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Hello, and welcome
to the penultimate day
of the Winter Olympics.
And there's still plenty
of sport to come before
we all pack up and head home.
Later in the programme,
we'll have highlights of one
of the new events at these Games,
with the mass start speed skating.
But first, Andrew Musgrave made
British cross-country history
with a seventh place finish
in his first event of the Games.
Now he takes part in his last, and
the most gruelling, the men's 50km.
Ollie Williams and Rob Walker
are your commentators.
Ollie Williams and Rob Walker
are your commentators.
We will keep our eye on Andrew
Musgrave and he -- if he is not up
amongst the leaders we will try and
keep you posted on his split times
if he is out of vision. Plenty of
stories and plenty of opportunities.
Iivo Niskanen, we have over two
hours to talk about him and the best
of the rest. He is the reigning
world champion in the 15 kilometres,
and interestingly enough... There is
Mattie hike in, he got a bronze in
the World Championships. Niskanen
opted not to start the Olympic race
because he has placed so much
attention and focus on the 50 in his
preparation. No exaggeration to say
that this is the title that he wants
and no fin has won this since 1950.
Tier he has been targeting it for
four years. He had the World
Championships on home snow last year
in Finland and that was a huge boost
This race is everything he
has been planning.
He is a big star,
and it is going to be a big contest
today between Dario: you and Alex
Harvey -- Dario Cologna. There are
many contenders. A last chance
perhaps for Harvey. He completed the
one, two, three for Sweden, Hans
Christer Holund. The question is not
about the ability of Sundby but how
tired he is. Alexey Poltoranin,
however, is on relatively fresh eggs
so they could put down the hammer
early and try and hurt the likes of
Sundby, knowing how much mileage you
already has in his legs from this
The only reason I think
they might not do that is because of
the wind. The windy nature of today
could hamper the ability for people
to get to the front. Niskanen says
if it is windy he will not try a
break at the front and it is quite
breezy on the exposed course right
now. John Mark Guyot of France has
an outside chance of doing
something. Andrew Marr 's golf is --
Andrew Musgrave is going to be bare
handed for this entire 50 K!
Here we go, the longest and arguably
the hardest event on the
cross-country Winter Olympic
programme. The men's 50 kilometre
classic is underway. It will take
the gold and silver and bronze
medallist well over two hours to
take and stake their claim on the
podium. It is a bit like a
world-class marathon. You do not win
it in the very early stages, but you
can certainly cost yourself some
energy if you get it wrong in the
early stages. The really interesting
thing at the beginning is going to
be if we get one or two of the guys
who have specifically and publicly
targeted this race, I wonder how
early they might try and turn the
screw here and just let the others
know that they are here and that
this is the one in which they mean
It will be interesting to
see when they do that. This could be
quite a slow race because the snow
is quite dirty and it is not the
fresh snow they will race on all
season and it might make it slower.
I am not sure that too many people
given the wind will be looking to
push on from the start. You have to
be hard -- carefully that mass start
like this that there are so many
bodies and colliding with someone
now, we have seen it happen in
several races already that you will
have to lose time and you might
break a poll. All that kind of
thing. We have seen people come back
from Matt to win a gold-medal but it
is unusual to do that and you do not
want it to disrupt your start so you
will see people being quite cautious
at the start following these loans
out and it will take a little while
for us to develop any sense of who
will seize the initiative. Iivo
Niskanen leads from Alexey
Poltoranin and they are two of the
men who are really fancy to stop the
dominance of the Swedish skiers. His
sister is also a world-class skier.
I guess the only argument against
Iivo Niskanen being the joint
favourite for this because it is the
one he is
one he is targeting what he has
produced so far here. He was
disappointed with 19th in the
skiathlon and only 14 in the sprint.
He was very vocal before even when
we came for our research week before
the games began, he gave a very
candid press conference saying the
real gold medal here is the 50
kilometres on the penultimate day
and that is the one you really have
to worm and he has been really vocal
about targeting it and he is clearly
up for it. I am not saying it is a
concerted bid to break the field but
he is clearly confident that he
wants to dominate the early
proceedings ante is not confident in
the Norwegians having it all their
own way in the early stages.
a gap starting to open between the
front group of about 15 or 20.
certainly making his presence felt
at the front and Sundby is
recognising that he is a danger man
so he has decided to respond little
bit. Look at that, the three
Russians are all in our line. The
cameras are focusing in on Dario
Cologna, he is a four-time Olympic
champion and he is going for number
five. It is an event in which he has
always been unlucky. This can and is
having a little probe off the front
here and he is undermining his class
and his desire to take the title.
That is an excellent way to phrase
it, it is a little probe, just
pushing off the front of little bit.
