Norway’s bronze followed Ukraine gold

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Norwegian skiers claimed yet another medal at the Winter Olympics in Sochi on Friday, with their king and queen cheering in the stands. Their bronze medal, though, came after the Ukrainian women’s biathlon team won a gold medal that won cheers from everyone.

“I hope this victory will provide some support for the Ukrainian people, and that things will get better in their country in the future,” another biathlon star, Darya Domracheva of Belarus, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). Domracheva comes for a country that also has a history of conflict over its lack of democracy, but she said she was very happy for her hard-pressed Ukrainian rivals.

“I spoke with some of the Ukrainian girls a few days ago, and they were afraid to travel home,” Domracheva told NRK. On Friday, after her own biathlon relay team wound up in fifth place after she’d won individual gold earlier in the Olympics, she said she was glad that the women from beleaguered Ukraine won.

The Norwegians, meanwhile, were in the race for gold right up until the last round of shooting. The teams from Ukraine and Russia, which won the silver medal, proved stronger. Tiril Eckhoff, Tora Berger, Ann Kristin Flatland and Fanny Welle-Strand Horn were mostly satisfied in the end, however. Both Berger and Horn lost time at the shooting range, while Eckhoff and Flatland did well.

King Harald spent his 77th birthday watching the biathlon relay late Friday afternoon. He and Queen Sonja have only half jokingly been given credit for the Norwegians’ improved performance since they arrived in Sochi and started attending events on Tuesday. Norway now leads the medals race once again, with 10 gold, four silver and eight bronze.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund