Olympics: Norway's Bjoergen becomes most successful Winter Games athlete with 14 medals

Maiken Caspersen Falla (right) and Marit Bjoergen celebrate after winning the bronze medal in the Women's Cross Country Team Sprint Free Final race, on Feb 21, 2018.
Maiken Caspersen Falla (right) and Marit Bjoergen celebrate after winning the bronze medal in the Women's Cross Country Team Sprint Free Final race, on Feb 21, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AFP) - Norway's Marit Bjoergen became the most successful athlete in Winter Olympic history on Wednesday, as she took bronze behind a stunning win for the United States in cross-country skiing's women's team sprint free.

Bjoergen's bronze with Maiken Caspersen Falla put her on 14 Olympic medals, outstripping fellow Norwegian Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, who has 13 in biathlon.

"It's hard to understand, actually," Bjoergen, who has seven golds, four silvers and three bronzes, said.

"I think I'll need to have time to myself and look behind me and look how I've been able to do this. It's still hard to understand it when I'm standing here."

Bjoergen, 37, is also the second most successful woman at either the Summer or Winter Games, trailing only Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina with 18 medals.

Kikkan Randall and Jessica Diggins celebrated ecstatically as they edged out Sweden by 0.19sec to win the first Olympic cross-country title for the United States.

Norway's Martin Johnsrud Sundby and Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo won the men's title by 1.71sec ahead of the Olympic Athletes from Russia, with France finishing third.