You can see Sundby on the left,
wearing number four and very close
to others but I wonder what is left
in his tank. I think Norway will be
looking to the second half of the
race and their experience and what
they have done so far and they will
maybe be looking to Niklas Dyrhaug.
Iivo Niskanen is still putting
everything in and he is looking
relatively fresh to me. It looks
like Niskanen and Alexey Poltoranin
are not breaking themselves to get
up this hill but they are applying
pressure. Alexander Bolshunov is
trying to do something about the
gap. It ticks down a few seconds and
if he gets himself on the podium in
this race it would really confirm
him as the new star of Russian
skiing because he has already looked
so good, and to do it again here at
the age of 21 would be really
A change of skis for
Alexander Bolshunov. Into the pits
and a new set on as quickly as you
can reasonably do it. A bit of a
fudge with his right-hand ski but we
It is a great piece of
France skiing from Iivo Niskanen.
Alexey Poltoranin is really hurting.
There is no other reason why the man
from Kazakhstan who was vocal about
targeting this race is no other
reason he would let this much space
grow between him and the Finn. The
infection of pace has thus far
claimed another casualty and Alexey
Poltoranin now finds himself locked
together with the talented
21-year-old Alexander Bolshunov who
at the last checkpoint was over half
a minute ahead of Sundby and Hans
Christer Holund for fifth and sixth
and he will have to do this last 20
K entirely on his own, even if
Skervin, if this is going to be gold
he will let -- earn every single
ounce of the medal that will go
around his neck in the ceremony
tomorrow night. Alexei under
Bolshunov moves ahead of Alexey
Poltoranin. Alexey Poltoranin may
not have another elections, he is
likely to be selected for Kazakhstan
but in four years' time we be as
competitive as now? He has never won
an Olympic medal and if now he is
starting to sail away back into the
distance and his engine has gone, it
is going to be crashing for him
because he has a world bronze medal
in this race before but at the
Olympic level he would have loved to
do something today. You can see he
is behind now but can you hold on
for the medal here when there is so
far to go? Will he be hauled in, as
the Norwegian duo and Alex Harvey of
Canada. Alex Harvey 's problem now
has been that he has not had the
legs in this Olympics. He has been
in a good place in the last few
Olympics and we have seen him at the
halfway point and the gap is now
closing up on Iivo Niskanen at the
front but only very gradually. You
can see him heading up on the list
-- left. Alex Harvey has done well
here to keep the pace so far. He
needs to avoid what happened to him
in the other races, losing that
energy in the final third.
Bolshunov it now becomes an
advantage to be the lighting -- that
young Russian and to be 21 years old
because he will not be worrying
about the same things as Niskanen
who knows this is his chance,
finally he has a 50 kilometres
classic. It will be eight years
before the next one of these at the
Winter Olympics because in four
years' time it will be a freestyle
as these rotate. He will be 34 by
the time the next one comes around
and he feels that now he is in his
prime. Bolshunov is 13 seconds back
and he might feel his chances
slipping away. Bolshunov has three
medals already at these Olympics and
probably other than hauling in
Niskanen he doesn't have much of a
care in the world right now. The
reason that his performances so
special and remarkable in this race
is that he was on the podium in the
sprint as well and to be that
competent over the short distance
and now trying to reel in Niskanen
over the longest distance, it really
is worthy of note. Suddenly it is a
very, very lonely race. You can see
now that it looks like Niskanen is
having to work and struggling a bit
on the right ski up this hill.
Bolshunov is well in touch and he
can seen this given ahead of him and
even that, being able to see the
guy, makes a big, big difference
when you are consuming like this,
knowing that your target is ahead of
you and I think Bolshunov is looking
stronger coming up this climb as
well. It is interesting, we are
approaching about 36 kilometres now
of this 50 kilometre race. Iivo
Niskanen has given us such a
gripping spectacle by forcing his
rival Paul to run into come with him
off the front and creating this
massive gap and now Bolshunov fills
that. Bolshunov now is just slowly
hauling in Iivo Niskanen and we are
going to be in for quite some
finish. Really and truly one of the
other story is -- stories is that
Dario Cologna has disappeared to two
point three seconds behind -- two
minutes and 13 seconds behind. Even
the Norwegians, we have recently had
Andrey Larkov go through the
checkpoint two minutes behind and
they have lost 16 seconds on Iivo
Niskanen. All the Norwegians are at
least two minutes behind and Iivo
Niskanen, even if he is caught by
Alexander Bolshunov, it is
incredible, what he has done to this
race and how it has left the
Norwegians and Alex Harvey and Dario
Cologna in his rake -- week.
blown the field apart. He was as
good as his prerace predictions and
he said it would go for it and he
said he was targeting gold in this,
the hardest event. It is going to be
an agonising run in to the finish
for Iivo Niskanen bad he cannot
afford to ease up because where
everybody else is still falling
further behind him, Alexander
Bolshunov, the 21-year-old from
Russia, is continuing to put the
psychological pressure on Iivo
Niskanen. Every time, and he will
have a few opportunities because it
is a twisting and turning course,
every time it takes a left and or
are right and he will see that
maroon shadow looming large. This is
real pressure now from the Russian.
