ROC's cross-country skier Bolshunov claims men's mass start free gold at Beijing 2022

CHONGLI, Zhangjiakou, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- Alexander Bolshunov of Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) clinched the cross-country skiing men's mass start free gold at the Beijing Olympic Winter Games here on Saturday.

Gold medallist Russia's Alexander Bolshunov celebrates on the podium during the venue ceremony after winning the men's 50km mass start free event, which was shortened to 30km due to high winds, on February 19, 2022 at the Zhangjiakou National Cross-Country Skiing Centre, during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. (Photo: AFP)

Due to strong winds on the course, the the original 50km was shortened to 30km in men's mass start free competition as FIS officials made the decision before the start to protect the athletes' safety and reduce the time of their exposure to extreme conditions.

Bolshunov won the event in one hour, 11 minutes and 32.7 seconds, grabbing his third gold medal at Beijing 2022 cross-country skiing, after his victory in men's 15km + 15km skiathlon and men's 4 x 10km relay. He also took a silver in men's 15km classic and a bronze in men's team sprint classic at the National Cross-Country Skiing Center.

Bolshunov's teammate Ivan Yakimushkin finished in 1:11:38.2 to win the silver, 1.5 seconds ahead the bronze medalist Simen Hegstad Krueger of Norway.