Cologna wins Olympic cross-country race in soft snow

Feb. 14, 2014 at 7:35 AM
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SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Dario Cologna, thriving in mild conditions and on soft snow, won the 15-kilometer cross-country race Friday for his second gold medal of the Olympics.

With the sun out, the temperatures warming and the snow becoming increasingly more difficult to plow through, Cologna won the classic-style race by 28.5 seconds. That was in contrast to his dramatic victory in the skiathlon race, earlier in the Olympics, in which he put on a finishing kick to edge Sweden's Marcus Hellner by four-tenths of a second.

The snow has become steadily softer on the cross-country course as the Olympics have progressed and it was so warm Friday that Cologna competed with his arms bare.

He powered through the 15 kilometers of classic-style skiing in 38:29.7, easily defeating the two Swedish skiers who took the silver and bronze medals.

Johan Olsson finished second and Daniel Richardson was third.

This was the third Olympic gold medal of Cologna's career. He won the 15-kilometer race in Vancouver when it was conducted using the freestyle technique. The skiathlon, which he won on Sunday, involved 15 kilometers of classic skiing and 15 more in freestyle.

Cologna's showing in the mountains above Sochi has come after he underwent ankle surgery in November to repair a tendon.

The medal for Olsson was the fifth of his Olympic career and his first at these Games. His lone gold medal came in the relay event held in Vancouver.

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