February 23, 2006
Out of nowhere!
Crawford sprints to gold; costs Scott a medal
TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

TURIN -- Beckie Scott was the reason to go to the cross-country skiing yesterday. If there was going to be a story, she was supposed to be it.

The sprints were her last chance to complete her Olympic medal collection. She looked to have an outside chance to win a bronze to go with her gold from Salt Lake 2002 and the silver she shared earlier in Turin with Sara Renner.

But a funny thing happened in the Italian Alps yesterday. A 22-year-old Canmore woman cost her the bronze by winning the gold.

"Beckie Scott meant so much for what she did in 2002," Chandra Crawford said of Scott becoming the first North American woman to put herself on an Olympic podium in cross-country skiing.

"The way she hammered off from the lead and challenged people to come after her was an attitude handed down to me," said Crawford, who won her heat, her semifinal and yesterday's final all with the same move at the same time on the backstretch.

Claudia Kuenzel of Germany won the silver with Alena Sidko of Russia the bronze, with Scott fourth in the four-woman final. Kuenzel won the silver medal at Salt Lake 2002. The defending gold-medal winner from four years ago, Juilija Tchepalova of Russia, and last year's world sprint champion Emelie Oehstig of Sweden did not make it to the semifinals.

World sprint leader Anna Dahlberg didn't make it to the final. Top-ranked skiers Lina Anderson of Sweden and Marit Bjorgen of Norway didn't even qualify for the semifinals.

It was all there for Scott. And a Canadian came out of nowhere to bump her off the podium.

"I'm happy for Chandra," said Scott, who hinted she may not return for the next World Cup season. "She's very young. A gold medal for her is sensational.

"I skied the final the fastest I could. Chandra did very well tactically and physically. I'm happy for our team because we are taking home two cross-country medals. We have very young athletes who are doing well and are the future of our team."

That said ...

"I wanted to be on the podium and I missed it. This has happened a few times in the past. I've been fourth at a world championship. It's a hard place to be. I'll admit it."







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