Host City: Sochi, Russia
Venue(s): Laura Cross-Country Ski & Biathlon Complex, Krasnaya Polyana
Date Started: February 16, 2014
Date Finished: February 16, 2014
In order to win this prestigious race, Russia’s top skiers had appeared sparingly in the individual events. However they had strong competition from the Scandinavian countries. Sweden’ [Lars Nelson] led marginally over Finland at the end of the first leg with France close behind, while Russia was far behind in eighth place. Sweden’s [Daniel Richardsson] and Finland’s [Iivo Niskanen] came to the second exchange almost simultaneously, while a strong leg by [Lukáš Bauer] brought the Czech team within 17 sec of the leaders.
[Johan Olsson] skied the third leg for Sweden and was the team's top performer, soon pulling away from [Lari Lehtonen], who was also overtaken by [Aleksandr Legkov], making a major effort for the Russian team. His time was 27 seconds faster than Olsson’s and brought Russia to second place only 14 sec behind the leaders.
On the final leg, [Marcus Hellner] was able to ski comfortably to victory for Sweden. [Ivan Perrillat Boiteux] briefly brought the French team level with the Russians, but [Maksim Vylegzhanin] secured second place for Russia 4.6 seconds ahead of the French team – a major upset which brought the country its 100th medal in Olympic Winter Games. As in the ladies’ relay Norway was the favorite, but again failed to medal, placing fourth.
By winning the 4x10 km relay Sweden successfully defended the title with three members of the team – Richardsson, Olsson and Hellner – from their victorious Vancouver squad in 2010. Moreover, Sweden became the first country in 42 years to win both the men's and women's relay events at one Olympic Winter Games.