Norway, Russia soar on final day

WINTER Olympics legend Marit Bjoergen lifted Norway top of the final Pyeongchang medals table yesterday, as Russia celebrated a dramatic men's hockey gold.

The Olympic Athletes from Russia team members pose with their ice hockey gold medals after beating Germany in the final during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games at the Gangneung Hockey Center Gangneung yesterday.

WINTER Olympics legend Marit Bjoergen lifted Norway top of the final Pyeongchang medals table yesterday, as Russia celebrated a dramatic men’s hockey gold — but also saw its flag barred from the closing ceremony over doping.

Bjoergen, 37, won her second gold and fifth medal at Pyeongchang in the women’s 30km cross-country mass start, extending her record Winter Olympics career tally to 15.

It was a fitting finale as it handed Norway its 14th gold to overtake Germany in the final medal count, after the German team won the four-man bobsleigh earlier in the day.

Germany also finished on 14 golds, but Norway took top spot with its record 39 medals overall to Germany’s 31. Canada was third with 11 golds, while hosts South Korea finished seventh.

Norway’s celebrations capped a dramatic final day of competition that saw the Russia beat Germany 4-3 in a sudden-death, overtime hockey thriller.

Kirill Kaprizov scored a thumping powerplay goal 9:40 into the extra period to trigger wild celebrations and end a 26-year wait for the title to return to Russian hands.

The Russians won the gold — without a flag to salute or a national anthem to listen to.

So, they sang it instead while playing as “Olympic Athletes from Russia.”

“You play for your country, it is more important,” Russian captain Pavel Datsyuk said. “It feels good, but I have accomplished my dream. Now, I have no dream.”

The ice hockey win brought Russia’s total gold medal haul to two, far behind its dope-tainted haul of 13 at Sochi.

Then in the final event of the Games, Norway’s Bjoergen claimed her second gold in Pyeongchang as she signed off from her record-breaking Olympic career in style.

The cross-country legend won convincingly, 1 minute, 49.5 seconds ahead of Finland’s Krista Parmakoski, with Stina Nilsson of Sweden taking bronze.

However, the fairytale of South Korea’s smash-hit “Garlic Girls” women’s curling team ended in a stinker, as they lost the final 3-8 against Sweden.

Sweden’s women’s squad continued its dominance in the sport with five medals — three gold — in the six Olympics since curling joined the Winter Games.

The silver was the first curling medal for South Korea. “We have been through a lot,” skip Kim Eun-jung said, “so that we could blaze a trail.”

Francesco Friedrich and his team of Candy Bauer, Martin Grothkopp and Thorsten Margis finished their four runs in 3 minutes, 15.85 seconds to win the four-man bobsledding gold for Germany by more than a half-second.

South Korean and German sleds shared second, both finishing in 3:16.38.

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