Russia sweeps 50 km podium and tops Olympic medal table
Russia secured the top position in the NOC medal table at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games by claiming all the medals in cross country skiing's men's 50km mass start event.
- Russia wins the NOC medal table for the second time at the winter Games, after occupying the top spot in the Lillehammer 1994 Olympic Winter Games.
- It is the fourth time that the host NOC emerges victorious, following Lake Placid 1932 (United States), Oslo 1952 (Norway) and Vancouver 2010 (Canada).
- Russia claimed its first ever medal sweep at the Olympic Games. It is the eighth medal sweep at this Olympic Games. The previous record for medal sweeps at a single winter Games was five at Innsbruck 1964.
- The men's 50km had featured a medal sweep on three previous occasions, but not in the last 78 years. All medals were claimed by Norway at Chamonix 1924, by Sweden at St Moritz 1928 and by Sweden again at Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1936.
- Russia has won the men's 50km on one previous occasion. Mikhail IVANOV (RUS) was victorious in this event at Salt Lake City 2002.
- Maxim VYLEGZHANIN (RUS) collected his third medal of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. He has only won silver medals and joins speed skater Ireen WUST (NED) as the only person to collect three silver medals at these winter Games.
OFFICIAL RESULTS - Men's top 5
1. LEGKOV Alexander 1:46:55.2
2. VYLEGZHANIN Maxim +0.7
3. CHERNOUSOV Ilia +0.8
4. SUNDBY Martin Johnsrud +1.0
5. DOLIDOVICH Sergei +14.3
Complete results are available HERE.
Alexander LEGKOV (RUS) - gold
On winning the gold medal:
"This is priceless. It's more valuable than my life, I can't express how I feel. For 15 years I've been trying for this result."
On his tactics throughout the race:
"My main tactic was just to save energy, stay in the leading group and try to control the strongest competitors."
On being overwhelmed with tiredness:
"I'm just so tired, I can't comprehend what's going on."
Maxim VYLEGZHANIN (RUS) - silver
On an all-Russian podium, after Norway's medal sweep in the ladies 30km mass start free on Saturday:
"I never expected to have such a success. We've repeated Norway's success yesterday with a Russian in first, second and third."
On his surprise at his silver-medal performance:
"I didn't even consider this as one of my strongest races."
On the reaction of the Russian supporters:
"I'm happy to make people happy. Even though we've lost in the past, we've won now."
Ilia CHERNOUSOV (RUS) - bronze
On winning a bronze medal:
"What does it mean to win an Olympic medal? It's really great for every athlete. I can say that I lost silver because I wasn't looking at the finish line. My teammate Maxim (VYLEGZHANIN) was a little bit in front of me. I tried my best against him and Martin (Johnsrud SUNDBY, NOR)."
On an all-Russian podium:
"I can't realise what I'm feeling. It's not so often in one race you get three Russians on the podium. The last day in our home Games and three on the podium."
On the deafening support of the crowd beside the cross country course:
"It's such a great atmosphere here. Every lap more and more, I felt they were screaming for us. For every athlete but more for us."