History made with gold for USA and Norway in team sprint

PyeongChang -  It was a historic today at the Alpensia Cross-Country stadium in PyeongChang, South Korea.  In the ladies' team sprint the team from the United States of America (Kikkan Randall, Jessie Diggins) won their country's first ever Olympic Gold medal in Cross-Country skiing and the first of any colour for the ladies' team.  American Bill Koch won a silver medal back in the 1976 Games.  Diggins on anchor leg for the USA overtook Sweden's Stina Nilsson on the final 100 metres to claim gold.  Sweden (Charlotte Kalla, Nilsson) took the silver followed by Norway (Marit Bjoergen, Maiken Casperson Falla) in the bronze medal spot.  This medal has now made Bjoergen the winningest Olympic Winter athlete of all time with 14 total Olympic medals.  

In the men's team sprint Norway (Martin Johnsrud Sundby, Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo) took gold ahead of the Olympic Athlete from Russia (Alexander Bolshunov, Denis Spitsov) in the silver medal spot and France (Maurice Manificat, Richard Jouve) in the bronze.  

COMPETITION FACTS

LADIES

  • BJOERGEN claimed the bronze medal for Norway together with Maiken Caspersen FALLA.
  • It was BJOERGEN's 14th medal at the Olympic Winter Games, putting her ahead of biathlete Ole Einar BJOERNDALEN (NOR).
  • The only other woman to hold the outright record for most medals won at the Winter Games was cross-country skier Raisa SMETANINA (URS/EUN) from 1992 to 1994.
  • At the Summer Games, only gymnast Larissa LATYNINA (URS) has won more medals among women (18).
  • Jessica DIGGINS and Kikkan RANDALL (USA) won the first cross-country skiing Olympic gold medal for USA.
  • It was the 11th sport in which USA has won a gold medal at the Winter Games, only trailing Canada which has won gold in 12 of the 15 sports. USA now only lack a gold in biathlon, curling, luge and ski jumping.
  • The only other Olympic medal won by USA in cross-country skiing was a silver in the men's 30km classic in 1976, by Bill KOCH.
  • RANDALL won her first Olympic medal in her 18th event, setting a new record for most events before claiming a medal. The previous record was held by cross-country skier Martin KOUKAL (CZE) who won his first medal in his16th event.
  • Sweden continued its medal streak in this event - it is the only NOC to have won a medal in all four editions.
    Stina NILSSON (SWE) and FALLA joined Ingvild Flugstad OESTBERG (NOR) as the only women to win a medal in the individual sprint and team sprint at the same Games.

MEN

  • Norway also won this event at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games and became the first NOC to win two gold medals in the men's team sprint (classic and free).
  • Norway has now won six gold medals in cross-country skiing at PyeongChang 2018, breaking the record for the most in this sport at a single Olympic Winter Games.
  • Only Netherlands in speed skating in 2014 won more gold medals (eight) in one sport at a single Olympic Winter Games.
  • Norway has now won 12 gold medals at PyeongChang 2018, two shy of the single Olympic Winter Games record held by Canada in 2010.
  • This was Norway's 13th medal in cross-country skiing at these Games, equalling the record in this sport at a single Olympic Winter Games, set by Soviet Union at Calgary 1988.
  • At 21, Johannes Hoesflot KLAEBO (NOR) became the fourth male athlete to win a third gold medal at the Olympic Winter Games before turning 22, joining speed skater Eric HEIDEN (USA), alpine skier Toni SAILER (AUT) and short track speed skater Victor AN (KOR).
  • KLAEBO became the first Norwegian man to win three gold medals at a single Olympic Winter Games since biathlete Ole Einar BJOERNDALEN won four at Salt Lake City 2002.
  • Only three other men have won a record three gold medals in cross-country skiing in a single Olympic Winter Games, those being Nikolai ZIMYATOV (URS) at Lake Placid 1980, Vegard ULVANG (NOR) at Albertville 1992 and Bjoern DAEHLIE (NOR) in 1992 and at Nagano 1998.
  • KLAEBO became the second athlete to win the individual sprint and the team sprint at a single Olympic Winter Games, after Bjorn LIND (SWE) achieved the feat at Torino 2006.
  • France took bronze and won its second Olympic medal in cross-country skiing at PyeongChang 2018, after taking bronze also in the men's relay. Maurice MANIFICAT was in both teams.
  • It is the first time France has won two medals in this sport at a single Olympic Winter Games.

ATHLETE QUOTES 

USA - Gold

Jessica DIGGINS 

On winning USA's first ever cross-country gold medal:
"It feels unreal, I can't believe it just happened, but we've been feeling so good these entire Games and just having it happen at a team event means so much more to me than any individual medal ever would."

On sprinting past Stina NILSSON (SWE) in the final stages:
"In the final stretch I was just thinking, 'Go, go, go, I'm giving it everything I had and I've got someone who I really love and care about waiting for me at the finishing line and I just want to make her proud."

