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.
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.