Bjoergen storms to sprint gold
Thu, 24 Feb 16:11:00 2011
Triple Olympic Champion Marit Bjoergen blew away the competition at the Nordic World Ski Championships to take gold in the women’s individual sprint in Oslo.
The Norwegian started sluggishly out of the blocks in the final, as she had done in the semi-final previously, but slowly reeled in the leaders before delighting her home crowd to win in three minutes and 3.9 seconds.
Italian defending champion Arianna Follis had to settle for silver while the Slovenian Petra Majdic was forced to be content with bronze again haivng finishing third behind Bjoergen at the Olympics last year.
Bjoergen, 30, had looked a class above throughout the day as she coasted to victory in every round including her semi-final ahead of Follis, who despite a tumble still qualified as a fastest loser.
Meanwhile Sweden’s Marcus Hellner upset the odds to take gold in the men’s individual sprint.
Hellner, the Olympic champion in 30km pursuit, surprised the field with an early dash to finish over half a second clear of home favourite Petter Northug in second and compatriot Emil Joensson in third.
The 25-year-old had made serene progress through to the final and blew away the competition, celebrating long before he crossed the line in 2:57.4.
Defending world champion, Norway’s Ola Vigen Hattestad finished just outside the medals in fourth and the third Swede in the final, Jesper Modin, was fifth.
Norwegians Northug and Hattestad had looked powerful in their semi-final but they hadn’t reckoned on Hellner whose previous World Championship best had been relay bronze in Sapporo in 2007.
Nordic Skiing World Champs