A little reminder if you haven't
watched Marcus Cross country and you
don't who we are talking about, on
the left is Iivo Niskanen from
Finland. He was fourth in the relay
and 19th in the sprint. A team
sprint specialist from Sochi who
four years focusing entirely on
winning this race here today. He was
the one who made the move and surged
forward earlier than we thought
anyone would and he absolutely blew
apart the field in this race. Up
until a few minutes ago he looks
like he was totally untouchable for
the remaining ten or 15 kilometres.
However the man you see appear
behind him now, wearing number
seven, is Alexander Bolshunov, the
Olympic Athletes from Russia. Russia
Posner various issues in the last
year or two have allowed him to come
here and become at the age of only
21 essentially the leading light of
Russian cross-country skiing. He has
delivered a silver in the relay and
a silver in the team sprint and
bronze in the sprint and now he is
impressing so much once again
because he has hauled in Iivo
Niskanen and now there is virtually
no gap at all with just about 12.5
kilometres to go.
We have a duel on
our hands. All of the others are
slipping further and further behind
this fabulous Finn but Bolshunov has
worked his way up from the middle of
the lead pack and inch by inch and
second by second he has closed the
gap. This is where we get to see the
extent of the eagerness can and
resolve. He will definitely be
hurting. It would be impossible for
him not to feel the effects of the
savage pace that has decimated a
world-class field, including Dario
Cologna, oh at the last checkpoint
was far off three minutes off the
pace and at some stage this has got
to take a toll on Iivo Niskanen,
even when you bear in mind that he
will have the adrenaline of knowing
he is leading and knowing he is in
with a shout of what would be the
biggest victory of his career. What
about Alexey Poltoranin?
He is now
50 seconds adrift and now it is
equally impressive that a 21 your
old selected for the Olympic at the
door of Russia team has been able,
unlike so many more experienced and
better on paper contenders,
Alexander Bolshunov has been able to
match him, not by heading out with
this given but with letting him get
the best part of three quarters of a
minute ahead and then bringing him
back. For the first time in such a
long time this can and have someone
to work within the front but equally
it could lose a gold medal to them.
That makes this a really important
strategic time now for both of these
athletes. This Canon has more
experience of these races but
Bolshunov may have more left in him
for the remaining kilometres.
for the remaining kilometres.
are huge moments or Iivo Niskanen of
Finland. His bold strategy, his
passion for this distance, and for
the history of this event, led him
to make a decision to go very, very
hard before the halfway stage. It
has worked in all but one regard. He
has got rid of everybody who stands
in his way of this gold medal that
he so desperately craves. But
Bolshunov has played a very smart
game. He has clawed his way back
towards the flying Finn and done so
gradually and done so with the real
tactical maturity that belies his
years, only 21 years of age and he
has got great range and brilliant
acceleration, otherwise he would not
have been in the podium with the
team sprint with the silver or the
silver in the relay or the bronze in
the individual sprint. But the
question now is how does Iivo
Niskanen respond to this situation?
Not so much physically but mentally.
You are miles clear and pulling away
from everyone. It is a great
situation. Even though the body
starts to feel it you know your
tactic is working and you can start
to think about the glorious run into
the finish but now he has to hang
on. Does he play a smart game here?
If he is feeling OK physically, and
he will get tired at some stage,
does he now refuse to help the
Russian? Does he tucked in behind
him and start thinking about going
for a massive splint -- sprint
towards the end? Alexey Poltoranin
is definitely getting tied in third
and he is now more than a minute
behind these two. Will change of
skis come into the mix to influence
the proceedings the last ten K? This
is the moment where the questions
are being asked and it will be
fascinating to see how Niskanen
The waxing is going on
now. His team are preparing the skis
so it is like cutting to the pit
lane in the F1 coverage and seeing
them about the tyres. We know that
Niskanen will come in for the skis
and the Finnish team have been
looking at this race and looked at
the conditions and they know the
conditions have changed and Diaz got
cold out there and they will now try
to adapt to that and say, OK, what
does he need honestly to finish this
race? The same applies to Bolshunov.
