More medals met with disappointment

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Norwegian athletes collected three more medals at the Winter Olympics in Sochi on Sunday, but they were all in bronze and the day was disappointing for fans and sports heroes alike. Some who were favoured to win simply didn’t, and one of the medals is now a matter of dispute.

Norway continued to lead the medal race (external link) with a total of seven after just two days of competition, but the Norwegians are hard to please. Ski jumper Anders Bardal was the latest on Sunday night to win a bronze medal, his first individual medal in an Olympic event. At the same time he was irritated that it wasn’t at least silver.

“My last jump wasn’t good and that really bothers me,” Bardal told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “I won the bronze and lost the silver.”

Bardal’s first jump was excellent, with the Norwegian landing at 101.5 meters and winning 135.8 points. Only Kamil Stoch of Poland, who jumped 105.5 meters and secured 135.8 points was better, so Bardal thought he had a good chance to win the silver.

His second jump, though, landed at just 98.5 meters while Peter Prevc of Slovenia jumped 99 meters and had only been a point behind Bardal. When Stoch jumped to victory, Bardal landed third. He cheered up later, though, claiming that an Olympic medal had been his goal this season. “And I managed that on my first try,” he told NRK.

The other Norwegian ski jumpers didn’t do very well, with Anders Fannemel next best in 15th place, Rune Velta ending 22nd and Anders Jacobsen, who took a bad fall during a practice session in Friday landing in 27th place.

Cross-country medal under appeal
Cross-country skier Martin Johnsrud Sundby was also disappointed with his bronze medal in the 30-kilometer race on Sunday, and now he faces an official Russian challenge over its validity. Not only was he sure he’d win gold as the lengthy race progressed, he ended up sliding over into his Russian competitor’s lane as they headed over the finish line, and allegedly hindered his rival’s own result.

The judges went ahead and awarded the bronze to Sundby, but Russian officials are appealing it to the international skiing federation. Sundby himself, who claimed he simply lost his balance in the final seconds, ended up disappointed over the loss of gold, which was won by Dario Cologna of Switzerland, and the silver, taken by Marcus Hellner of Sweden. The jubilation he expected was replaced by a meeting with the jury: “It’s a strange feeling,” he told reporters. “I’ve won an Olympic medal, but I’m so disappointed.” Skiing star Petter Northug, meanwhile, put on a disappointing performance as well and ended in 17th place, long from his glory days at the World Championships three years ago.

No Svindal on the podium
Several other world champion Norwegians who were favoured to win on Sunday didn’t come close, with biathlon star Tora Berger ending up 10th in her event, snowboarder Silja Norendal falling in the slopestyle competition and alpine skier Aksel Lund Svindal ending fourth in the men’s downhill.

Matthias Mayer of Austria, who won the prestigious down race, graciously suggested that Svindal, who was heavily favoured, was a victim of “the worst conditions” on the run, which were changing often, “while I had the best.”

Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud won the bronze, behind Christof Innerhofer of Italy, completing Norway’s three medals for the day and he, at least, was delighted. It was just last year that Jansrud took a bad fall so he was pleased with his comeback, but promised even better results next year.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund