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Cross country pair Jauhojärvi and Niskanen rediscover golden formula for Finland to win men’s team sprint

Cross country pair Jauhojärvi and Niskanen rediscover golden formula for Finland to win men’s team sprint
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19/02/2014

Finnish athletes Sami Jauhojärvi and Iivo Niskanen stunned their more fancied rivals to take gold in the men's team cross country sprint at the Laura Cross Country Ski & Biathlon Centre.

The Finns howled with delight after their victory in the gruelling event, in which teams of two take it in turns to perform three punishing sprints.

They finished in 23 minutes 14.89 seconds, ahead of Russia's Nikita Kriukov and Maxim Vylegzhanin who came in less than a second slower to take silver in a time of 23 minutes 15.86 seconds, to better the bronze medals won by Russian teams in 2006 and 2010.

Meanwhile, the Swedish tandem of Emil Jönsson and Teodor Peterson completed the podium line-up, winning the bronze after posting a time of 23 minutes 30.01 seconds.

Germany's Tim Tscharnke looked well placed to secure a podium finish for his team, but fell after touching skis with Jauhojärvi on the last descent.

His fall nearly took out Kriukov as well, but the Russian kept his balance well to cross the line for second place.

The German delegation later submitted an official protest, claiming that their athlete had been impeded unfairly, but their appeal was rejected by the jury, which ruled that there had been nothing irregular in the incident.

For his part, Jauhojärvi stressed he had done nothing wrong, but admitted he felt for the German team.

“Unfortunately, Tim was crossing my line a bit and our skis -- or something, I think it was skis -- collided a bit, and he unfortunately fell down.

“So they made a protest and the jury decided that what I did was inside the rules. I'm really sad for Germany that they lost the medal.”

It was Finland's first gold at the Olympic Winter Games since Nordic combined specialist Samppa Lajunen’s triumph in 2002. And Jauhojärvi revealed that he planned to celebrate the victory in the traditional Finnish manner.

“Tonight I will have a sauna and eat well,” he said

Meanwhile, the Norwegian men’s team, anchored by cross-country legend Petter Northug, endured another disappointing afternoon, finishing fourth.

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