Sweden raced away to claim Olympic gold in the men's cross-country 4x10-kilometer relay event, beating runner-up and host nation Russia by over 27 seconds.
Lars Nelson, Daniel Richardsson, veteran skier Johan Olsson and Marcus Hellner reclaimed the gold medal won by their nation at the last Games.
They finished in a combined time of one hour, 28 minutes, 42 seconds and led the race through all four legs of the competition.
Russia posted a strong time of 1:29:09.3, having slowly made its way through the field to claim its silver medal. The French team finished just over four seconds later in 1:29:13.9 to earn the bronze medal, well ahead of Norway and Italy.
Here are the 16 nations' final places and finishing times, as provided by Sochi2014.com:
|Men's Cross Country Skiing 4x10-km Relay|
Former England international and rugby union legend Brian Moore shared his thoughts on the cross-country event and his own experience when trying the punishing sport:
Sweden's team members have already experienced Olympic success at Sochi 2014.
Hellner achieved a silver recently in the men's skiathlon 15-kilometer classic and 15-kilometer free. Olsson took a silver medal for his second place in the men's 15-kilometer classic, with Richardsson also claiming a bronze in that event behind his compatriot.
The Swedes once again displayed why they are the dominant force in this event, and the result was unsurprising. The women's team pipped the Finnish team in the 4x5km relay by just half a second Saturday, making it a historic double for the Scandinavian country.
Mattias Karen of the Associated Press (via ABC News) provided a statement from Sweden's Charlotte Kalla discussing their victory on Saturday. "I just wanted to go for gold," Kalla said. "I knew that if I fight really hard it was possible to cross the finish line first."
There is no looking back for this set of athletes in the future. With Hellner still only 28 years old, he will feel he can dominate in his chosen cross-country discipline until the next Winter Olympics. There is little doubt he will be the favorite in his event if he continues with the form he has shown in Sochi.
Overall, Sweden could afford to pick up the pace in events outside of cross-country skiing. However, the country can take solace in the fact that its Olympic athletes have lived up to its expectations and dominated the discipline.
The most likely event for Sweden to make noise in the medal standings will be in the exciting men's ice hockey tournament, though it will have a difficult time competing for gold with Canada and USA playing so well to start the tournament.
The Swedes should wildly celebrate tonight, and they have a more than realistic chance of successfully defending their titles in 2018.