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Norway’s Skari earns a 2nd gold

SHARE Norway’s Skari earns a 2nd gold

LAHTI, Finland — Norway's Bente Skari won her second gold medal at the World Nordic Ski Championships on Tuesday, beating two Russians in the women's 10-kilometer classic race.

Skari was timed in 26 minutes, 55.5 seconds. Olga Danilova finished second, 12.9 seconds behind, and Larissa Lazutina was third, 31.5 seconds back.

"This was the race that was most important for me to win," Skari said. "It's my favorite distance. My classic has been very good this year."

The women's 10K classic had not been held since the 1991 World Championships.

Skari won her first medal last Thursday in the women's opening event, the 15K classic. She joined Swedish skier Per Elofsson as the only two-time champions in the meet so far.

She also was fastest in Sunday's 5K classic, a non-medal event that was the first part of the pursuit.

"I'm a little bit tired now, but it's the same for the other skiers. I think we're all tired now," she said.

Skari will ski in two more races — the sprint event on Wednesday and the 4 x 5K mixed-style — classic and free — relay on Friday.

"I will not ski the 30K free," she said.

The Nordic Combined team competition was scheduled later Tuesday.

Skari trailed Danilova by 3.4 seconds at the 1.9K checkpoint. At the 5.7K mark she led the Russian by 3.4 seconds. By the 8.5K point Skari's lead had grown to 8.2 seconds.

Danilova also won silver in the 15K, finishing 7.7 seconds behind Skari. In the pursuit, Danilova was a bronze medalist, just 3.2 seconds behind winner Virpi Kuitunen of Finland.

"I really wanted to win a gold medal here, so I'm not happy now," Danilova said.

For Lazutina, it was the 20th medal in world and Olympic competition (individual and relays), just four off fellow Russian Yelena Valbe's all-time record.

"I didn't think of that when I skied today," Lazutina said. "I thought only about this race and how I would do.

"The race was difficult for me." she said. "The weather (snowy) was bad. But I'm happy with my medal."

Lazutina's first medal here — a silver — came in the pursuit.

Veteran Nina Kemppel was the top American, 23rd and 2:10.6 behind.