'Iron Lady' Bjoergen gets fourth gold with skiathlon win
By Julien Pretot
ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Marit Bjoergen fulfilled expectations by earning her fourth Olympic gold medal with victory in the skiathlon event on a bittersweet Saturday for Norway at the Sochi Winter Games.
Bjoergen, dubbed the 'Iron Lady,' tucked herself into the leading pack for most of the race, which combines 7.5km in classic style and 7.5km in freestyle, until outsprinting Sweden's Charlotte Kalla in the race to the finish.
Another Norwegian, Heidi Weng, took third place just ahead of World Cup leader and compatriot Therese Johaug, who paid the price of working tirelessly at the front of the pack in the second part of the race.
All four of the Norwegian skiers in the race were wearing black armbands after receiving the news that the brother of cross-country team mate Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen had died on Friday, the day of the opening ceremony.
"My fantastic girls ... You are my strength in thick and thin," Tweeted Jacobsen during the race. "Thanks for the commemorating armbands. Forever grateful, whether there will be medals or not."
Television pictures later showed the Norwegian skiers hugging together, with a crying Bjoergen resting Johaug's head on her shoulder.
Bjoergen came home in a time of 38:33.6, 1.8 seconds ahead of Kalla.
"One gold was my goal, so now I can relax a little bit. I can enjoy the rest of the Games," Bjoergen, who still has five events to take part in, told reporters. Continued...