CANMORE, ALBERTA, FEB. 15 -- Alexei Prokourorov and Vladimir Smirnov finished one-two today in the men's 30-kilometer cross country skiing in the Winter Olympics.
It was the fifth consecutive Olympic 30K title for the Soviets and third straight time that their skiers won the top two places.
This strong showing came 24 hours after Vida Ventsene and Raisa Smetanina provided a Soviet double in the women's 10K. Both races were contested in the classic stride, underlining the Soviets' comeback in the older of the two cross country skiing styles.
Prokourorov steadily increased his pace during the race. He took the lead on the last 10K loop after lying third at the 10K mark and second at the 20K. His time was 1 hour 24 minutes 26.3 seconds.
"I liked the course very much," he said. "I was well prepared and had good skis. But I still considered Smirnov the favorite."
Smirnov, who led the first two loops, was 8.8 seconds behind. "It was a very hard race," he said.
It was the first individual medal in Olympic or World Championship competition for the two Soviets. Both are 23 and based in the high altitude of Alma Ata in Kazakhstan.