Marit Bjoergen sparks Norway to gold

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia -- Marit Bjoergen gave Norway a dominant victory in the women's cross-country team sprint on Wednesday to end the country's gold-medal drought that surprisingly had lasted 10 days.

It was Bjoergen's fifth career Olympic gold and second in Sochi, after winning the opening skiathlon race on Feb. 8.

Norway's victory was never in doubt after Bjoergen pulled away on the first of her three laps, and then grew the advantage to 9 seconds by the end. Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg was the other skier for Norway.

"I didn't think it would be possible to fight for the gold medal but we had perfect skis; the waxing guys did a great job," Bjoergen said.

Finland finished second, and Sweden took bronze after Stina Nilsson won a sprint against Germany's Denise Herrmann. Aino-Kaisa Saarinen and Kerttu Niskanen competed for Finland. Ida Ingemarsdotter was the other skier for Sweden.

Norway's victory was far from unexpected. It ended a mini-crisis for the team after both the men's and women's relay teams failed to get a medal as the wax technicians struggled to find the right setup for warm conditions in Sochi.