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Sunday, February 22, 1998 Published at 03:46 GMT

Sport: Winter Olympics 98: Cross Country Skiing

Daehlie wins eighth winter gold
image: [ Bjorn Daehlie collapses after winning his third medal of the games ]
Bjorn Daehlie collapses after winning his third medal of the games

Bjorn Daehlie of Norway won a staggering eighth Winter Games gold in the men's 50km cross country to reinforce his place in Olympic history.

Daehlie hit the front late on and completed the Games' toughest race in two hours, five minutes and 08.2 seconds - then collapsed exhausted in the snow just beyond the line.

He had to be helped away from the track by race officials.

Second was Niklas Jonsson of Sweden, 8.1seconds behind.

[ image: Daehlie tackles the 50km course]
Daehlie tackles the 50km course
Christian Hoffmann of Austria won the bronze, finishing nearly a minute behind the Norwegian.

Daehlie had already become the greatest Winter Olympian of all time after making history last Wednesday with an unparalleled seventh gold in the 4x10km relay.

In all, he has won 12 medals - also a record - having scored a golden triple in Nagano in the 10km classical, the 4x10km relay and the 50km.

He also has four silvers - including one in the 15km pursuit - where compatriot Thomas Aalsgaard, sixth on Sunday, edged him out.

In Daehlie's first race in Nagano, the 30km, it was using the wrong ski-wax which dragged the 30-year-old down to 20th.

The Norwegian won three golds in Albertville in 1992 and two more in Lillehammer four years ago.

But his latest triumph was the most gruelling of all as he sought to erase the memory of losing to Vladimir Smirnov in an epic race on home ground at Lillehammer.


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