Norway veteran coasts to gold U.S. hockey routs Finland
By ARNIE STAPLETON
WHISTLER, British Columbia — Ole Einar Bjoerndalen grabbed a giant Norwegian flag from a fan as he crossed the bridge leading to the stadium straightaway in the men's biathlon relay.
So brilliant was Bjoerndalen's final leg yesterday that he was able to leisurely glide the final 150 meters, cradling the flag in his right arm and soaking it all in.
An Olympic champion again!
"It's a great feeling today," Bjoerndalen said after winning his sixth career gold medal. "For me, it was not optimum before the relay, but today, I forget everything. It's perfect for me."
As he crossed the finish line, he waved the flag high above his head and looked to the skies, snow fluttering across his face.
Behind Bjoerndalen's blazing final leg, the Norwegians covered the Whistler Olympic Park course in 1 hour, 21 minutes, 38.1 seconds in steady snowfall.
Christoph Sumann edged Russia's Evgeny Ustyugov, giving Austria the silver. The Austrians were 38.6 seconds behind Norway. Russia was 38.8 seconds back for the bronze.
With a dazzling race in which he blazed across the slushy snow and feverishly knocked down all 10 of his targets, Bjoerndalen delivered, following outstanding performances by teammates Halvard Hanevold, Tarjei Boe and Svendsen.
Bjoerndalen, 36, now has 11 Olympic medals overall.