Bjerkeli Sets Pace in Men's Cross-Country Sprint

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Bjerkeli Sets Pace in Cross-Country

Midway, Utah Feb. 19,2002 (AP) _ Haavard Bjerkeli of Norway posted the top qualifying time for the men's 1.5-kilometer sprint Tuesday. Cristian Zorzi of Italy and Janusz Krezelok of Poland were second and third.

Americans Carl Swenson (31st), Torin Koos (37th) and Lars Flora (38th) failed to qualify for the elimination heats.

Bjerkeli covered the Soldier Hollow course in 2 minutes, 50.07 seconds _ almost three-tenths of a second faster than Zorzi.

The sprint _ in which athletes ski just under a mile _ started with 71 men. The fastest 16 skiers moved onto four elimination heats.

The top two skiers from each four-person heat were to advance to the semifinals. The top two skiers in each semifinal then were to advance to the four-person final Tuesday afternoon.

Top skiers who failed to qualify include: Sweden's Thobias Fredriksson (18th), Austria's Marc Mayer (21st) and Finland's Ari Palolahti (22nd).

Neumannova Tops Women's Cross-Country Sprint

Midway, Utah Feb. 19, 2002 (AP) --Katerina Neumannova of the Czech Republic posted the top qualifying time in the women's 1.5-kilometer sprint Tuesday.

Julija Tchepalova of Russia and Evi Sachenbacher of Germany were second and third.

Beckie Scott of Canada qualified fifth, continuing her surprising run at the Olympics. Americans Tessa Benoit (38th), Kikkan Randall (44th) and Kristina Joder (48th) failed to qualify for the elimination heats.

Neumannova, the World Cup points leader, covered the Soldier Hollow course in 3 minutes, 12.76 seconds _ almost three-tenths of a second faster than Tchepalova.

The sprint started with 58 women. The fastest 16 skiers moved onto four elimination heats.

The top two skiers from each four-person heat were to advance to the semifinals. The top two skiers in each semifinal then were to advance to the four-person final Tuesday afternoon.

Top skiers who failed to qualify include: Finland's Kati Sundqvist (18th), Russia's Nina Gavriljuk (20th), Norway's Vibeke Skofterud (21st), Italy's Magda Genuin (22nd), Estonia's Kristina Smigun (25th) and Italy's Karin Moroder (26th).

Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press