OlympicsRacingFeb 21st 2002 Olympic Games Women’s 4 x 5 km Relay

FasterSkierFebruary 21, 2003

After a resounding success for the Organizer and the sport so far in the Games, unexpected and unwanted problems started to arise — none that the Organizer had any control over. The first one surfaced just before the Women’s 4 x 5 km relay.

15 minutes before the start, John Aalberg, the Chief of Competition, heard over his earpiece radio that there were problems at the blood control station. Two athletes from the Russian Team had been measured with hemoglobin values above the allowed levels. In such situations, the procedure was already clear, the team would not be allowed to start. Some hectic moments followed, where the officials at the entrance to the stadium were instructed and ready to escort the Russian lead skier back to the Athletes’ Compound. No confrontation was necessary, but the race started without the favorite team, Russia.

The race now became open, and ended up in a sprint down the final stretch between Germany and Norway. Germany won their first Women’s Cross-Country gold (exactly to the day) in 22 years (Lake Placid 1980). The biggest surprise medallist of all the events at Soldier Hollow was the Swiss team, which ended up in 3rd place, dancing of joy cheering up the officials still shocked by the doping episode.




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