a time of 3:38.39, more than a second better than the second-place finisher.
That honor went to Peterson, who tried desperately at the finish line to make up for lost ground, with his time of 3:39.61. Despite that strong push down the stretch, the 25-year-old Swedish star was not able to overcome the gap that Hattestad had created earlier in the race.
Peterson’s countryman, the 28-year-old Joensson, was well behind but still managed to claim a coveted spot on the podium. He was 19.74 seconds off the lead and completed the grueling course after some mistakes with a time of 3:58.13.
Anders Gloeersen of Norway, Sergey Ustiugov of Russia and Marcus Hellner, one of the Swedish favorites, finished fourth, fifth and sixth—respectively.
Hellner missed out on a chance to claim his third Olympic gold medal after earning two in Vancouver.
America had no representation in the final, with Andrew Newell failing to qualify. The Team USA representative had spoke what he would need from his equipment before the race, telling Mattias Karen of The Associated Press:
It basically comes down to three things. The flex of the ski, the grind of the ski, the kind of structure that's pressed into the bottom of it, and then the wax.
Unfortunately, Newell’s equipment was not able to help him place in the men’s sprint.
Cross-country skiing is far from over at the 2014 Sochi Games. There are still a number of competitions on tap, including eight medal contests beginning on Thursday and running up through the final day of the Winter Olympics—February 23.
Many of the same stars involved in Tuesday’s sprints will be back in action for the upcoming events, including the men’s and ladies’ Classics, the team relays, team sprint and more.
These sprints were just a taste of the exciting medal competitions still to come, so make sure you tune in when they take place over the next few weeks.
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