Bjoergen captures women's cross country skiathlon gold

The Sports NetworkFebruary 8, 2014 

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia ( - Norway's Marit Bjoergen won cross-country gold in women's 15-kilometer skiathlon at the 2014 Olympics.

Bjoergen repeated as Olympic champion, having captured gold in the same event four years ago in Vancouver when it was known as the pursuit. She finished Saturday in a time of 38 minutes, 33.6 seconds for her fourth career Olympic gold medal.

Sweden's Charlotte Kalla took the silver medal, finishing 1.8 seconds behind Bjoergen, while Heidi Weng of Norway won the bronze.

The skiathlon features a 7.5-kilometer leg in the classical style followed by a 7.5-kilometer freestyle segment.

Bjoergen led after the first leg, but a slow stop to change skis for the free technique put her behind. She stayed close to the lead and overtook Kalla late in the race. The two broke free from the pack, but Bjoergen had enough to cross the line first.

Weng was 13.2 seconds behind on a difficult day for the Norwegian team, which on Saturday said the brother of women's cross-country skier Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen died on Friday night. Jacobsen did not compete in the skiathlon.

Another Norwegian, Therese Johaug, finished fourth. She was second after the classical leg and had the third-best time in the freestyle technique, but a slow ski change likely cost her a medal. She finished 1.4 seconds behind Weng.

American Jessica Diggins finished eighth, doing so with a fantastic freestyle effort. She was 25th after the classical portion and moved up 17 spots. The U.S. women have never won a cross-country Olympic medal.

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