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.

Katie Ledecky helps Bryce Harper celebrate NL East title (video)

Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper, right, and Mark Melancon, left, celebrate after clinching the National League East following a 6-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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The Washington Nationals won the National League East title last night for the third time in five years.

Reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper donned a Katie Ledecky swim cap during the beer-soaked celebration to protect his hair, which he reportedly spends 30 minutes grooming before games.

Ledecky, a native of Bethesda, Maryland, is a longtime fan of the Nationals. Earlier this year, she had Harper hold her five Olympic medals from Rio while she threw the first pitch at a Nationals game.

Ledecky, who is currently taking classes at Stanford, Tweeted her approval of Harper’s headgear:

MORE: Katie Ledecky declines waffle maker on ‘Ellen’ to stay NCAA eligible

Kenenisa Bekele misses marathon world record by six seconds (video)

Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele crosses the finish to win the 43th Berlin Marathon in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
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BERLIN (AP) — Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia pulled away from Wilson Kipsang of Kenya late in the race to win the Berlin Marathon just outside the world record time on Sunday.

Bekele’s winning time of two hours, 3 minutes and 3 seconds was six seconds outside Dennis Kimetto‘s world record, also set in Berlin in 2014 and is the second best time.

“I wanted to set a personal best and it’s a fantastic time, but it’s a little disappointing to miss the world record by so little,” Bekele said after the race.

Bekele and Kipsang opened a considerable lead over the rest of the field and ran shoulder-to-shoulder until Bekele pulled away with about two kilometers to go.

Kipsang finished 10 seconds behind Bekele in 2:03:13, faster than the 2:03:23 he clocked in winning the race in 2013, in what was then a world record.

Evans Chebet of Kenya was third in 2:05:31.

Bekele is considered one of the greatest distance runners of all time. He won three Olympic titles and five world championship golds and is the world record holder over 5,000 and 10,000 meters.

But he had been slow getting into the marathon, with his previous best of 2:05.04 set in his debut in winning the Paris race in 2014. He was third in London in April, after battling an Achilles’ tendon injury.

Bekele broke the Ethiopian record for the marathon, previously held by the great Haile Gebrselassie, who won the Berlin Marathon and set a world record of 2:03.59 in 2008.

Aberu Kebede led an Ethiopian sweep in the women’s race in 2:20:45. Birhane Dibaba was second in 2:23:58 and Ruti Aga third in 2:24:41.

MORE: Usain Bolt says he received offers to play wide receiver in the NFL (video)