Published January 08, 2015
Norway won a double gold in the cross-country freestyle sprints at the Sochi Olympics on Tuesday, with Maiken Caspersen Falla taking the women's title and Ola Vigen Hattestad capturing the men's in a race marred by a three-skier collision.
Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg of Norway also won silver in the women's sprint. The three medals give the Scandinavian country a total of 102 in cross-country skiing since the Winter Olympics began in 1924.
Emil Joensson of Sweden, who had all but given up earlier in the men's race, grabbed the bronze after Sergey Ustiugov of Russia, Marcus Hellner of Sweden and Anders Gloeersen of Norway were involved in a crash that left them sprawled across the course. Soft snow caused a number of spills throughout the day.
Canadian Dara Howell won the gold in women's slopestyle skiing, but her victory was tempered by teammate Yuki Tsubota's crash on the slushy snow. She was carried off the mountain on a stretcher with a possible fractured jaw. Russian Anna Mirtova wiped out during both of her final runs in the event and said she's heading for knee surgery.
In Day 5 at the Sochi Games, medals also were being awarded in women's 10-kilometer biathlon pursuit, women's 500-meter speedskating, women's luge singles, men's snowboard halfpipe and women's normal hill ski jumping — like slopestyle skiing, a first-time Olympic event.
SLOPESTYLE SKIING: Howell finished with a score of 94.20, trouncing the rest of the field. Devin Logan of the United States took silver. Kim Lamarre earned bronze to give the Canadians seven medals in four days of snowboarding and freestyle skiing, including three events in which they took two of the top three spots. "We're over the moon right now," said Peter Judge, CEO of the Canadian Freestyle Skiing Association.
CROSS-COUNTRY: Hattestad took the early lead, avoided the crash behind him and then held off Teodor Peterson of Sweden for the gold. Peterson finished 1.2 seconds behind for silver. Vesna Fabjan of Slovenia won the bronze in the women's sprint. Pre-race favorites Kikkan Randall of the United States and Marit Bjoergen of Norway were knocked out in qualifying heats.