While the gold-medal race in the men’s team pursuit played out without any major upsets, the real surprise came in the ROCs’ path to the finals, beating the heavily-favored American trio in the semifinals to advance to the final.
The ROC finished with a semifinal time of 3:36.62 to edge the U.S., which clocked in at 3:37.05. Norway, the defending Olympic champions, then won the final with a time of 3:38.08 to top ROC (3:40.46) and capture the country’s second-straight gold medal in men’s team pursuit.
The United States finished with a time of 3:38.81 in the bronze-medal race to defeat the Netherlands (3:41.62).
The U.S. is not traditionally dominant in this event with their lone Olympic medal coming in 2010 when they won silver, however, the Americans recently burst onto the scene behind a revolutionary new technique that opts to use one lead skater rather than rotating skaters. This racing strategy led the U.S. to a world record set in December by Joey Mantia, Emery Lehman and Casey Dawson.
While Lehman sat in the semifinals in favor of teammate Ethan Cepuran, that same record-setting lineup returned to the track in the Final B to win bronze over the Netherlands.
Norway became the first country to repeat as champions since this event made its Olympic debut in 2002.
The Norwegian trio of Hallgeir Engebraaten, Peder Kongshaug and Sverre Lunde Pedersen won in decisive fashion, besting the ROC by 2.38 seconds. This victory came just minutes after the Japanese women lost to Canada in heartbreaking fashion.