Winter Olympics 2014: Norway complete clean sweep of women's 30km cross-country as Marit Bjoergen claims a third gold in Sochi

Bjoergen was joined on the podium by her compatriots Therese Johaug and Kristin Stoermer Steira

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The Independent Online

Norway completed a clean sweep of medals in the Winter Olympic women's 30km cross-country.

Marit Bjoergen claimed her third gold medal of the Sochi Games finishing 2.6 seconds ahead of compatriot and World Cup leader Therese Johaug.

Kristin Stoermer Steira, competing in her third Games, claimed her first Winter Olympic individual medal, finishing in bronze medal position.

The victory earned Bjoergen her sixth Olympic gold medal to make her the joint most decorated female Winter Olympian in history, matching the six golds won by speed skater Lidia Skoblikova (USSR) and cross-country skier Lyubov Yegorova (Russia).

The trio finished well ahead of the chasing pack, with fourth-placed Kerttu Niskanen crossing the finish line 58 seconds behind Steira.

"It's incredible. We're all Norwegian and we're all on the podium. This has been a goal for me for a long time. I thought the 30k would be hard but I've felt very good in the last days," Bjoergen said.

The Norwegians broke away from the field around the 10km mark, producing an inspired team performance to race clear of their rivals.

"It's really good to take the silver medal here today and for Marit to get gold, and for Kristin to get bronze. It means a lot to the team. We have come back from the relay, where we finished fifth. We knew we were stronger than that. We had very good skis, the waxing team did a great job," Johaug said.

Steira added: "Finally. I've tried so many times and finally I succeed and get a medal. It's amazing, I don't think words can explain. It's all or nothing. It has been a lot of hard work but also a lot of fun. Right now I'm smiling all the way but when I crossed the finish line, I felt emotional."