Russia’s Alexander Bolshunov claimed victory in the skiathlon at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2021 in Germany as the 24-year-old edged out two rivals from Norway in a scintillating finish.
In a barnstorming end in the men’s 15/15km C/F in Oberstdorf, Bolshunov clocked a time of 1:11:33.9, holding off the challenge of reigning Olympic champion Simen Hegstad Krueger and Hans Christer Holund, who finished 1.1 seconds and 1.7 seconds behind respectively.
It is a first world championship title for Bolshunov, who before Saturday had four world championship silver medals to his name, as well as three silver medals and a bronze at the Olympics.
It was also a first medal for Russian representatives at this year’s FIS Nordic World Ski Championship, although the Russian flag is absent and the team is appearing under the name of the RSF (Russian Ski Federation), due to the two-year World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) ban the country is serving.
Bolshunov’s victory means he puts behind the controversy which has trailed him in recent weeks, after he was disqualified for plowing into a Finnish rival in an apparent fit of anger following a race at the end of January.
The Russian star later apologized and claimed he had merely intended to “talk” to his rival after they had clashed during a sprint finish.
The matter has since been put to rest, with Bolshunov now enjoying his status as a world champion.