Norway's Northug wins final race

WHISTLER, British Columbia - Norway's Petter Northug won his fourth medal of the Olympics, using his trademark sprint to overtake Germany's Axel Teichmann on the final straightaway yesterday and capture the 50-kilometer classical cross-country race.

Northug blew a kiss toward the sky after crossing the finish line for his second gold medal in Vancouver. He had anchored Norway to victory in the team sprint - also pushing past Teichmann near the end - and won a bronze medal in the individual sprint and silver in the relay.

After struggling in the previous individual distance races in Vancouver, everything came together for Northug in the sport's premier event.

"To be the Olympic champion in the 50K is the biggest boyhood dream of my life," Northug said. "I didn't think I was among the favorites. I've been tired, and there has been something missing in these championships."

Northug entered the stadium for the final loop with Teichmann ahead of him, but went up side by side with the German after the final curve and steadily moved ahead.

"I knew I could take him," Northug said. "But I didn't know who was behind me."

Northug finished yesterday's race in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 35.5 seconds, with Teichmann 0.3 seconds back for the silver medal. Johan Olsson of Sweden took bronze, a second back.