Kikkan RANDALL 

On a team gold medal:
"Hearing it out loud, it still doesn't feel real. It's what I've been working on for 20 years and with this team for the last five years and wow, it's just so fun to put it together tonight, finally." In 2013 when we won the world championships I saw that a team gold is worth far more than any individual accolade. What really kept me going over the last four years was trying to contribute to a team medal.

On how she felt:
"I felt better every round today. I felt strong in the semifinal, I was trying to conserve energy. In the final, every lap I felt stronger and stronger. When we went up that hill I knew I just had to keep us in there. Tactically, I wanted to keep us in there so Jessie (DIGGINS) could do what she wanted to do on that last lap."

SWEDEN - Silver

Charlotte KALLA 

On winning the silver medal:
"It's fantastic, we have had a fantastic Olympics so far, and my feeling is that we won this silver medal. There were many favourites today. We were not the fastest but the second fastest.

Stina NILSSON 

On winning silver:
"I am very proud of our performance, I was really digging deep today to get the power over the last 100 metres, but today USA was too strong and I really think they deserve the gold medal."

NORWAY - Bronze

Marit BJOERGEN 

On becoming the most decorated winter Olympian:
"It's hard to understand, actually. When you're still an athlete you just have focus on other races. I think I'll need to have time to myself and look behind me and look how I've been able to do this. It's still hard to understand it when I'm standing here."

Maiken Caspersen FALLA 

On racing with BJOERGEN:
"It's like my childhood dream to race in the same team as Marit. I watched her on TV as a young girl and I wanted to ski as fast as her and now I finally got to ski on the same team as her in the Olympics as she is becoming the most-winning (Winter) Olympian.

NORWAY

Martin Johnsrud SUNDBY (NOR) - gold

On winning his second gold medal of the Games:
"It means everything. The last couple of days have been nerve-wracking, we have talked about scenarios and we have talked about how to solve this race in the best possible way. I think we actually did it in the best possible way in the final today. I think we both need a vacation soon, but we have one race left."

On KLAEBO:

"This guy (KLAEBO) inspires me. He has come in last season and in this season, maybe showing us how modern cross-country skiing should be. He is a talent everybody looks up to at moment but he is only 21 years old so I hope I have one advice or two to give him in the next few years, but for sure he has taken cross-country skiing to another level."

Johannes Hoesflot KLAEBO (NOR) - gold

On winning the gold medal:
"It is an incredible feeling to finish first here. Both of us have been very nervous today and I did not sleep good today also."

On how SUNDBY inspires him:
"He has been the best cross-country skier in the world in the last seasons. To see how he does it and to see how he trains, it means a lot."

OLYMPIC ATHLETE FROM RUSSIA - Silver 

Denis SPITSOV

On taking silver:
"Today's medal was the most unexpected for me personally because I am not very well at sprint and sometimes it is hard for me. Today it went well and thanks to our service men for skis, they were great today."

Alexander BOLSHUNOV

On taking silver:
"I am very happy to do this with my teammate. This is a very good step before the 50 kilometres race."

FRANCE - Bronze

Maurice MANIFICAT

On taking bronze:
"It was so great after the relay. It was difficult because we have a very strong sprint team. It was a difficult choice (selecting the team) but it was a good choice to put me, a distance man, in the relay. In the qualification we had a quite comfortable feeling and in the final we knew that we had our chance. Richard (JOUVE) was incredible against the Swedish (Calle) HALFVARSSON (SWE)."

Richard JOUVE 

On taking bronze:
"I am very pleased to win a medal with Maurice. This was my first medal. I know that in the final 100 metres we had a medal and I could control the Swede."

OFFICIAL RESULTS - Team Sprint

LADIES

1. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 15:56.47
RANDALL Kikkan 1982
DIGGINS Jessica 1991

2. SWEDEN +0.19
KALLA Charlotte 1987
NILSSON Stina 1993

3. NORWAY +2.97
BJOERGEN Marit 1980
FALLA Maiken Caspersen 1990

4. SWITZERLAND +21.32
FAEHNDRICH Nadine 1995
Van Der GRAAFF Laurien 1987

5. FINLAND +22.71
LAUKKANEN Mari 1987
PARMAKOSKI Krista 1990

Complete RESULTS

MEN 

1. NORWAY 15:56.26
SUNDBY Martin Johnsrud 1984
KLAEBO Johannes Hoesflot 1996

2. OLYMPIC ATHLETE FROM RUSSIA +1.71
SPITSOV Denis 1996
BOLSHUNOV Alexander 1996

3. FRANCE +2.02
MANIFICAT Maurice 1986
JOUVE Richard 1994

4. SWEDEN +3.07

HELLNER Marcus 1985
HALFVARSSON Calle 1989

5. ITALY +18.55
NOECKLER Dietmar 1988
PELLEGRINO Federico 1990

Complete RESULTS