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Page last updated at 21:55 GMT, Saturday, 27 February 2010

Poland's Kowalczyk wins 30km gold

Justyna Kowalczyk

Kowalczyk wins dramatic cross country

Justyna Kowalczyk won Poland's first gold medal in Vancouver after out-sprinting Marit Bjoergen in a dramatic end to the women's cross country 30km.

Norwegian Bjoergen, bidding for a fourth gold at the Games, held a 1.9-second lead with five kilometres to go.

But world champion Kowalczyk pipped her in a race for the line after the skiers entered the stadium for the final time.

Bjoergen finished 0.3 seconds behind Kowalczyk, while Finland's Aino-Kaisa Saarinen took the bronze medal.

Bjoergen was looking to become the first woman to win four golds at the same Winter Olympics since speed skater Lidiya Skoblikova did it for the Soviet Union in 1964.

But Kowalczyk was too strong in the closing stages, moments which she said went by in a blur.

"It feels good to be number one," said Kowalczyk.

"I don't even remember the last 200m. But this is the Olympics, you must fight."

Bjoergen won the individual sprint, 15km pursuit, anchored Norway's winning relay team in Vancouver and had looked headed for a win on Saturday.

"She was just stronger than me today," Bjoergen said of Kowalczyk.

"But I get to take five medals with me home. I never would have thought that, and I'm incredibly satisfied."

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see also
Winter Olympics day 16 photos
27 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010
Live Winter Olympics - Day 16
27 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010
Bjoergen wins third Vancouver gold
25 Feb 10 |  Cross country skiing
Sprint finishes decide cross-country medals
23 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010
Winter Olympics weather
26 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010

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