Beckie Scott and Sara Renner earned silver medals for a very impressive performance in the women's classic Olympic Team Sprint today. Making the feat even more impressive, the Canadians had to overcome a broken pole in the final to earn their medals! The Swedish team of Anna Dahlberg and Lina Andersson took gold in a furious sprint to the line, while Finland was third.
The American team of Wendy Wagner and Kikkan Randall did an excellent job of qualifying for the final, where they finished 10th.
There were 8 teams in each women's semifinal, with the top five moving on to the final.
In the first women's semifinal, the Finnish team and the Canadian team were in control the whole way, opening a gap on the other three qualifying teams from Italy, Japan, and Kazakstan.
Ladies' Team Sprint Semifinal 1 1 FIN SAARINEN Aino Kaisa KUITUNEN Virpi 17:16.8 -- Q 2 CAN RENNER Sara SCOTT Beckie 17:19.3 2.5 Q 3 ITA FOLLIS Arianna PARUZZI Gabriella 17:32.6 15.8 Q 4 JPN NATSUMI Madoka FUKUDA Nobuko 17:33.1 16.3 Q 5 KAZ JATSKAJA Oxana KOLOMINA Elena 17:36.3 19.5 Q 6 FRA BOURGEOIS PIN Elodie PERRILLAT Aurelie 17:54.5 37.7 7 SLO FABJAN Vesna BENEDICIC Maja 18:59.5 +1:42.7 8 UKR MALETS LISOGOR Marina ZAVALIJ Tatjana 19:14.1 +1:57.3
In the second women's semifinal, there was a breakaway on the 3rd lap of the top five teams: Sweden, Norway, Germany, Russian and USA. On the next lap, Bjoergen opened up a lead and the Norwegians cruised on to win the heat. Wagner and Randall held on to fifth place comfortably to advance to the final as well.
Ladies' Team Sprint Semifinal 2 1 NOR GJOMLE Ella BJORGEN Marit 17:14.4 -- 2 RUS MOSKALENKO-ROTCHEVA Olga SIDKO Alena 17:32.1 17.7 Q 3 SWE DAHLBERG Anna ANDERSSON Lina 17:33.5 19.1 Q 4 GER SACHENBACHER STEHLE Evi BAUER Viola 17:34.7 20.3 Q 5 USA WAGNER Wendy RANDALL Kikkan 17:51.4 37 Q 6 CZE BALATKOVA ERBENOVA Helena RAJDLOVA Kamila 18:11.6 57.2 7 CHN WANG Chunli JIANG Chunli 18:18.4 +1:04.0 8 EST PORMEISTER Piret SIRGE Kaili
In the women's final, Sara Renner charged to the front along with Saarinen of Finland. The pack was still very tight as Renner tagged off to Scott, along with the other teams. Marit Bjoergen made a impressive charge up the hills on the second lap to bring Norway into the second exchange in the lead, with Scott close behind, along with Sweden and Finland. Those four teams had broken away from the rest.
On the third lap, disaster struck as Sara Renner broke a pole with a a few hundred meters before the hand-off. She got a pole quickly, but it was not the corrrect size and she dropped back a bit as she struggled to get back into the groove. Renner tagged off to Scott about 5 meters behind the leaders. Beckie quickly put on a surge to bridge the gap early in her next lap and take the lead at the end of her second lap.
At the final exchange, there were still four teams fighting for 3 medals. Sweden, Finland and Canada were in front with Bjoergen charging from just behind. Into the finishing stretch, Lina Andersson of Sweden, Beckie Scott, and Virpi Kuitunen of Finland were dead even. Bjorgen was unable to catch up. As Kuitunen faded, Scott dug deep, but Andersson was just too strong. Gold to Sweden, Silver to Canada, and Bronze to Finland!
Congratulations to Beckie and Sara!
Women's Team Sprint Final RANK COUNTRY NAME FINISH DIFF 1 SWE DAHLBERG Anna ANDERSSON Lina 16:36.9 -- 2 CAN RENNER Sara SCOTT Beckie 16:37.5 0.6 3 FIN SAARINEN Aino Kaisa KUITUNEN Virpi 16:39.2 2.3 4 NOR GJOMLE Ella BJORGEN Marit 16:48.1 11.2 5 GER SACHENBACHER STEHLE Evi BAUER Viola 17:03.5 26.6 6 RUS MOSKALENKO-ROTCHEVA Olga SIDKO Alena 17:08.5 31.6 7 ITA FOLLIS Arianna PARUZZI Gabriella 17:24.8 47.9 8 JPN NATSUMI Madoka FUKUDA Nobuko 17:27.6 50.7 9 KAZ JATSKAJA Oxana KOLOMINA Elena 17:42.8 +1:05.9 10 USA WAGNER Wendy Kay RANDALL Kikkan 18:04.9 +1:28.0