Not great for Scott

PRAGELATO, Italy -- Three disqualifications for doping and it'll be bronze again for Beckie Scott.

Four, and it's silver again.

Five, and it's gold again.

Four years ago the Vermilion skier finished third in the pursuit and then suggested both girls who finished ahead of her were dirty. She was proved to be right. But this time she doesn't think anything like that will happen again after finishing sixth here yesterday in the same pursuit event.

"Are they clean? I think so. Things are getting better," said Canada's representative on the World Anti-Doping Agency.

"I'm confident it was a clean field today."

Scott had the bronze for a year, was then presented with the silver and finally was given the gold as the IOC dealt with the issue involving the two Russian skiers who had finished ahead of her.

Four years ago, when Scott won the bronze on the day, it was considered to be a shocking, stunning accomplishment.

She was the first North American woman to win an Olympic medal in cross-country skiing. She'd gone from 45th in the event in Nagano 1998 to the podium.

And yesterday she was gutted by finishing sixth in the Olympic field of 64.

Scott managed to keep a brave smile on her face as she worked her way through the rights-holders TV stops in the mixed zone. But when she finally ran that gauntlet, she met her husband Justin Wadsworth, a member of the U.S.A. support staff, who wrapped her in a huge hug. Their heads together, she started to sob.

CHOKED UP

Wadsworth became choked up when he talked to the Canadian media contingent and waited for his wife.

"I think even if she had finished second it would have been hard for her ... for both of us," he said.

"She really worked hard for this. We thought a medal was almost guaranteed.

"She's going to have a tough time with this.

"One of the biggest decisions for her was to come back for four more years. And to come back and take it to another level like she did this year and then not win that medal ... she's going to have a tough time with this."

Scott didn't disagree.

"It was a tough day," she said. "I gave it everything I had, but it wasn't enough.

"I was expecting more. I had high expectations because the preparation was the best I could do. In the end, the pace was too much. I'm a bit sad.

"At one point of the race, I thought I had it. I started off feeling great. I was very excited.

"Through the transition I still thought I had it ..."

PULLED OUT

Then it went away. It went away earlier for favourite Margit Bjorgen of Norway, wearing the No. 1 bib. She pulled out of the race just before the transition sitting in 29th place.

In the end, Kristina Smigun of Estonia ("This medal is why I trained every day like hell.") won the gold, 31.9 seconds ahead of Scott. Sara Renner of Canmore finished a disappointing 16th.

Scott, who led in the early stages of the two discipline 7.5 kilometre event in which the competitors make a pit stop to change skis much like a triathalon athletes transition, said she was thinking gold from the git-go.

"I entered this race mentally and physically prepared to defend the gold, but it just didn't happen. So I'm disappointed for sure.

"The classic section was fine and I was in perfect position but I knew after the second lap of the skate that I didn't have it. I took a feed at the drink station and fell away from the leaders. My legs weren't there and I knew at that point it wasn't my day.

"It's so disappointing because I really was ready to race today. I entered this race ranked No. 2 in the pursuit. I won a World Cup pursuit a couple of weeks ago. I was loose and comfortable and wanted a spot in the medals and it just didn't happen. I had big expectations for a medal."

Asked to talk about that hug with her husband, she declined.

"I don't think I can do that without getting emotional," she said, turning away and becoming emotional.

When sixth place in cross country for Canada isn't a good thing, that's a good thing.