The following is a series of daily event descriptions from the Cross-Country events at the 2002 Olympic Games, celebrating the first anniversary of the Salt Lake City Games. For more information or requests for lectures, presentations of planning and preparation phases, or the “behind the scenes” operations during the Games, contact John Aalberg at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Men’s relay race ended up being the "star of the show" at
Soldier Hollow during the Games, as it has for many of the past Olympic Games
and Nordic World Ski Championships. The main actors were again Norway and Italy.
However, the US Team was surprisingly great supporting actors, achieving their
best result ever in an Olympic Cross-Country relay.
John Bauer, after an amazingly strong first leg, tagged off in 5th place only
13 second behind the leading team, Norway. The rest of the US team stayed energized
in 5th place during most of the race, ending up only 1min 20 seconds behind
the winner at the end of the relay.
The now familiar cat and mouse game between the top two teams at the end of
the last lap were taken to a new level with Thomas Ahlsgaard and Christian Zorzi.
After several bursts to try to break away, followed by stop and go, and a little
push and show the two great skiers came together into the stadium for the last
time. The sold out stadium of over 20,000 spectators roared as never heard at
a Cross-Country event in this country, and the athletes gave it all. In front
of the visiting King Harald of Norway, Ahlsgaard regained his Champion sprint
form, and gave Norway another Gold medal.