Cross country: Unhappy Norwegian men end Games on a low note

Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:15am EST
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By Dmitriy Rogovitskiy

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Norway's male cross country skiers sounded both mystified and downhearted on Sunday after a Winter Games where they started as one of the favorites but underperformed badly.

In the six events they contested, they won just one gold and a bronze.

Sunday's 50 kilometer freestyle mass start was the last chance to claim a podium finish but once again Norway left the course without medals. The best performer was Martin Johnsrud Sundby, who ended in fourth.

"Of course we dreamed of winning a medal today. But everyone knows that our team just is not strong enough at the moment," he told reporters.

"We need to find more motivation. This is something that is clearly lacking at the moment. We plan to train even harder and finish the season on a high."

Particularly disappointing was the performance of double Olympian gold medalist Petter Northug, who won the 50 km classic race in 2010 and also took a gold in the team sprint.

The 28-year-old ended up in 18th on Sunday and failed to win a single medal in Sochi. He told reporters that an injury had caused him to miss three and a half months' training.

"I understand that I am in poor form. It is particularly sad that our men's team as a whole did not perform well here," he said.   Continued...

Russia's Alexander Legkov (2nd R) Maxim Vylegzhanin (L) and Ilia Chernousov (R) race to the finish line to take first, second and third place, ahead of Norway's Martin Johnsrud Sundby in the men's cross-country 50 km mass start free event at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games February 23, 2014. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin