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Swedes take home silver and bronze in 15km ski

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Daniel Richardsson won bronze in the15K classical-style cross-country race on Friday at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Photo: AP
15:01 CET+01:00
Sweden took home two medals at the men's 15 kilometre classic cross country event on Friday at the Sochi Winter Olympics, marking a triumphant comeback for Daniel Richardsson after a serious car accident last year.

 

Johan Olsson brought home the silver, finishing around eight seconds before Daniel Richardsson. The race was won by Switzerland's Dario Cologna, who crossed the line after 38min 29.7sec, a whopping 28.5sec ahead the second place Olsson.

The race took place in warm conditions of up to 12C that made the going tough on soft snow and prompted many athletes, including Cologna, to race in T-shirts.

The win marked Cologna’s second gold of the games.

"It's amazing. I couldn't believe the first gold medal, after being injured, and now the second," Cologna told AFP. "It was the perfect race. I knew it would be hard and I was prepared for it.”  

But Cologna wasn’t the only medalist to come back from an injury. Third placed Richardsson was involved in a serious car accident last year,while helping a friend mend a punctured tyre on a highway.

Another driver plowed into both Richardsson and his friend, leaving his friend dead, and the bronze medalist in hospital for several days. 

“In the beginning I couldn’t sleep. I blamed myself for what happened. At first I wasn’t happy that I was still alive, I felt guilty for what had happened. But now I’m happy to be alive. It’s helped me find the strength to fight on,” he told the Expressen newspaper.

Olsson meanwhile, was thankful that course conditions worked in his favour, allowing him to reach the medalists podium.

"I was happy the conditions were so tough. I'm not as strong as the other skiers, so difficult conditions often work to my advantage," Olsson told the Expressen newpaper after the race, which he called the second-best performance of his life.
 
Olsson went on to praise his countryman's bronze.
 
"He's gone through something much tougher than I have. You can't even compare. The physical and mental strain he's endured. We've all tried to support him," said Olsson.
 
The medals mark Sweden's fifth silver and second bronze. Sweden is yet to claim a gold medal at Sochi.

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