Winter Olympic skiing results: Norwegians win gold, narrowly avoid crash

Ryan Pierse

Norway dominated Tuesday's cross-country sprints; on the men's side by narrowly avoiding a crash.

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Out of 421 Olympic Medals offered to cross-country skiiers, Scandinavian athletes (from Norway, Sweden, and Finland) have won a combined 231. Despite a crash in the men's finals, that trend did not change on Tuesday.

In Tuesday's freestyle sprints, competitors raced 1.5 kilometers. This is a fraction of what the men (15k and 50k) and women (10k and 30k) will race later on at Sochi, and allows for the qualifiers, quarterfinals, semis, and finals to all be held on the same day.

In the men's sprint qualifiers, Norwegian Ola Viggen Hattestad led the pack at 3:28.25, followed by Sergey Ustigov (RUS; 3:30.26), Frederico Pellegrino (ITA; 3:30.38), and Anders Gloeersen (NOR; 3:30.41) in rapid succession. Americans Andrew Newell (3:35.52) and Simeon Hamilton (3:36.12) also made it into the quarterfinals. Neither of them were able to qualify for the semifinals.

The men's final was made up of three Swedes (Marcus Hellner, Emil Joennson, Teodor Peterson), two Norwegians (Hattestad and Gloeersen), and a Russian (Ustigov). It was marked by a dramatic crash between Gloeersen, Ustilgov and Hellner that allowed Hattestad to win comfortably.

Crash_medium

Hattestad's 3:38.39 gave him the gold by 1.22 seconds over Peterson's 3:39.61. Emil Joennson was seemingly immobile after crossing the line at 3:58.13 (+19.74) for the bronze.

The women's qualifiers were dominated by Norwegian Maiken Caspersen Falla, who finished in 2:32.07, or just about as long as it might take to say her name. Americans Sophie Caldwell (2:35.18), Jessica Diggins (2:35.64), Kikkan "the Kikkanimal" Randall (2:36.67), and Ida Sargent (2:39.80) also qualified.

Of the four Americans, only Caldwell made it into the semis, and from there she snuck into the finals with the sixth-fastest time of the six finalists.

The finals were ruled by Norway, however. Falla took gold with a 2:35.49 time, and her countrywoman Ingvild Flustad Oestberg nabbed silver at 2:35.87 (+0.38). Oestberg beat out Vesna Fabjan's 2:35.89 time by a slender two hundreths of a second, leaving the Slovene with the bronze. A gassed Caldwell finished at 2:47.75, over 12 seconds behind Falla.

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