Norway's Klaebo triumphs in men's skiing sprint classic

Norway's Johannes Klaebo powered to a stunning victory in the men’s sprint classic. Photo: African News Agency

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – Johannes Klaebo powered to a stunning victory in the men’s sprint classic on Tuesday to claim another cross-country gold medal for Norway with a dominant performance in the final at the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games

In a thrilling finish, Italian Federico Pellegrino won the silver medal by two-hundredths of a second from Alexander Bolshunov, representing the Olympic athletes of Russia, who took bronze.

After a relatively disappointing 10th place in the men's skiathlon, the 21-year-old Klaebo was in determined mood as the competition got underway at the Alpensia Cross-Country Centre, and eased through the quarter- and semi-finals before turning on the style in the six-man final.

Having sat behind Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR) Alexander Bolshunov for much of the early part of the race, Klaebo made a sudden lane switch and powered up the hill to leave the rest of the field struggling in his wake. He crossed the line in a time of three minutes 5.75 seconds, over a second clear of his closest challengers.

"It means a lot," said Klaebo, after earning a place in the Olympic record books as the youngest gold-medal winner ever in men's cross-country skiing. 

"I think there's been a lot of external pressure in the last couple of weeks and to be able to win here is unbelievable. It is so cool to cross the finish line first. It is difficult to describe. Everything happens so fast and you feel so happy."

In a thrilling battle behind Klaebo, Italy's Federico Pellegrino, the reigning world sprint champion, took silver by two-hundredths of a second from Bolshunov, with a photo finish being needed to separate the two skiers. 

African News Agency

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