Russia Sweeps Podium in Cross-Country Skiing

Published: March 9, 2014 (Issue # 1800)

Roman Petushkov became the first athlete to win two gold medals at the Sochi Paralympics on Sunday as Russia swept the podium in the men’s 15km cross-country sit-skiing.

Petushkov adds his cross-country skiing gold to his victory in the 7.5km biathlon Saturday, taking medal count leader Russia to five golds. The 35-year-old double amputee also has a silver and bronze to his name from Vancouver 2010.

“I was trying to spread out my efforts carefully because the race is very long and it is important to cover it correctly from a psychological point of view,” Petushkov told R-Sport. “It is the merit of the coaches that I reached such a great shape. It just can’t be the other way – we should win at our homeland and my win is a merit of the whole team.”

Petushkov, from Moscow, dominated throughout Sunday’s race, winning by a full minute and 3 seconds from compatriot Irek Zaripov. Another Russian, Alexander Davidovich, took the bronze, 14 seconds off Zaripov’s time and just 0.2 seconds ahead of fast-finishing Ukrainian Maxim Yarovyi. It is the first podium sweep by any country at the Sochi Paralympics.

“I have been heading towards this medal for nine years,” said Davidovich who represented Belarus at the previous two Winter Paralympics. “And today this bronze medal is like a gold one for me. I’m so happy. Today is only the second day of competition and we are on the right path. Russia will show what is is capable of.”

The race used so-called “calculated time,” in which each athlete’s time is modified by a percentage reflecting the extent of their disability.

The women’s 12km sitting event follows later Sunday.

Over nine days of competition in Sochi, a total of 72 gold medals will be awarded in five sports.

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