Another gold for Swiss supremo Cologna in cross-country 15km classic
In another demonstration of faultless Swiss timing and technical finesse, Dario Cologna won his second gold of the Sochi 2014 Winter Games, with a dominant performance in the men's 15km classic.
After a steady start, Cologna took the time trial race by the scruff of the neck from the middle section and was able to punch the air in triumph as he crossed the line.
“It's amazing. I couldn't believe the first gold medal, after being injured, and now the second,” said the 27-year-old.
Cologna finished in 38 minutes 29.7 seconds, a colossal 28.5 seconds ahead of his nearest challenger Johan Olsson of Sweden who took silver. Another Swede, Daniel Richardsson, won the bronze in 39 minutes 8.5 seconds.
The victory underlined Cologna’s all-round versatility across the cross-country events, following his win in the skiathlon, which mixes both the classic and freestyle.
He also claimed gold over 15km at Vancouver 2010, when it was run as a freestyle event.
Cologna said that his triumphs in Sochi felt particularly special, given that he had to bounce back from a torn ligament in his ankle sustained last November, which forced him to miss a crucial training period.
The Nordic skier’s three titles at the Winter Games mean that he now lies equal with Alpine specialist Vreni Scheider in the Swiss all-time list, with three Olympic golds.
Only Sochi 2014 team-mate, ski jumper Simon Ammann, with four, has more gold medals.
Norwegian athletes were rare absentees from a Nordic podium, with their best performer Chris Andre Jespersen coming in just sixth
“It was the perfect race,” Cologna reflected. “I knew it would be hard and I was prepared for it.”