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TORINO: XC: Neumannova wins mass start; American Konrad 32nd


TORINO: XC: Neumannova wins mass start; American Konrad 32nd{mosimage}Sarah Konrad was the top American finisher in the women’s 30-kilometer free mass-start cross-country event Friday at the Pragelato Plan venue.

She finished 32nd with a time of 1 hour, 28 minutes, 39.2 seconds, 6:13.8 behind the leader. The gold medalist, Katerina Neumannova of the Czech Republic, covered the course in 1:22.25.4. Julia Tchepalova of the Russian Federation took the silver medal with a time of 1:22:26.8, 1.4 seconds behind Neumannova, while Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland won the bronze medal with a time of 1:22:27.5.

Other U.S. athletes who competed, with their results and placements: Rebecca Dussault, 1:31:43.3, 43rd; and Abigail Larson, 1:32:51.9, 47th. Lindsey Weier did not finish.

Konrad is the first woman in U.S. history to compete in two different sports at the Winter Olympics. Prior to joining the ski team and racing in the relay (U.S. finished 14th), Konrad also competed in biathlon.

“I’m definitely not happy with the result,” said Konrad. “I would have liked to get further, but I just didn’t have it in my legs to move that fast in the beginning, and once the gaps were there I wasn’t able to do anything with it. I tried to be smart and stay where I was and finish strong. I’m satisfied with it but I would have liked to have done better.”

Dussault suffered from a sinus problem that became severe in October, preventing her from training for much of the winter. She finished 48th in the Olympic pursuit on Feb. 12.

“It was a great race,” said Dussault. “I haven’t skied 30K in over two years. With the fitness that I have this year, which isn’t optimal, I made the best of it. I finally have felt good here at the Olympics, but I’m just not that fit. I’ve done like eight sets of intervals all winter. You’re usually doing eight in a month, not eight in five months or whatever. It’s a good end. I was healthy enough and I did enough things right that I was here, and then I raced to the best of my ability.”

Larson has now competed in three events at her first Olympics. She was 56th in the pursuit and 57th in the 10 km classical.

“It was fun; it was what it was,” said Larson. “I skied my own race. I was hoping to feel a little bit better and a little bit stronger. It was kind of unfortunate but I didn’t really have much of a pack to ski with after the first lap, so the second and third laps I pretty much skied by myself. It was a couple of people off and on … pass a few people, get passed by a few people.”

The men ski the 50 km freestyle mass start Sunday. Scheduled to race for the U.S. is Kris Freeman, Andrew Johnson, James Southam and Carl Swenson. It is the final ski event of the Torino Olympics.

- USOC

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