They look like there is quite a pace
coming on between them. An update on
the British contenders in this race,
Andrew Musgrave came through the 35
kilometres checkpoint at 45th, nine
minutes back from the leader. Calum
Smith was further back at 58 just a
few moments ago.
Two questions here.
If Niskanen comes in for a pit stop
will the new skis with the wax make
a difference? Also, will the fact
that he takes a pit stop, assuming
he does, give this man from Russia
and opportunity to accelerate and
create a gap for the first time?
That will be fascinating over this
next 150 metres or so.
It creates an
entirely new dramatic -- dynamic
because now with Niskanen comes in
you will have Bolshunov out alone
and suddenly he is not the one doing
the chasing, which he has been for
most of this race, he is the one
being chased and he needs to change
mindset as well because even now,
when there are two of you together,
it is a different mindset as to
whether you stop and you can see
that Niskanen will peel off now and
Bolshunov will go off out alone as
Niskanen comes in for the change. He
is quite measured and taking time a
little bit and Rob has a different
interpretation of that to me. I
thought Niskanen kept is calm in
that change and he came out again
but he has distanced to make up and
now what does Bolshunov do? He has
an 11 second gap by virtue of the
stop. How will Alexander Bolshunov,
21 years old and in his first
Olympics, how will you handle that
gap and this pressure?
some of the other pit stops we have
seen, it took maybe a second or two
longer certainly than we saw for
Sundby who had a brilliant pit stop
in the early stages of the race.
Alexey Poltoranin is falling further
adrift and getting closer to
Niskanen because he lost ground
after that pit stop. The man from
Kazakhstan is completely isolated on
his own in third place but at the
moment he has a gap of more than one
minute on the chase group that
contained two Norwegians and the
Russian and the man from Canada. The
question here is how helpful was the
change of skis? Is the improved grip
on the snow worth the 11 seconds
that it cost Iivo Niskanen to make
that pit stop? I think with the
naked eye he is closing the gap.
That could be significant. Here come
the chasers. You have the likes of
Andrei Lobkov, followed by Alex
Harvey, Hans Christer Holund and
Martin Johnsrud Sundby. These guys
are good enough that on a different
race on a different day this was
always sprint for gold and silver
and bronze but we have three very,
very bold men who have gone
extremely barred extremely early and
they are not closing either on
Alexey Poltoranin or Iivo Niskanen
or Alexander Bolshunov. Fourth and
fifth and sixth and seventh could be
all they get in that quarter.
shows how perfect the timing was
from Iivo Niskanen. The only thing
that has gone wrong, and may not
have been permanently wrong, what
Alexander Bolshunov could stay with
him and has now moved ahead because
of the pit stop. Iivo Niskanen 's
timing and the way he broke apart
the field has proved over the
ensuing almost one hour since he did
it, to have been a perfect decision
in terms of taking out, well, Dario
Cologna is already more than a
minute back in the Norwegian
challenge has completely disappeared
and show no sign of life and Alex
Harvey is wrapped up in that as well
and Alexey Chervotkin has also been
dropped by the chasing pack a long
time ago and only Bolshunov was able
to keep up with this man and a gap
is now down to six seconds and Iivo
Niskanen through a switch of skis is
now reeling back in the Russian and
we really are going to have an
It could be very,
very exciting as they head towards
the business end of the race. All
credit to Iivo Niskanen, not just in
terms of the tactics of changing
skis, but also not folding mentally
after seeing the 21-year-old Russian
close down the huge lead that he had
worked so hard to generate.
Bolshunov is still in front of
course. Niskanen is trying to make
his way back up onto the shoulder of
the new leader and with every push
and every drive he is closing. The
gap is only now for seconds. Alexey
Poltoranin is miles behind, the
Kazakhstan is in third. This is
two-way battle for Olympic glory
here on the stunning tracks of
You can see how the
conditions are deteriorating out on
the course as well, the Herald has
played such a huge part in this
whole Olympics. Every race that Hill
is been used to the advantage. Will
it be Bolshunov or Niskanen that has
enough left to use that hell as they
get closer and closer to it in the
final stages of this race?
the dynamic between the two groups
their shows you for the very first
time that these two are tired. They
will not be caught by the chase
group who are over two minutes
behind but these two are tired,
mentally and physically. They are
almost a spent force but one of them
is going to find something here in
the very closing stages that will be
remembered forever. Alexander
Bolshunov, the 21-year-old from
Russia, has skied a brilliant
tactical race. He has not gone with
the early pace of Enniskillen and he
worked his way back here to the
Flying Finn who now taxes every move
and talk about history, has no Finn
has won this title since 1960. The
weight of history is on Evo Niskanen
shoulders and a nation will be
tuning in life to watch their young
hero from back home. He is quite a
character Antico owns a racehorse
and his sister is an Olympic
medallist and Iivo Niskanen himself
took the gold in the team sprint but
this is different and this gold
would be his and his alone and it
would be an amazing slice of Winter
Olympic history of something that
has not been done by a Finn in
almost 50 years.
that front duo, we have potentially
a bronze medallist in there
somewhere. You will note that we
have no Alexey Poltoranin in that
shot. It looks like it is now a
straight four way battle between
Sundby in for. Alex Harvey, Andrey
Larkov and Hans Christer Holund.
