The Norwegian Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo seemed to make history in the national sport of cross-country skiing. Minutes later he walked away from the capstone of the world championship without a medal.
Klaebo, the 24-year-old, was the first to cross the finish line in the 50 km long classic finals of the worlds in Oberstdorf, following compatriot Emil Iversen and Russian Aleksander Bolshunov 2 hours and 10 minutes back on track in the sprint.
According to Gracenote, he would have been the second man to have won both the sprint and marathon in the same world and joined retired compatriot Petter Northug.
Klaebo made an illegal move that obstructed Bolshunov when he passed the Russian just before the start of the last straight. Their contact led to the then leading Bolshunov breaking a ski pole. Iversen then overtook Bolshunov for the silver medal.
Iversen was upgraded to gold and Bolshunov got the silver. Bolshunov would probably have finished before Iversen if one of his poles hadn’t broken.
The situation was reminiscent of a World Cup race in January when Bolshunov made contact while trying to overtake a Finn. He whipped his opponent with a ski pole and grabbed him in the target area and was disqualified. The video is here.
Klaebo applied for a fourth gold medal in Oberstdorf after winning the individual and team sprints and being part of the Norwegian relay. Klaebo also won all three of these events at the PyeongChang Olympics and the 2019 World Championships.
Bolshunov, the 24-year-old World Cup leader, has won his 50km silver medals at the 2018 Olympics and the 2019 World Championships.
The USA had their best result in an Olympic or world 50 km since 2003, with Scott Patterson finishing 10th.
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