ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Norway, anchored by five-times Olympic champion Marit Bjoergen, won the women’s team sprint at the Winter Games on Wednesday while Finland were first across the line in the men’s race but face a protest after a German skier took a tumble.
Bjoergen paired up with Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg to bring Norway home in 16 minutes 04.05 seconds and win the country’s fourth cross-country skiing title at these Games.
Norway’s men, who have been underperforming in Sochi, could do no better than fourth in a crash-hit final won by Finland, who were ahead of Russia and Sweden.
The Swedes have 11 cross country medals in Sochi to Finland’s eight, but only two golds.
Germany’s Tim Tscharnke hit the ground after bumping into Sami Jauhojaervi. The Finn, who was ahead, changed his line just before the final sprint.
Organizers said: “a jury decision was in process after a collision between Sami Jauhojaervi and Tim Tscharnke during the last leg of the men’s team sprint classic final at Laura cross country course on Wednesday”.
Tscharnke said Jauhojaervi took his line, causing him to fall.
“The Finnish guy crossed my line, that’s why I fell,” he told reporters after Germany finished seventh. “I simply couldn’t do anything. We’ll protest.”
Elena Vyalbe, president of the Russian ski federation, told reporters: “Finland should be disqualified but the protest has already been rejected”.
Russians Maxim Vylegzhanin and Nikita Kriukov, who managed to stay on their skis during the incident, took second place and Sweden finished third with Emil Joensson and Teodor Peterson.
The women’s race was far less dramatic as Aino-Kaisa Saarinen and Kerttu Niskanen took silver for Finland, 9.09 seconds behind Norway.
Stina Nilsson beat Germany’s Denise Herrmann in a pulsating dash to the line to claim bronze for Sweden with Ida Ingemarsdotter 19.77 seconds off the pace.
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Peter Rutherford