Somewhere in that is your bronze
medallist and here are your gold and
silver medallists. It is just a case
of which way it will be. Wearing
eight, Iivo Niskanen, a man whose
life's work and even the last four
years work has been to get this
Olympic gold. None of the other
Olympic golds, this Olympic gold. In
front of him at 21-year-old in
Alexander Bolshunov who has a whole
career out of him but has exploded
onto the scene at this Olympics with
a series of impressive performances
and he is
and he is already home with three
medals, but none of them are gold.
One of these two will win an Olympic
title for the first time in their
career and we are just about to find
If you have never watched
cross-country skiing before it does
not matter. What is there not to
admire about two young men putting
years and years of their life on the
line for a chance to make history?
Iivo Niskanen has blown this entire
field apart. He has been so gutsy
and Zoe Ball C and determined that
this slice of history is his but he
has not been able to get rid of the
maroon shadow who we can just about
see in these gloomy conditions in
Pyeongchang, Alexander Bolshunov,
three times he has been on the
podium here in Pyeongchang but this
is one that he wants. He has a
chance, the 21 year but it is just
too close to call at the moment and
will it come down to that massive
hill for the finish? These other
four men battling for the bronze,
with Andrey Larkov leading at the
moment and Sundby tucked in behind
These four are coming through.
Sundby will not have his individual
Olympic title. We watch now.
Niskanen pulling away. He has that
team sprint from four years ago. He
wants an Olympic gold for himself on
his own. He's going now.
This is so
gutsy from Iivo Niskanen. But that's
how he skied this entire race. He
went to the front, right at the
start and after seeing his lead
erode, after changing skis, he's
maintained his focus and his
tactical composure. He's gone early
here. He's gone hard.
here. He's gone hard.
Athletes from Russia Alexander
Bolshunov is slipping a bit.
trying to hold on. He got the
individual wro bronze in the sprint.
He's quick. But this man is being
driven on by a nation and by the
weight of history. No Finn has taken
this title in over half a century.
He's broken Bolshunov. Bolshunov
sits up. He knows he has been beaten
in this battle for the gold medal.
You don't often see an athlete
giving way like that. I think it
shows you just how much it had taken
out of Bolshunov to close that gap
in the first place.
We see Niskanen
moving up this hill. We this might
be where Bolshunov would be broken.
Bolshunov behind him now renews the
attack. The gap is there now.
Niskanen accelerated. As Rob says,
so unusual to see an athlete simply
say, I can't match that. That is it.
After 48 kilometers I have not got
what it takes to stay with that man.
Niskanen goes up this hill for a
final time at this Olympic Games.
Take as look behind him. Now the
dissent into the the arena towards a
Niskanen takes that
sharp left hander. Takes it
carefully. Wants to stay on his
feet. Wants to saviour the moment of
a lifetime. He took a gold in the
Team Sprint four years ago. Before
these Games began, he said - this is
the title that every Winter Olympic
cross-country skier wants. This is
the event that's been in the Winter
Olympic programme since 1924. That's
why they've got the flags with his
face on it. This will be massive for
Finnish sport. An absolutely superb
performance from the Flying Finn.
Iivo Niskanen pulling away from
Bolshunov. He had the heart, the
desire and mental strength and self
belief to pull away from a huge
field before halfway. Despite
Bolshunov putting him under pressure
it will be Iivo Niskanen's day. The
crowning moment of a glittering
career so far. He's orchestrating
the crowd over 50 years of history.
Finally, a Finn is back on top in
this most gruelling of vents. Iivo
Niskanen writes his name in the
all-time Winter Olympic greats in
this event. All credit to Alexander
Bolshunov, he is absolutely
shattered. He looks disappointed. He
was the only man in the entire field
who could do anything to put
Niskanen under pressure. There's no
disgrace with yet another silver for
him because it's all gold for
We cut back now to our
race for the bronze medal, led by
Larkov. We will see in just a few
seconds' time how that turns out. We
take another look back at Niskanen.
Niskanen owned this entire race.
Niskanen delivered absolutely
everything that has made this race a
spectacle. He deserves that gold.
It's an incredible victory for him.
