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.
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 the grievance.
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 four-person final.
Americans Carl Swenson, Torin Koos, Lars Flora and Kris Freeman failed to qualify for the elimination heats.