Olympics / Winter Olympics / Cross-country skiing

Norway's Marit Bjoergen earns 14th medal, becomes most successful Winter Olympian in history

AP, Reuters

Marit Bjoergen made Olympic history and the United States women’s cross-country team won its first medal ever — and it was gold.

Bjoergen won her 14th medal at the Winter Games by taking bronze with her Norwegian teammates on Wednesday in the team sprint. That made her the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time, breaking the tie she held with Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen.

Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall led the way as the American women pulled off a huge upset in the same race. The only other American to win a medal in cross-country skiing was Bill Koch, who took silver in the 30-kilometer race at the 1976 Innsbruck Games.

The Americans posted the fastest time in the semifinals and started on the front row in the final. Diggins passed the Swedes and the Norwegians on the final lap to win the first Olympic gold medal for the United States in the sport. Sweden took silver.

“It feels unreal, I can’t believe it just happened,” Diggins told reporters.

“In the final stretch I was just thinking, ‘Go, go, go, I’m giving it everything I had and I’ve got someone who I really love and care about waiting for me at the finishing line and I just want to make her proud’,” she said of Randall.

The 37-year-old Bjoergen has now won four medals at the Pyeongchang Games. She took gold in the women’s 4×5-kilometer relay, silver in the 15-kilometer skiathlon and bronze in the 10-kilometer freestyle. She still has one event remaining — the 30-kilometer mass start on Sunday — if she chooses to participate.

Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo and Martin Johnsrud won the men’s team sprint, giving Norway a 13th medal in cross-country events at Pyeongchang.

A team of Russians took silver and France edged out Sweden for third.

It was the third gold medal for Klaebo, equaling French biathlete Martin Fourcade for the most golds so far at Pyeongchang.

The 21-year Klaebo became the fourth male athlete to win three gold medals at the Winter Games before turning 22, joining American speed skater Eric Heiden, Austrian Alpine skier Toni Sailer and South Korean short-track speedskater Ano Victor