Who else? Norway burns field for men’s team sprint gold

Olympics: Cross Country Skiing

You just can’t keep Norway down for long. Less than 30 minutes to be exact.

Moments after the women’s team sprint final, where Norway’s Marit Bjorgen won her Winter Games record 14th medal, a bronze, her countrymen reclaimed the country’s golden standard.

Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo and Martin Johnsrud Sundby dominated the field to take the men’s team sprint gold Wednesday, winning the event in 15 minutes, 56.26 seconds.

Norway now leads all nations with 31 medals, including 12 golds in PyeongChang. It’s also the nation’s 13th cross-country medal of the Games.

At just 21 years old, Klaebo has already won three golds in PyeongChang. It’s Sundby’s third medal of the Games – two golds and a silver.

Jostling with Sweden, France and the Olympic Athlete from Russia team through the early going, Norway held just a 1.67 second lead heading into the fifth of six laps. That’s when Sundby made his move.

In his final lap of the event, he turned that slim lead into a massive one, pushing 5.17 seconds ahead of Sweden before handing off the final lap to Klaebo.

From there, there was no chance at catching Klaebo, who has dominated his events in PyeongChang, as was able to celebrate before crossing the finish line 1.71 seconds ahead of OAR.

OAR’s Denis Spitsov and Bolshunov Bolshunov outlasted France’s Maurice Manificat and Richard Jouve for the silver by just .31 seconds. It’s Spitsov’s and Bolshunov’s third medals of the game, each with two silvers and a bronze.

The U.S. men’s team of Erik Bjornsen and Simeon Hamilton couldn’t replicate the historic success of their female counterparts.

Minutes after Team USA’s Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randal won the first women’s cross-country medal in U.S. history — and the country’s first cross-country medal in 42 years – the men finished in sixth place, 20.72 seconds behind Norway. After hanging tough in the early on, Bjornsen fell on the third lap, knocking the U.S. out of contention.

OAR kicked off he event, beating out Sweden for the win in the first semifinal. The Swedish duo of Marcus Hellner and Calle Halfvarsson led throughout, but Hellner used a slower pace on the final lap as the two teams coasted across the finish line, grasping the automatic qualifying spots.

In the second semifinal, it was Norway that took the top spot. Who else? France, who raced out to an early lead to begin the sprint, held off the United States team to take the second qualifying spot.

The U.S. duo advanced as one of the “lucky losers” – those with the top six times after the automatic qualifiers. Bjornsen opened up a wide lead of 4.39 seconds before handing off to Hamilton for the final lap, but France’s Manificat edged him out by .24 seconds.

Three “lucky losers” came from each semifinal. Led by the U.S at 16:04.69, Italy and Canada also advanced to the final from the second semifinal.

Germany, Finland – both with times faster than the U.S. — and the Czech Republic advanced from the first semifinal.

More coming…

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