Sochi Olympics Cross Country Men

Cross-country skiing wins for day’s most dramatic moments

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Cross-country skiers don’t go as fast as their downhill counterparts. They don’t do 50/50 rail grinds like the slopestyle set. And they’d rather be Earth-bound than do flips in the air off a halfpipe.

But they can produce action that’s absolutely thrilling.

Today’s men’s sprint was won by Ola Vigen Hattestad of Norway, but not before a race-altering crash in the final effectively left Hattestad and Teodor Peterson of Sweden alone to settle their battle for gold.

You can see that three-person incident in the highlights clip over at NBCOlympics.com.

One of the competitors who was unable to make the final was Russia’s Anton Gafarov, but he still proved his Olympic spirit – and so did Team Canada ski coach Justin Wadsworth.

MORE: Shaun White finishes off the podium in snowboard halfpipe final

During his semifinal heat, Gafarov crashed in the downhill curve (the same place that would cause mayhem in the final) and broke a ski.

Even so, he picked himself up and kept going – only to fall again as he headed toward the stadium.

Once more, Gafarov got up and continued on before Wadsworth ran to him with a replacement ski. He then replaced Gafarov’s broken ski with the new one, and the Russian went on to the finish.

CLICK HERE to see what will go down as one of the best feel-good moments of these Sochi Olympics.

Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic venue progress video

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The next Olympics, the Pyeongchang Winter Games, are in 530 days.

Organizers of the first Winter Olympics in South Korea published a time-lapse video of venue construction on Thursday.

The video shows updates for the main coastal Olympic Park, including short- and long-track speed skating, figure skating and hockey arenas, the sliding center in the mountains and the Olympic Plaza, which will house the Olympic Stadium for Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

As NBC News reported, one concern is a potential lack of natural snow, which 2010 and 2014 Winter Games organizers had to deal with as well. Man-made snow is always a safety-net option.

MORE: Pyeongchang 2018 mascots unveiled

Italian track meet near earthquake canceled to focus on recovery

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An annual track and field meet in Rieti, Italy, about 40 to 50 miles from the hardest-hit areas from Wednesday’s earthquake and aftershocks that have killed at least 267 people, has been canceled in order to devote resources to recovery.

The meet was due to take place Sept. 11.

The Rieti athletics meeting has been held every year since 1971, highlighted by recent men’s world records in the 100m (Asafa Powell, 2007) and the 800m (David Rudisha, 2010).

Meet director Sandro Giovannelli said €60,000 (or about $68,000) generated from the Rieti meet the last three years would be contributed toward earthquake reconstruction efforts.

MORE: U.S. Olympic sprinter turns to bobsled