Sun, Feb 23, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Bjoergen makes Winter Games history

TOP DOGS:Two Norwegians became the most-decorated Winter Olympians of all time: Marit Bjoergen with 10 medals (six gold) and Ole Einar Bjoerndalen with 13 (eight gold)

Staff writer, with agencies, KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia

Norway’s three women’s cross-country skiing 30km medal winners, from left, Therese Johaug (silver), Kristin Stoermer Steira (bronze) and gold medalist Marit Bjoergen, race yesterday at the Laura Cross-Country Ski and Biathlon Center in Rosa Khutor, near Sochi, Russia.

Photo: AFP

Marit Bjoergen became the most decorated woman Winter Olympian in history yesterday by leading a Norwegian sweep in the women’s 30km cross-country ski race at the Sochi Games.

Bjoergen won her sixth Olympic gold, to go with three silvers and a bronze. Her career total of 10 puts her 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 in cross-country, but fewer golds.

The Norwegian women finally displayed their dominance of the sport yesterday, as Bjoergen pulled away from teammate Therese Johaug heading into the stadium and sprinted alone to win her third gold of the Sochi Olympics.

She also won three gold medals in Vancouver.

Johaug took silver and Kristin Stoermer Steira was third.

Russia’s US-born snowboarder Vic Wild completed a historic double yesterday by claiming parallel slalom gold.

Wild had already won the parallel giant slalom title on Wednesday, but was not prepared to settle for just that.

“It has taken a lot of hard work, man. When everyone else in the summer is taking vacation, I am working hard. I train, I train, and it paid off,” Wild said.

His real moment of brilliance came in the semi-finals against four-time world champion Benjamin Karl from Austria.

Wild made a mistake on the first run, meaning that he was hit with the maximum deficit of 1.12 seconds ahead of the second run.

His double hopes seemed over, but he produced a startling run to claw back all that time and more to steam into the final.

There he was pushed all the way by Slovenia’s Zan Kosir, but he still won by just 0.11 seconds.

Karl added Olympic bronze to the silver he won in Vancouver in 2010 in the parallel giant slalom by beating Italy’s Aaron March.

In the women’s parallel slalom competition, Austria’s Julia Dujmovits was a shock winner.

The 26-year-old overturned a huge 0.72 second deficit following the first run to beat Germany’s Anke Karstens by just 0.12 seconds following the second.

It was the first time she has ever won an elite-level parallel slalom race.

Amelie Kober of Germany narrowly held off charging Italian Corinna Boccacini to claim bronze.

Earlier, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen became the most decorated Winter Games athlete with his 13th Olympic medal this week and the Norwegian capped a successful Sochi Games by being elected to the International Olympic Committee’s athletes commission.

The 40-year-old won 1,087 votes of his peers, followed by Canadian ice hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser with 758, and both were elected as commission members for an eight-year term.

Bjoerndalen won gold in the biathlon 10km sprint and mixed relay to edge ahead of former cross-country skier Bjorn Daehlie and move alongside his compatriot as the all-time leading gold medalist on eight.

Also yesterday, the South Korean Olympic Committee protested the results of the women’s figure skating competition, although the sport’s international governing body has not yet received their letter.

International Skating Union rules always have required such protests be filed immediately after the event.

The South Koreans believe the judging was biased and cost Yuna Kim a second gold medal. The 2010 champion finished with silver, behind Russian teenager Adelina Sotnikova.

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