No lack of excitement in Team Sprint at Lahti 2017

(Lahti, Finland) - Norway and Russia have won the gold medals at today's Team Sprint competition at the 2017 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti, Finland.  

For the ladies from Norway it was their 3rd consecutive win in the team sprint event.  They previously won in Sochi OWG 2014 and Falun WSC 2015.  They become the first nation to win 3 in a row in this event.  The silver medal went to Russia who finished +5.56 back of Norway. After a very strong performance from first leg skier Yulia Belorukova on her final lap it was just a two-team battle.  Natalia Matveeva did her best to keep it close with Norway's anchor Maiken Caspersen Falla but Falla proved to be too strong.  In third place for the first time ever in a classic team sprint event was the United States of America.  Jessie Diggins already a silver medalist in the sprint at these Championships used her excellent downhill skills to overtake Sweden's Stina Nilsson coming into the stadium and led her into the final turn.  From there Diggins managed to hold Nilsson off to give the USA the bronze medal just 0.19 seconds ahead of Sweden and +18.38 behind the winning time of Norway. 

In the men's competition is looked to be a gold or at worst a silver medal for the home team Finland as Iivo Niskanen erased his deficit to Norway on the final lap but a crash between him and Norway's Emil Iversen entering the final curve left Finland with the bronze.  Navigating safely around the tangle up Russia and Italy came to the finish line for the gold and silver.  The Jury deliberated for almost 30 minutes to decided who the bronze medal would go to and in the end Finland who crossed the line in third was awarded the bronze medal.  

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ATHLETE QUOTES

Maiken Caspersen Falla (NOR)
We wanted to take advantage of our strengths and be fast on the uphills. We wanted to be offensive.

Heidi Weng (NOR)
Maiken was very strong. It was very cool to see her on the last hill. I am very happy to be on the team with her.

Natalia Matveeva (RUS)
I was disappointed after the individual sprint. It is great to win silver today.

Yulia Belorukova (RUS)
I am really grateful for the medal. I wanted it very much. I had amazing skis.

Jessie Diggins (USA)
I knew our skis were great. I got to to ski the best line in the curve before the homestretch and said to myself I have to do this.

Sadie Bjornsen (USA)
It is a huge experience to win a medal. Team event is special. It creates a lot of power each other.

Sergey Ustiugov (RUS)
Any medal could be great for us today. I thought we could be fighting for silver.

Nikita Kriukov (RUS)
This season was not so good for me. Today our team was lucky to win gold. 

Dietmar Noeckler (ITA)

Kleabo was too strong for all us in the first leg. I knew Federico was in a very good shape. In the last lap Federico and Niskanen were very strong. I thought Federico would be fighting with Sergey was bronze. It was a great day for us. I am sorry for Finland and Norway. But it is great to win silver. 

Federico Pellegrino (ITA)
I wanted to save some energy on the last lap for the finish. There are lucky and unlucky events for all of us. I am very happy and proud of our silver medal. 

Sami Jauhojaervi (FIN)
Crash like Iivo had was unfortunate but that’s sport and we should be happy we got a medal in front of the home crowd.

Iivo Niskanen (FIN)
Of course after the finish I was very angry. I can only shake hands with Emil. He lost a medal and we probably lost gold. But we have a lot of years ahead of us to compete against each other. Only thing to do now is to focus on the next competitions.

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OFFICIAL RESULTS - 1.3 km Team Sprint 

LADIES 

1. NORWAY 20:20.56
WENG Heidi 1991
FALLA Maiken Caspersen 1990

2. RUSSIAN FEDERATION +5.56
BELORUKOVA Yulia 1995
MATVEEVA Natalia 1986

3. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA +18.38
BJORNSEN Sadie 1989
DIGGINS Jessica 1991

4.SWEDEN +18.57
INGEMARSDOTTER Ida 1985
NILSSON Stina 1993

5. FINLAND+23.02
SAARINEN Aino-Kaisa 1979
NISKANEN Kerttu 1988

Ladies' RESULTS

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MEN

1. RUSSIAN FEDERATION 17:40.69
KRIUKOV Nikita 1985
USTIUGOV Sergey 1992

2. ITALY +2.14

NOECKLER Dietmar 1988
PELLEGRINO Federico 1990

3. FINLAND +8.64
JAUHOJAERVI Sami 1981
NISKANEN Iivo 1992

4. NORWAY +18.42
KLAEBO Johannes Hoesflot 1996
IVERSEN Emil 1991

5. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA +23.58

HAMILTON Simeon 1987
BJORNSEN Erik 1991

Men's RESULTS