Winter Olympics: Third gold for Koss: Norwegian breaks 10,000m speed skating record

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The Independent Online
JOHANN OLAV KOSS won his third speed skating gold medal of the Games yesterday, breaking his third world record to match. The 25-year-old medical student bettered his own three-year-old record by nearly 13 seconds, clocking 13min 30.55sec in the 10,000 metres.

Koss's latest world record was one of the greatest performances ever by a speed skater. 'The ice was amazing, so was the crowd - and so was my form,' said Koss, who also won a gold at the Albertville Games two years ago. 'I didn't put a foot wrong.'.

Kjell Storelid made it a Norwegian one-two ahead of the Dutch defending champion, Bart Veldkamp, who beat Koss into second place in 1992 at Albertville.

There was disappointment for the host nation, though, in the 120 metres special ski-jump, the German, Jens Weissflog, pulling off a surprise victory over Norway's world champion, Espen Bredesen. Bredesen built up a commanding lead in the first jump, but Weissflog, aided by the wind, caught up on the second as Bredesen faltered.

'I'm deliriously happy,' said Weissflog, a veteran who last won an Olympic medal at Sarajevo in 1984, when he took gold for East Germany on the normal hill and silver on the high hill.

The newly crowned women's downhill champion, Katja Seizinger, was fastest in the downhill section of the Alpine skiing combined event, but the veteran slalom specialist, Vreni Schneider, of Switzerland, ended the day as favourite for gold.

Schneider finished in seventh place, 1.63sec behind Seizinger, but as the winner of five out of eight World Cup slaloms this season she is well placed today to challenge the German, especially now that final positions are calculated by adding the two times together, rather than the complicated points system used previously. 'I'm proud of that run. I was so nervous at the start and really had to pull myself together,' Schneider said.

Sergei Tarasov won the men's 20km biathlon in a desperately close finish which saw the German runner-up, Frank Luck, hurtle through the closing stages to finish only 3.4sec behind the Russian.