Norwegian women are world champs

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Norway’s women skiers utterly dominated the Nordic World Ski Championships, which drew to a close in Lahti, Finland on Sunday. Their winning streak continued to their final day of competition on Saturday, when Marit Bjørgen, Heidi Weng and Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen won all three top spots in the women’s 30-kilometer race.

Norway’s ski queen Marit Bjørgen (center) cries with joy after winning her fourth gold medal at an age of 36 at the Nordic World Ski Championships in Finland over the weekend. Her two Norwegian teammates made it a clean sweep for Norway in the women’s last competition on Saturday, the 30-kilometer race. Heidi Weng (left) won silver and Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen won bronze. PHOTO: FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2017

The Norwegian men, meanwhile, were disappointed once again on Sunday, when none failed to win a medal in the 50-kilometer race.  Most disappointed of all was Martin Johnsrud Sundby, who failed to win a single individual gold medal at the World Championships and defend his titles from two years ago.

“I’m enormously disappointed and sad that I didn’t do well today,” Sundby told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) when the 50K was history and the championships ended. Instead, Alex Harvey of Canada won the gold, skiing the 50 kilometers in just one hour, 46 minutes and 28.9 seconds. The silver medal went to Sergej Ustjugov of Russia, who finished less than a second Harvey, while Matti Hekkinen of Finland won bronze just .8 of a second behind Ustgugov.

“The goal was to win an individual gold,” Sundby told NRK, “so it was ‘close, but no cigar.'” He placed fifth in what ranked as the fastest 50K ever. Petter Northug, the former Norwegian skiing star who has won international 50K races several times, finished 8th.

Martin Johnsrud Sundby (second from right) had said he was “super motivated” for the tough 50-kilometer after Norway won the team relay on Friday. Sundby ended up placing fifth on Sunday, and was bitterly disappointed. PHOTO: FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2017

There had been a bright spot for the Norwegian men when they did win gold in the 4x10K relay on Friday, just ahead of Russia. It wound up as the only gold claimed by Sundby during the World Championships, shared by Finn Hågen Krogh, Didrik Toenseth and Niklas Dyrhaug.

The women, meanwhile, were in fine form, led once again by Marit Bjørgen. She took yet another gold medal in the 30K on Saturday, with Weng winning the silver and Jacobsen the bronze.

When it was all over, Norway held a total of 18 medals, way ahead of the second-place winner Germany with 11 and Russia with six. Seven of Norway’s medals were gold, six were silver and five were bronze. Even without Therese Johaug, who’s suspended on doping charges, the Norwegian women still dominated.

“It’s been amazing for me, just incredible,” exclaimed the 36-year-old Bjørgen when it was all oer. She took four of the gold medals herself, and said she’s now setting her sights on the Olympics in 2018.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund