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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

For Yegorova, a Medal a Race

LILLEHAMMER, Norway -- It's seven straight Olympic medals and counting for Russia's Lyubov Yegorova.


Yegorova collected a gold in the five-kilometer classical-style cross-country race, two days after winning a silver in the 15K.


Yegorova, 27, an education student from St. Petersburg won three golds and two silvers at the 1992 Winter Games in the French Alps. She has now won gold or silver in every Olympic race she has ever entered.


Manuela Di Centa of Italy won a silver in the 5K to go with the gold she won in beating Yegorova on Sunday. Together, they became the first double medalists in Lillehammer.


Scandinavian fans got a thrill watching Finland's Marja-Liisa Kirvesniemi win bronze and becoming, at 38, the oldest female medalist in an individual Winter Games event. Kirvesniemi, the 1984 triple Olympic champion, is competing in her sixth Olympics, tying the record for the Winter Games held by Swedish bobsledder Carl-Erik Eriksson and Australian speedskater Colin Coates.


Previously, the oldest individual Winter Games medalist was Finnish speedskater Eevi Huttunen, 37 who took the 3,000-meter bronze in 1960 at Squaw Valley. Raisa Smetanina of Russia was nearly 42 when she won a gold medal with a cross-country relay team in 1992.


"It was probably the toughest kilometer I've ever had," Kirvesniemi said of the last part of Tuesday's race. "But I'm pleased with the bronze medal. It means a lot. Nothing beats the three gold medals in Sarajevo, of course, but this comes close.


With three events remaining, Yegorova could tie Smetanina's record of 10 Olympic medals, although she voiced doubts about her chances.


Yegorova insists she is not comfortable here because the Russian team could not afford the high-altitude training customary before major competitions. But she credited hard work for her medal streak.


"Sometimes you've had enough, over your head, you are too tired, you cry, you don't want to train," she said. "But the coaches force you, they push you, and perhaps this extra work at the end proves decisive."


Yegorova, starting 60th out of 62 racers, benefited from a faster track and knew what pace she needed to overtake her top rivals.


She clocked 14 minutes, 08.8 seconds after leading the sprint event most of the way. Di Centa was 19.5 seconds behind and Kirvesniemi trailed by 27.2 seconds.


Yegorova's triumph snapped a three-race winning streak by Finns in the shortest Olympic cross-country event. Kirvesniemi, known in 1984 under her maiden name as Hamalainen, started the streak in Sarajevo 10 years ago; Marjo Matikainen won in the 1988 Calgary Games; and Marjut Lukkarinen prevailed two years ago in the Albertville Olympics.


The race was also the first portion of the pursuit, which will be completed with Thursday's 10K freestyle race.