Larkov on the sprint. Sundby trying
to match him. Harvey out of it on
the right. Holund too far back.
Between Sundby and Larkov. Sundby on
the inside line. It looks like
Larkov has too much. Larkov will
reach the top of this hill in first
place. Is this going to decide this
battle for bronze between these
four? Will Larkov join Bolshunov on
the podium? It's looking like it
That was an unbelievable piece
of acceleration up that brutal
incline. Even the great Sundby, who
has taken two gold medals here in
Pyeonchang could not respond.
Niskanen takes the glory, Bolshunov
the silver. It looks like we will
have another Olympic Athletes from
Russia on the podium. On this last
day of action for the men, it looks
as though, for the first time, we
don't have a Norwegian on the
podium. They have given it
everything, Sundby and Harvey of
Canada, who has had a fine
glittering career for the Canadians.
Not a met medal for him after years
of trying. Another Olympic Athletes
from Russia, it will be a bronze
medal for Andrey Larkov to go
alongside his Relay Silver. For all
the publicised reasons the Russians
turned to young athletes. That is
the sprint between Harvey and Sunday
sun. That is a sprint for fourth.
Doesn't that show you how much they
give to this sport and how much they
still care. Harvey took it from
Sundby by a whisker. A very tired
Holund comes across the line.
is proud of that bronze. Bolshunov
still coming to terms with silver.
It's gold, a glorious gold for Iivo
It's gold, a glorious gold for Iivo
To a brand new Olympic
event, and it's the mass
start speed skating.
South Korea have two
real medal chances here,
so it's likely to be a brilliant
atmosphere in the Ganeung Oval.
Talking us through this one are
Simon Brotherton and Wilf O'Reilly.
COMMENTATOR: We are getting ready
for the women's mass start final. 16
skaters on the track here going for
Irene Schouten from the Netherlands.
Claudia Pechstein here as well. Nana
Takagi from Japan has a gold medal
in the Team Pursuit. Heather Bergsma
from the United States. The Olympic
final. The women's mass start. The
inaugural mass start final.
inaugural mass start final. The
world number one ranked skater at
the front. Based over three World
Cups at the moment. They have to
remain behind her for this first lap
of 16 laps. There are three sprints.
The winner of each sprint gets five
points, the second place gets three
points and the third place gets one
point. It's all about the skaters
that cross the line first, second
and third. The winner there gets 60
points, second, 40 points. Third, 20
points. The race is really on now.
Is she is going around the outside.
She is getting the racing animated
very early here.
It doesn't look
like anybody is going after her.
This could be very interesting
It's Saskia Alusalu.
Everyone looks at each other and
says, I will not chase. Then none
do. While they hesitate the person
who escaped gains considerable
ground which is exactly what Saskia
Alusalu is doing at the moment. They
are only coming round now. It's
almost a length of the straight.
First time the event has taken part
in the Olympic Games. I'm not sure
everybody knows what is happening.
If they allow her to get almost a
complete lap, I think it will be
very... It will be like in sigh
cycling, the second group would have
to work very hard to get that back
up eventually to close the gap.
There's about 200 meters difference
at the moment.
She is skating really
well here the 23-year-old. Her first
ever event at the Olympic Games.
Tenth in the world championship in
2015. 11th in the recent European
Championship. The first one to get
points on the board here in this
final of the mass sprint with 12
lapse to go. A quarter of the way
through it second over the line was
Li Dan. Third over the line will get
one point. The chase is on. As you
Even though there has been
five points awarded, it won't have
any effect on the final sprint,
there's still there. If we look at
the lap board. There are 11 laps to
go. Some considerable way to skate.
A lot of looking around. That is
among the main pack here. They are
carving out their way at the front,
Saskia Alusalu. The red, blue and
white of the Czech Republic there.
Keri Morrison just momentarily
nudging the Dutch woman who was just
in front of her there. Irene
Schouten the former world champion.
This is Annouk van der Weijden.
Claudia Pechstein from Germany was
second in line there. 46 now in the
autumn of her career. Nine Olympic
medals to her name. This is the
front of the race. Estonia.
Look at that. She is half a
Still half a lap ahead.
She will have ten points. We know
it's quite important she doesn't win
the third sprint she would have 15
points. Still that would only
guarantee her fourth place.
be time trialing her way around the
track here now as Li Dan leads the
chase, still with the leader coming
into the finish here now to scoop up
maximum points, once more. Roughly
half a lap advantage over the rest
of the field. Halfway through the
race, Saskia Alusalu has taken
maximum points. Here comes the
chase. Who will take three points.
It's Li Dan from China. Luiza
Zlotkowska gets a point as well.
Very important Simon that
now the speed of the remaining
chasing group keeps going. If they
now back off again, allow this
skater from Estonia to go through.
