Tuesday, February 19, 2002
Schlickenrieder and Zorzi just edged out
MIDWAY, Utah -- Tor Arne Hetland of Norway won the gold
medal in the men's 1.5-kilometer cross-country sprint Tuesday,
edging Peter Schlickenrieder and Cristian Zorzi at the finish line.
Norway's Tor Arne Hetland thanks the crowd for its support as he stands on the podium to get his gold medal.
Schlickenrieder of Germany won the silver in his final Olympics,
and Italy's Zorzi won the bronze.
Schlickenrieder protested the results, claiming Hetland cut him
off by illegally changing lanes in the final stretch.
Schlickenrieder withdrew his complaint after talking to team
members, but a competition panel had already convened and overruled
Hetland covered the Soldier Hollow course in 2 minutes, 56.9
seconds. He started in second place and dropped to third before
making a late charge to the front.
"It's a great feeling to be an Olympic champion in the
sprint," he said.
He passed Zorzi in the final 100 meters. Schlickenrieder then
did the same thing, edging the Italian by the tip of his skis.
"A medal is always a great thing," said Zorzi, who also was
edged by Norway in the final leg of the 40-kilometer relay.
It was Hetland's first medal in two Olympics.
Athletes ski just less than a mile in the sprint, which was making
its Olympic debut.
The 71-man field was narrowed during early morning qualifying.
The fastest 16 skiers moved into four elimination heats. The top
two skiers from each four-person heat advanced to the semifinals.
The top two skiers in each semifinal then advanced to the
Americans Carl Swenson, Torin Koos, Lars Flora and Kris Freeman
failed to qualify for the elimination heats.