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Three sets of medals up for grabs on closing day of Sochi Winter Olympics

February 23, 2014, 6:45 UTC+3 SOCHI
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SOCHI, February 23, (ITAR-TASS) - Three sets of medals are up for grabs on Sunday at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Russia’s Sochi. Alexander Zubkov’s four-man bobsleigh crew leads after the first two heats, while Russian cross country skiers hope for medals in men’s 50 km mass start. The final Olympics ice hockey match will see Canada and Sweden clashing for the gold.

The main event on the last day of the Winter Games in Sochi will be the closing ceremony at the Fisht Olympic Stadium beginning at 8:00 p.m. local time. Athletes, however, will compete for three remaining sets of medals before the ceremony. The three competitions to conclude the 16-day Olympic marathon are the men’s 50 km cross country skiing, bobsleigh four-man and the final ice hockey match, which see the gold going either to Canada or Sweden.

Men’s 50 km Mass Start Free starts at 11:00 a.m. local time. This year the race is in free style, while skiers ran in classical at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Canada’s Vancouver, where Norway’s Petter Northug won the gold medal. However, in Sochi the two-time Olympic champion has not yet won any medals and finished in the fourth place both in relay and team sprint. Sunday’s distance of 50 km, which brought him the titles of world champion in 2009 and 2011, is the last chance for Northug to take home a Sochi medal.

Russian contenders for the medals in the race are Alexander Legkov, Maxim Vylegzhanin and Ilya Chernousov, who all start in the first ten. Their teammate Konstantin Glavatskikh has the starting number of 23.

Bobsleigh four-man competition will start with the third heat at 1:30 p.m. local time. After the two heats on Saturday the best result was shown by Russian crew led by Alexander Zubkov. However, the Latvian crew captained by Oskars Melbardis took the second place after the Russians with only 0.04 seconds behind. Zubkov’s crew showed an outstanding result in the first heat, but only the fourth result in the second heat.

Two more Russian bobsleigh crews led by Alexander Kasyanov and Nikita Zakharov are in the 6th and 15th places respectively after the two heats.

Finally, the last sports competition of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi will begin at 4:00 p.m., when the Canadian ice hockey team will play against Sweden. The last time the Olympic hockey final saw the teams from different continents competing for the gold was 20 years ago in Lillehammer, where Sweden defeated Canada in shootouts to take its first Olympic gold. The second Olympic gold Sweden won at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Italy’s Turin.

The Canadian ice hockey team won a total of eight Olympic medals. The same number of medals was won by Russian hockey players playing for the Soviet Union and then for the Unified Team in 1992.

The 1994 final Olympic game between the Swedish and Canadian teams took place in the times, when NHL players did not participate in the Winter Games. Both teams played each other at the Olympic Games two more times following their 1994 final clash. In 1998 the Canadians defeated Swedes 3-2 in a group stage match, but both teams later failed to take the gold. The Swedish team defeated the Canadians four years later in a group stage at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The Swedes later were defeated by the Belarusian team in the quarterfinals and the 2002 Olympics gold was eventually won by Canada.

Last year at the 2013 Ice Hockey World Cup, the Swedish hockey squad defeated the Canadians in a quarterfinal match and then marched to victory to win the world champion’s title.

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