She could be in danger of going
She might. I imagine she is
surprised to have gained the
advantage she has and be at the
front this deep into the race here.
All she can do is press on now.
Absolutely. Pechstein on the front
of this group here. Not really
putting any sort of speed into it at
all. They need to be very, very
careful indeed. There are still six
laps to go. It's still a
Just tucked in is
Heather Bergsma, Number Ten from the
USA. Tucked in behind her
have a surprise gold medallists.
Wouldn't it be amazing. They aren't
really going for it. Nobody is
taking responsibility here. Nobody
wants to do the lion's share of the
Most of the countries have two
skaters. The skater from Estonia is
out there alone.
Well, she is
certainly going to take up the
points for the third time in a row
as Maryna Zuyeva from Belarus Russ
has had enough and will lead the
chase. The race is really on, at
last. The Netherlands is right
behind her. The gap, as you can see,
closing down already, but three
quarters of the way through it
another five points. She is up to 15
now, Saskia Alusalu.
They are starting to close in. Of
course it does take a lot of energy
to do that. Now the race is really
Manganello of the USA really
closing down with what is it just
about three laps to go.
As they come
to the three laps to go mark Alusalu
is about to be overtaken here. The
junction will be made. Manganello
leading the chase here. The
American. Here they come. Up towards
Alusalu. Also Schouten is well up
there for the Netherlands as well,
at the front of the race. This is a
powerful turn on the front by
Manganello. Bergsma from the United
States is in this race as well. It's
splitting up now. Manganello, strong
and powerful. Leading the way.
Looking very comfortable in second
place is Schouten from the
Very comfortable. She
has been really going through the
turns with two arms up her back.
She's conserving a lot of energy
there. The ideal position, number
two at the moment.
two at the moment.
I The world
champion is in there for Korea. Kim
Bo-Reum is in a fine position now.
In third place is Irene Schouten.
The 2015 world champion, strides for
home. Nana Takagi is in second
place. On her shoulder is Number
Eleven, Kim Bo-Reum the world
champion from Korea. Italy can't
hold the piece pace of the three in
the front. Into the finishing
straight. The sprint is on. Nana
Takagi from Japan will get it.
Takagi on the line. Takagi take it
is for Japan. Kim Bo-Reum finishes I
think in second place. It's a photo
between Kim Bo-Reum and Irene
Schouten of the Netherlands. Nana
Takagi has her second gold of the
Games. What a spectacular sprint for
the line that was.
the line that was. Takagi from Japan
is the gold medallists. Kim Bo-Reum
from Korea takes the silver. Irene
Schouten from the Netherlands with
The speed that these
girls can finish with, it's amazing.
You saw there, Irene Schouten really
having a long sprint. She started
with about 250, 300 meters to go.
You can see Takagi, as they come
into the final 100 meters, makes a
small slip there.
That cost her,
Yep. Takagi I think was
in the best place there.
More than a
lap to go. She was right behind
Schouten. Confirmation then of the
There we go with the last Olympic
final in the speed skating in the
Ganeung Oval. What a final it pros
promises to be the inall August
rallying mass start. The Olympic
title up for grabs. Will it go to a
sprinter here at the end of this
race. Linus Heidegger will lead them
out and Andrea Giovannini from
Italy, third in line.
None of the
other skaters in this first lap of
the 16 laps are allowed to pass the
Austrian, Heidegger. This helps to
set an order and helps the race to
settle down rather than being a mad
scramble from the gun? That's
correct. Looking at the two
semi-finals to come into the final.
If there is a skater who can go to
the front and stay there all day you
would think it would be Sven Kramer.
If it comes to the wire he doesn't
have the fire power to kick in.
will need to go for a long one,
isn't he, Kramer?
impressed me with Bart Swings coming
from in-line skating, multiple world
champion she was impressive in the
Two Dutchmen there. Kramer on the
Some of the countries have
two skaters. The Netherlands have
Korea have two
skaters. There could be a bit of
team tactics as well.
decides he's had enough of that and
looking at each other. Moved to the
front for the bell for the first
lap. 400 meters to the first points
on the line. Linus Heidegger from
Austria has gone with him.
Austria has gone with him.
five points for these sprints.
Because the third placed skater gets
20 points. Sometimes they allow the
leading group, as we can see, to get
The points in the order of
five, three and one. It quickly
opened up a gap for them. On the
front of the main field it looks to
me as if that is Chung Jaewon.
Kramer third in line.
Kramer third in line. Peter Michael.
The Koreans may be talking about
team helping their team, team
skating. Chung is on the front. He's
not allowing the other three skaters
to skate away.
