Aspen’s Hamilton stumbles during Olympic men’s cross-country sprint
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Being the best sometimes just makes the pressure even greater.
That was true for both Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo and Stina Nilsson, who came into the Pyeongchang Olympics as the favorites in the cross-country skiing sprints.
They seem to have handled it just fine, though, and they both have a gold medal to prove it.
“It will be great to have a good night sleep,” Klaebo said with a laugh. “Now I can sleep with a big smile on my mouth.”
Frederico Pellegrino of Italy edged Russian rival Alexander Bolshunov in a photo finish to take silver. Bolshunov picked up the bronze.
Aspen skier Simi Hamilton fell during his quarterfinal sprint, according to the U.S. Ski team, and did not advance to the semifinals.
With no individual skate event this year in Pyeongchang — they alternate classic and skate events each Olympics — Hamilton has his sights set on the Feb. 21 team skate sprint. He hopes to compete in the Feb. 18 relay, but he thinks his best results will be in that team event.
— U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team (@usskiteam) February 13, 2018
Hamilton, in his third Olympics, has had several top-10 finishes on the World Cup circuit.
Maiken Caspersen Falla of Norway, who won gold four years ago at the Sochi Games, had to settle for silver. Russian athlete Yulia Belorukova took bronze.
Jessica Diggins came up short in her quest to become the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in cross-country skiing. She finished in sixth place, more than 11 seconds behind Nilsson.
“It’s a huge step forward for me just to make finals,” Diggins said. “If you would have told me at the beginning of the year that I would make the Olympic classic sprint final I would have been like, ‘Ha, that’s funny. Good joke!'”
Diggins said she didn’t recover fast enough from her previous race, having rested less than 30 minutes from the second semifinal to the final.
The Americans have not won a medal in cross-country skiing since Bill Koch earned silver at the 1976 Innsbruck Olympics.
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The Colorado Parks and Wildlife commission voted this week to open the tract of land near Aspen for mountain lion hunting.