Cologna takes skiathlon gold; Erik Bjornsen 2nd American

In a race with no Americans in the top 30, Switzerland's Dario Cologna won a sprint finish to grab the gold medal Sunday in the the first men's cross-country ski race at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Cologna edged Sweden's Marcus Hellner by four-tenths of a second in the 30-kilometer skiathlon, a race featuring 15 kilometers of classic skiing followed by 15 kilometers of skate skiing.

Leading the way for Team USA was Noah Hoffman, who lost a photo finish to place 35th in 1 hour, 11 minutes, 28.1 seconds.

Anchorage's Erik Bjornsen was the second American finisher in 42nd place (1:12:42.3). He was the fastest U.S. skier in the classic portion of the race, ranking 33rd.

Brian Gregg of Minneapolis, a former All-America skier for UAA, was 47th (1:13:26.3), and veteran Kris Freeman of New Hampshire was 54th (1:14:34.6).

Cologna, who didn't start racing this season until January because of an ankle injury, clocked 1:08:15.4. Hellner, the defending Olympic champion, finished in 1:08:15.8.

Bronze went to Norway's Martin Johnsrud Sundby.

 



Anchorage Daily News