Move over Norway, Sweden and Italy, there’s a new champion in town.
The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) claimed gold in the men’s 4x10km cross country relay in decisive fashion. This marks the first time since 1980 that the gold medal hasn’t gone to either Norway, Sweden or Italy. The 1980 victor in Lake Placid? The Soviet Union.
The ROC jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, extending their distance over the pack down the stretch.
From the start of the second leg, Norway settled into second, less than a minute behind the ROC. Just when it looked like the Norwegians might be closing the gap, Sergey Ustiugov of the ROC took over as anchor and posted a dominant final leg.
Ustiugov eventually led his team to gold with a 1:07.02 victory over Norway.
Meanwhile, as the distance between gold and silver widened, the Norwegians found themselves in a battle with France. Norway eventually held on to claim silver over the French.
While not a traditional powerhouse in this event, France has recently burst on to the scene with Beijing marking their third-straight bronze medal in the men’s 4x10km relay.
This result improves on the outcome in PeyongChang for the Russian athletes when they competed as the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) and won silver.
The U.S. finished ninth, just over eight minutes behind the gold medal.