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Bjoergen leads rare Norwegian cross country sweep

شعار Reuters Reuters 22/02/2014 Reuters
Norway's Johaug Steira and Bjoergen ski during women's cross-country 30km mass start free event at Sochi  (Norway's Johaug Steira and Bjoergen ski during women's cross-country 30km mass start free event at Sochi © REUTERS - Stefan Wermuth) © Norway's Johaug Steira and Bjoergen ski during women's cross-country 30km mass start free event at S... Norway's Johaug Steira and Bjoergen ski during women's cross-country 30km mass start free event at Sochi (Norway's Johaug Steira and Bjoergen ski during women's cross-country 30km mass start free event at Sochi © REUTERS - Stefan Wermuth)

Marit Bjoergen claimed a record-equalling sixth Winter Olympics gold medal when she led a Norwegian sweep in the cross country 30km freestyle event at the Sochi Games.

Bjoergen, the first Norwegian woman to win a 30km event at the Games, pulled ahead of Therese Johaug with a late burst of acceleration, while Kristin Stoermer Steira took the bronze.

After 10km, Johaug, Steira and Bjoergen split from the field and never looked back, with pre-race favourite Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland retiring midway through the race.

Bjoergen joins speed skater Lidia Skoblikova (former USSR) and cross-country skier Lyobov Yegorova (United Team and Russia) as the women with the most Winter Olympics gold medals.

It is the first clean sweep in Olympic cross-country skiing since Vegard Ulvang led Bjorn Daehlie and Terje Langli for a Norwegian sweep in the men's 30km classic in 1992.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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