Sweden's Marcus Hellner crosses the finish line to win the gold during the men's 4x10K cross-country relay. AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia
Surging Swedes take relay Sochi gold double
Published: 16 Feb 2014 13:37 GMT+01:00
Updated: 16 Feb 2014 13:37 GMT+01:00
Sweden on Sunday took gold with a dominant performance in the men's 4x10km cross country relay, completing a rare and famous double after also winning the women's event.
The victory made Sweden the first country in 42 years to win both cross country relays at the same games.
Swedish anchorman Marcus Hellner was able to enjoy a victorious run into the finish, waving the Swedish flag attached to one of his ski poles, and crossing the line in a total time of 1hr 28min 42sec. His win was wildly celebrated by team-mates Lars Nelson, Daniel Richardsson and Johan Olsson.
Hellner's victory made him one of Sweden's greatest ever Olympians with a total of three gold medals at the Winter Games -- only cross country skiers Sixten Jernberg, Gunde Svan and Thomas Wassberg have won more with four.
He won gold in the skiathlon and the relay at the Vancouver Games in 2010 as well as a silver in the skiathlon in Sochi.
"I'm very lucky to be the man that could do it, the man that had the gap -- because of these guys. It's incredible," said Hellner.
His teammate Johan Olsson added: "There's no secret, just really hard work. We made the race our own. We set the pace and we knew we were the strongest team.
"Watched by President Vladimir Putin and other top Russian officials at the Laura cross country centre, Russia finally showed some cross country form to take silver in 1hr 29min 9.3sec. France's quartet celebrated a surprise bronze.
Norway's fearsome team leader Petter Northug cut a sad and angry figure on the final leg, as his medal-less Olympics continued with just fourth place.
After also missing out on the medals in the women's relay on Saturday won by Sweden, Norway's waxing team appear to have had major problems preparing their athletes' skis for the soft Sochi snow.
The latest victory means that the Swedish team have clocked up nine medals so far; two golds, five silvers and two bronzes during the Winter Olympics which wrap up on February 23rd.