Northug jr. wins gold in 50 km
Petter Northug jr. won 50 km Classic Mass Start which was the last cross-country race of the Olympics in Vancouver 2010 in a time of 2:05.35h. Axel Teichmann was edged out in a tight finish by 0.3 sec. Johan Olsson of Sweden claimed bronze, 1,0 second behind Northug.
Competition was very tactical from first kilometers. Big group of skiers was formed. for the first time in the Olympic Games changing of skis was allowed. In total three pit stops were possible. During the competition almost all skiers of the leading group changed skis at least once. Leading group was getting smaller throughout the race and in the last 5 km loop there were only 15 athletes. Axel Teichmann moved from behind and attacked in the last uphill before the stadium. Northug, Olsson and Cologna were skiing head to head. In the last curve on the stadium Dario Cologna(SUI) lost balance and fell down which meant an end to his medal hopes. Petter Northug jr. could use his powerful finish and beat Teichmann (GER). Johan Olsson of Sweden took bronze. It was a tight finish were seven athletes finsihed within 10 seconds.
Petter Northug (NOR) was very happy to take the second gold medal: "It feels great, it was a good race for me. I had to stick to my plan, to stay in the group. When Axel attacked over the hill I knew I had to stay with him and I just had to give 100 percent at the end."
The normally introverted Axel Teichmann was really satisfied and open in the finish after his unexpected second place and commented: "I had to take the opportunity at the last hill and I felt strong after I changed my skis at 40 km. I had very good skis. I never imagined to take the Silver in the 50 km. I'm very happy about it."
The bronze medalist Johan Olsson celebrated again under the eyes of the Swedish King Karl Gustav and his wife Silva his third medal at this Games: "We had really good conditions due to the weather. It had been raining for more than 24 hours but the crew put salt on the track. The course was so hard. That's the reason so many people could be there at the end. When I saw Dario's fall I knew I could take bronze and I was pushing all what I can give."
As a fair sportsmen Dario Cologna congratulate the winner and commented after the race: "I do really not know what exactly was happend. It was a bit icy and my ski's crossed each other. It was just bad luck but right after the race it feels not so good as I was so close to a medal."