Norway gets first OWG men's relay win since 2002

18 February 2018 09:51
Toenseth, Sundby, Krueger, Klaebo on winning Norwegian relay
Toenseth, Sundby, Krueger, Klaebo on winning Norwegian relay -
NordicFocus

PYEONGCHANG - Norway won the men's relay on Sunday 18 February at the Alpensia Cross-Country Skiing Centre, a day after claiming the ladies' relay title.  It marks the first time that the Norwegian men have won the gold medal in the OWG relay since Salt Lake City in 2002.  The team of Olympic Athletes from Russia were out to an early lead on the second leg after a strong effort from Alexander Bolshunov but Norway, France and Italy were able to close that gap to have a leading group of 4 halfway through the 3rd leg.  But a strong push from Norway's Simen Hegstad Krueger and France's Clement Parisse broke the race open with Russia and Italy unable to follow.  With one leg remaining Denis Spitsov (OAR) brought Russia back to Norway and France and went right through to take the lead.  With just 2 km remaining it was down to two again.  This time Norway and OAR had the lead and Norwegian anchor Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo made his move with just over 1 km to go and had enough time to ski down the homestretch with the Norwegian flag.  OAR crossed shortly after and France hung on for the bronze.  

  • It was the second time Norway won the men's and ladies' relay at a single Olympic Winter Games, the first coming at the Grenoble 1968 Olympic Winter Games.
  • The only other NOCs to have achieved this feat are Soviet Union in 1972 and Sweden in 2014.
  • Norway has now won all seven relay events in major competitions (world cup, world championships, Olympic Winter Games) since its fourth-place finish in the 4x10km relay at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
  • This was Norway's fifth gold medal in cross-country skiing at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, equalling the record number of gold medals won by an NOC in the sport at a single Winter Games, achieved on seven separate occasions of which four times by Norway itself (1992, 2002, 2010, 2014).
  • This was Norway's 11th medal in this sport at PyeongChang 2018. Only in 1988 has an NOC won more at a single Olympic Winter Games when Soviet Union won 13 medals.
  • Norway has won at least one medal in all eight cross-country events held at PyeongChang 2018.
  • Norway has now won 25 medals in all events at the PyeongChang Games, one shy of its NOC record set in Lillehammer in 1994 and equalled in Sochi in 2014.
  • Martin Johnsrud SUNDBY (NOR) won his first gold medal, after winning two silver and one bronze medal, dating back to the 2010 Vancouver Games.
  • Johannes Hoesflot KLAEBO (NOR) and Simen Hegstad KRUEGER (NOR) won their second gold medal, both won at these Games
  • Olympic Athlete from Russia took silver. This was Olympic Athlete from Russia's 10th medal at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. It has yet to win gold. The record for most medals won by one NOC without winning gold at a single Winter Games is nine, set by Finland in 2006 and equalled by Italy in 2014.
  • Bronze medallists France won its third Olympic medal in cross-country skiing, after taking silver in the men's sprint free in 2006 and also finishing third in the men's relay in Sochi four years ago.

_____________________________ 

ATHLETE QUOTES

1. NORWAY - Gold

Martin Johnsrud SUNDBY 

On winning the gold medal:
"This is an important event. We (Norway) haven't won it for 16 years now and been struggling a bit in the last Olympics and to be able with these guys to take it home this year was, for sure, it was great.

Johannes Hoesflot KLAEBO

On the result:
"I think we are lucky to be able to be on this team. It could have been a lot of people from Norway doing this relay. We are just grateful for being here and to be able to take the gold is unbelievable."

On skiing away from Denis SPITSOV (OAR) on the second last climb to secure Norway the gold medal:
"I felt strong. Also in the first round (lap of his relay leg) it felt quite strong and the skis were so good so then I knew that I would attack at that moment (second last climb) in the last round."

Simen Hegstad KRUEGER 

On the result:
"It's something special with a relay. We all wanted to take home the gold medal and to ski for our friends and our nation.
"It's an incredible feeling to take the gold."

Didrik TOENSETH 

On KLAEBO's performance:
"I don't have words. I was expecting that he would go (to make his move) in the last hill, but he did it in the hill before. So that was full speed, pedal to the metal and the Russian (SPITSOV) fell away."

 2. OLYMPIC ATHLETE FROM RUSSIA - Silver

Andrey LARKOV 

On the silver medal:
"Of course, it is very important and we really wanted to win this race but the second place is also good and we'll have another chance here to show ourselves."

Alexander BOLSHUNOV 

On the silver medal:
"I just want to thank all the team, all the guys just did their best and now we have the great result for us.

Alexey CHERVOTKIN 

On the silver medal:
"A medal in every race is very important but today we showed that we are a real team and it's a team medal, which is very important for us."

Denis SPITSOV 

On the team effort:
"I thank all the team and first of all, to our hero Alexey CHERVOTKIN. He did his best today and there was many times he helped us really in the relay and today we helped him. So we are the team and that's the main thing."

3. FRANCE - Bronze

Jean Marc GAILLARD 

On the bronze medal:
"It's not easy to describe. It's just unbelievable. It's the second time in a row for us to be on the Olympic podium in the relay and it's amazing.

Maurice MANIFICAT

On the result:
"We were really strong, all the team in individual races all week, so we knew that it was possible to be ahead and to place again and we made it, so it's just perfect. It's the old generation and new generations, so it's important for that."

Adrien BACKSCHEIDER 

On the result:
"It's a big emotion because the history of the French ski team in the relay was not so good before Sochi (2014 Olympic Winter Games) and now it's a nice story."

____________________________

OFFICIAL RESULTS 

1. NORWAY 1:33:04.9
TOENSETH Didrik 1991 24:59.1
SUNDBY Martin Johnsrud 1984 24:51.8
KRUEGER Simen Hegstad 1993 21:19.7
KLAEBO Johannes Hoesflot 1996 21:54.3

2. OLYMPIC ATHLETES FROM RUSSIA +9.4
LARKOV Andrey 1989 24:42.1
BOLSHUNOV Alexander 1996 24:36.7
CHERVOTKIN Alexey 1995 22:08.0
SPITSOV Denis 1996 21:47.5

3. FRANCE +36.9
GAILLARD Jean Marc 1980 24:51.7
MANIFICAT Maurice 1986 24:55.1
PARISSE Clement 1993 21:24.2
BACKSCHEIDER Adrien 1992 22:30.8

4. FINLAND +1:40.5
HYVARINEN Perttu 1991 25:42.9
NISKANEN Iivo 1992 24:29.8
HEIKKINEN Matti 1983 21:56.5
LEHTONEN Lari 1987 22:36.2

5. SWEDEN +2:05.6
BURMAN Jens 1994 25:17.8
RICKARDSSON Daniel 1982 25:57.0
HELLNER Marcus 1985 21:53.3
HALFVARSSON Calle 1989 22:02.4

Complete RESULTS