Winter Olympics 2014: Marit Bjoergen claims cross country gold for Norway after spirited battle with Sweden's Charlotte Kalla - Olympics - Sport - The Independent

Winter Olympics 2014: Marit Bjoergen claims cross country gold for Norway after spirited battle with Sweden's Charlotte Kalla

Bjoergen came from behind to squeeze past Kalla in the final turn to take the victory

Marit Bjoergen is targeting a clean sweep of six medals in Sochi in a quest that could make her the most decorated Winter Olympic athlete of all time.

The Norwegian cross country star swept past Swedish rival Charlotte Kalla on the final bend to take gold in the women's skiathlon in her opening event of the 2014 Games.

It was Bjoergen's fourth Olympic gold medal and her eighth medal in total - and she needs four more to match the record tally set by her cross-country skiing compatriot Bjorn Daehlie.

Bjoergen, who could also become the first athlete in history to win five or more medals at two consecutive Games, missed out on six medals in Vancouver when she sat out the team sprint - but says she plans to contest every event over the coming fortnight.

Bjoergen, who said prior to Saturday's race that she was targeting a single gold in Sochi, said: "Now I have realised my goal in this Olympics I think I can relax and enjoy the rest of it.

"I really want to do the six races. I am in good shape. Today I had good skis and a good feeling and if I have that in the other races it is possible - everything is possible."

Bjoergen faces some competition in her quest to surpass Daehlie. Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen currently stands on 11 medals and is also competing in multiple events in Sochi.

In a dramatic finish, Bjoergen pounced to overcome Kalla, who had burst in front up the final incline and looked set to add to the single gold she won in Vancouver before Bjoergen responded to win the 30km race by just over two seconds.

Bjoergen's team-mate Heidi Weng took the bronze medal and the pair both admitted it was an emotional achievement following the sudden death of the brother of one of their team-mates, Astrid Jacobsen, on Friday.

Bjoergen said: "Yesterday was a very hard day and it was hard to have focus on the race yesterday evening, but Astrid and her family really wanted us to race for her brother, so we stayed together and we did a good race for him today.

"It's emotional - of course it is - but Astrid wanted us to do this for her today and we did it for her and her family and her brother."

PA

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