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Ski Federation Rejects Russian Protest of Narrow Bronze Miss

Russian skier Alexander Legkov during Sunday's skiathlon event. Alexei Filippov

The International Ski Federation has rejected Russia's protest of Sunday's skiathlon result at the Sochi Olympics after the host nation complained its fourth-placed skier was blocked in the final straight, a Norwegian coach said.

Maxim Vylegzhanin narrowly missed out on a medal after finishing last out of four skiers in a dash for the line of the 30km race.

Switzerland’s Dario Cologna won the gold, second place went to Sweden’s Marcus Hellner, 2.7 seconds off Cologna, and the bronze was won by Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway, 0.7 seconds further back. Vylegzhanin was a tenth of a second further adrift and finished fourth.

A Norwegian coach told reporters that the protest was not upheld and that Sundby would keep his medal.

Vylegzhanin was ambiguous about the incident.

"Was I cut up? Everyone who watched the race saw that we fought to the end. What happened, happened," he said.

International regulations forbid any deviation from the optimal racing line.

No. 343.9 of the International Ski Competition Rules states that: "In all competitions obstruction is not allowed. This behavior is defined as deliberately impeding, blocking (by not following best line), charging or pushing any competitor with any part of the body or ski equipment."

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