For Korea you would
think Lee Seung-Hoon would be their
big threat. The leading trio to be
overtaken. Wenger could sense the
dangeror. The danger provided by
Thorup. 13th in the world.
Championship last year, from
Denmark, Viktor Hald Thorup. He has
an eye on this sprint and taking the
sting from some of the legs out
Sven Kramer will like this.
If the pace is quick all the way. It
will be really fatiguing some of the
The sort of race that
Sven Kramer would be hoping for.
Guam gap back to Mikhailau from
Mikhailau, bringing them round. That
looks like Linus Heidegger from
Austria still at the front of the
main pack, in second place. Here we
are at the front of the race.
Thorup from Denmark the instigator
of the attack.
Five points awarded
to him, of course. I think third was
Wenger and Heidegger. Five, three
Interesting now what will
happen. Chung from Korea on that
Chung with Bart Swings
tucked in behind him from Belgium.
Michael there with number two on his
helmet. Then we have Stefan Due
Schmidt second Dane. Kramer is a
long way back.
long way back.
Olivier Jean back.
Coming from short track, good
sprinter. He would be somebody that
we have to keep an eye on.
his powder dry towards the end. The
leading duo cross the line. The
advantage is far from an
insurmountable one. We have half a
dozen lapse to go here. This is the
chase group. There is Kramer. A long
way back in the line. I tell you who
else we haven't seen much, number
16, Joey Mantia of the United
States, the world champion. He's in
the main field keeping his powder
dry at the moment. One lap to go
until the next intermediat sprint.
This race is disappearing rapidly.
Chung has done an awful lot of work
on the front. Really it seems to be
clear the Koreans are setting it up
for Lee of Korea.
Mantia the world
champion tucked in behind Contin of
France. Wenger ahead of Thorup. Five
and three for those two. Third over
the line is Chung Jaewon from Korea.
We are into the last four lapse of
this race now. As you can see, the
race is really on. Chung Jaewon at
the front. Sven Kramer starts to
stretch his legs on the front.
Opening it up. Kramer is taking this
race on. The only way I think he
He needs to throw the gauntlet down
having a look at the lap board. How
many laps to go. Closing the gap
considerably. The Koreans go after A
frightening thought him.
rest of the field. Especially the
He could draw this one out. Has he
got a long sprint and a long
purposeful effort here that just
blunt the speed of the real fast men
here in this race? Kramer now at the
front of the race with two laps to
go. The chase is on. The Dutchman
leads, down the back straight.
Swings moving around the outside.
Lee of Korea tucked in behind him.
Lee has got himself in a good
position here. The Korean. They take
the bell. Kramer overtaken. Swings
goes to the front. Lee Seung-Hoon
from Korea, Verweij for the
They grit their teeth down the back
straight they go. Hitting the front
now is Lee Seung-Hoon for Korea.
He's got his eye on gold. He comes
round the bend for the last time.
The sprint for the line here. It's
going to be a home win. The first
Olympic champion in the mass sprint
is a Korean. It's Lee Seung-Hoon the
2016 world champion. The World Cup
number one is now the Olympic
champion. Lee Seung-Hoon takes the
gold gold. Bart Swings of Belgium
wins the silver. Koen Verweij of the
Netherlands takes the bronze.
that is excitement. This event has
really opened this, the medal tally.
Sven Kramer really set the race up
for Koen Verweij. Early sprint, but
Lee here of Korea has taken the
gold. His team-mate there, you can
see him, it was all set up for this
lad to win the gold medal.
tremendous amount of work his
compatriot did for him there. Good
to see. It's being acknowledged. The
16-year-old, what a work horse.
us look at it. The final lap again.
Kramer had done his bit on the front
to draw the race out. Swings found
himself in a good position at the
front. All the way through you are
looking at the Korean right behind
him thinking, he is exactly where he
wants to be.
You can see him coming
down the last 100 meters there. The
accelerating speed power. What they
learnt really has children, in short
track, you see it there. Really
hugging the tightness of that bend.
Hip completely in. Verweij in third
place, really struggling. As he
comes down to the final ten meters.
As he skates across the line.
close. Swings almost got it on the
line, not quite. Didn't quite have
that finishing burst.
Confirmation of the results. The
final gold medal of the games in
speed skating going to Lee
Seung-Hoon of Korea ahead of Bart
Swings from Belgium with Koen
Verweij of the Netherlands taking
Thanks so much for joining us here
on BBC Four over the last 15 days.
I'll be back tonight
on BBC One at 11.55pm
with live coverage of
the Women's Curling final.
On the penultimate day of competition in South Korea, there's action from the gruelling 50km race in the cross-country skiing, as well as a new event at the Olympics, the mass start speed skating.