KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — The Russian cross-country skiing team lodged an unsuccessful protest against the results of the men’s 30-kilometer skiathlon Sunday at the Olympics, saying Maxim Vylegzhanin was impeded in the sprint for the bronze medal.
Vylegzhanin lost a tight race against Martin Johnsrud Sundby for bronze, with the Norwegian finishing 0.1 seconds in front. However, Sundby cut into the Russian’s lane shortly before the finish line, and the Russian team claimed it had given him an unfair advantage.
The International Ski Federation upheld the results after a brief jury deliberation, but gave Sundby a written reprimand over the maneuver. However, the jury ruled it didn’t affect the results as Sundy was already in front of Vylegzhanin and would have won the sprint anyway, FIS spokesman Michal Lamplot said.
Vyacheslav Vedenin, a spokesman for the Russian cross-country skiing federation, refused to comment on the jury decision, and would not say whether the team would lodge a second protest to FIS’ appeals committee.
Lamplot said no appeal had been received by FIS. If the Russians do appeal, a decision would be made within 72 hours, he said.
Sundby acknowledged that he had broken the rules, but that he didn’t realize what had happened until after he crossed the line.
“I feel bad about the whole episode,” Sundby said. “This was never, ever my intention. I didn’t know where I was. Luckily it didn’t influence the results. … I feel really upset about it.”
Dario Cologna of Switzerland won the race ahead of Marcus Hellner of Sweden. Sundby leads the overall World Cup standings and earned his first individual Olympic medal.
“I don’t remember much about the last 100 meters, I was so tired,” Sundby said. “But when I see the pictures I think the last 10 meters or so was not fair play. I changed lanes when it was like four, five meters to go.”
Vylegzhanin said after the race he wasn’t sure what had happened.
“We were fighting until the end but it came out how it came out,” he said.