Cross country: Legkov wins 50km to seal Russia's triumph

Sun Feb 23, 2014 6:40am EST
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By David Ljunggren

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Cross-country skier Alexander Legkov grabbed double Olympic glory for Russia on Sunday, winning the 50 km race to ensure the host nation ended the Games at the top of the medals table.

After the second closest finish ever in an Olympic 50 km cross-country race, Legkov pulled away in the last 100 meters to take gold 0.7 seconds ahead of compatriot Maxim Vylegzhanin.

Russian team mate Ilia Chernousov took the bronze, crossing the line 0.1 seconds later.

Legkov's win meant Russia emulated Canada's performance at the Vancouver Games when the host nation finished on top of the overall medal standings.

"People kept asking me whether I believed Russia could do as well as Canada did in Vancouver ... and I didn't believe it," the 30-year-old told a news conference.

"Now this is our pride, it's wonderful. What could be better than ending the Olympic with a gold medal and helping Russia top the medal table?"

Legkov started a breakaway with less than two kilometers to go and was pursued by Vylegzhanin and Chernousov as well as Norway's Martin Johnsrud Sundby.

The Russians said they had not planned before the race to work together.   Continued...

Russia's Alexander Legkov approaches the finish line to win the men's cross-country 50 km mass start free event at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor February 23, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Barria