WHISTLER OLYMPIC PARK, BC (Feb. 28) – Norway's Petter Northug won his second gold medal in Sunday's men's 50K mass start classic. James Southam (Anchorage) finished 28th to lead the U.S. in the final ski event at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
The finish marked Southam's best five Olympic races after not finishing the 50K in Torino. He was only 15 seconds back of the leaders at the halfway mark at Whistler Olympic Park.
"It was one of those things where I was just kind of relaxed out of the start and I just picked up spaces where I could (move), and all of a sudden I was top 5 after a while," Southam said.
Southam felt cramping at the 20K mark, falling back off the pace and then losing sight of the leaders at a ski change 10K later.
"It was my best finish at this level ever and it was almost amazing," Southam said. "It was better than the rest of the days and almost a great day."
Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) did not finish Sunday.
"It's been an exhausting two weeks," Freeman said. "I have no real answers for why my first race went so bad or why this race went so bad.
"I was skiing relaxed, but you can just tell when something is off."
2010 WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES
Whistler Olympic Park, BC – Feb. 28
Men's 50K Mass Start Classic
Gold – Petter Northug, Norway, 2:05:35.5
Silver – Axel Teichmann, Germany, +0.3
Bronze – Johan Olsson, Sweden, +1.0
4. Tobias Angerer, Germany, +1.5
5. Devon Kershaw, Canada, +1.6
28. James Southam, Anchorage, +4:32.8
DNF – Kris Freeman, Andover, NH