Norway goes for Gold in 4x5 km Relay. UPDATED
Norwegian relay (Skofterud, Johaug, Steira, Bjoergen) clearly won ladies' 4x5 km Relay. Sweden (Ingemarsdotter, Haag, Norgren, Kalla) takes silver and bronze medal goes to Finland (Muranen, Saarinen, Roponen, Lahteenmaki).
Team Norway won with a clear margin of +36.1 sec ahead of Sweden. Exhausted Krista Lahteenamki took Finland to the bronze medal with a +59.8 margin in the finish.
Fourteen teams were at the start of today’s 4x5 km relay. Fog covered the Holmenkollen national arena but higher parts of the competition course were lid with sun. Quite soon after the start Skofterud, Longa, Muranen, Ingemarsdotter and Longa formed a powerful quartet and led the start field. In the second part of the first leg Longa and Ingemarsdotter attacked and broke away from Norway and Finland.
Antonella Confortolla Wyat had big troubles with skis on the second leg for Italy and did not have almost any glide. Aino Kaisa Saarinen and Therese Johaug caught the Italian and were in pursue for leading Anna Haag of Sweden.
Aino Kaisa Saarinen was hammering strongly in the first half of her leg but in the second 2.5 km she ran out of gas and lost some seconds. On the other hand Johaug took over the initiative, shook off Haag and brought in the stadium and for Kristin Stoermer Steira a margin of almost 9 seconds on Sweden and 14 seconds on Finland.
Kristin Steira had full control over the race and even increased the gap to +24 seconds at 3.5 km of her leg and before the stadium she gained another ten seconds on Sweden and Finland. Riitta-Liisa Roponen (FIN) soon caught Britta Johanson Norgren (SWE) and big fight for silver and bronze was expected.
In the last leg Marit Bjoergen had a comfortable margin of 34 seconds. Charlotte Kalla was the anchorwoman for Sweden. Krista Lahteenmaki for Finland. Charlotte Kalla broke away from the Finn in the uphill and settled herself well on the silver position.
Arianna Follis on the last leg for Italy caught Nicole Fessel who was there for Germany.
Marit Bjoergen came first in the stadium and with the Norwegian flag in her hand she could enjoy last meters of the relay. She brought Norway to victory in the relay and won fourth Gold medal in Oslo. Charlotte Kalla finished second and was hugged by compatriots in the finish. Tired Krista Lahtteenmaki fell behind the finish line and her teammates had to help her to stand up. Arianna Follis brought Italy to fourth place.
Marit Bjoergen NOR
All of the girls did a fantastic job today, so I had no reason to worry. Crossing the finish line waving the norwegian flag was a dream come true. In front of this audience, it's just incredible. I want to thank the girls on my team.
Anna Haag SWE
It feels great. We worked hard and had incredibly good skis. Silver means a lot to us. We knew that beating Norway would be tough.
Aino Kaisa Saarinen FIN
I tried to get passed Therese Johaug, but I was too exhausted from the team sprint. We didn't talk about the race at breakfast this morning. Only girl talk.