By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
The Associated Press
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — The Russians won the gold in men’s hockey — without a flag to salute or a national anthem to listen to.
So, they sang it instead to celebrate their 4-3 victory over underdog Germany on Sunday while playing as “Olympic Athletes from Russia.”
“You play for your country, it is more important,” Russian captain Pavel Datsyuk said. “It feels good, but I have accomplished my dream. Now, I have no dream.”
Marit Bjoergen of Norway closed out her career — and the Winter Games — by adding another gold to her record-breaking collection.
The 37-year-old Bjoergen finished the women’s 30-kilometer mass start in 1 hour, 22 minutes, 17.6 seconds — more than 1:49 ahead of silver medalist Krista Parmakoski of Finland for her 15th overall medal. That is the most by any athlete in Winter Olympic history.
“When I look behind me and see what I have done, it’s incredible,” said Bjoergen, who has won eight gold medals. “It has been an amazing career for me. This is my last Olympics and to finish like this is incredible.”
Bjoergen’s latest medal also gave .Norway 14 overall in cross-country skiing in Pyeongchang, breaking the record of 13 held by the Soviet Union in 1988. The Norwegians leave the games with 39 overall medals, also a Winter Games record.
Also on Sunday, Germany won the four-man bobsled competition, and Sweden beat South Korea’s “Garlic Girls” for gold in women’s curling.
In Gangneung, the Russians were favored to win the men’s tournament against Germany, but needed Kirill Kaprizov’s overtime goal to give them their first hockey gold since 1992.
The team was barred from using Russian flags or having its national anthem played because of IOC sanctions for state-sponsored doping. While the Olympic flag rose to the rafters, the players sang Russia’s anthem over the generic Olympic anthem.
The game was tied at 1-1 entering the third period, but Russia’s Nikita Gusev scored on a shot that bounced in off the helmet of Germany goaltender Danny aus den Birken. Just 10 seconds later, Dominik Kahun tied it.
After Germany took a 3-2 lead with 3:16 left, Russia then had to kill a penalty — and knotted it again at 3-3 on Gusev’s second goal.
“It was the craziest game ever,” Ilya Kovalchuk said. “We scored (to make it) 2-1 and we thought, everything is OK now. But then they scored quickly and we got a penalty.
“When we had the penalty with two minutes to go, I honestly thought we won’t be Olympic champions.”
∫ QUEEN OF WINTER: Bjoergen had already surpassed Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjourndalen for the most Winter Games medals ever. She has eight career golds, four silvers and three bronze medals.
“Of course I’m very proud of myself to do what I’ve done,” Bjoergen said. “It’s been an incredible career for me.”
Stina Nilsson of Sweden won bronze. Teresa Stadlober of Austria had been in second place but accidentally took a wrong turn and finished ninth.
∫ CRUSHING GARLIC: In Gangneung, the Swedish women took control of the match by stealing a point in back-to-back ends — the fourth and the fifth — to beat South Korea 8-3.
Sweden’s women’s squad continued its dominance in the sport with five medals — three gold — in the six Olympics since curling joined the Winter Games.
The silver was the first curling medal for South Korea.
“We have been through a lot,” skip Kim Eun-jung said, “so that we could blaze a trail.”
∫ SUPER SLIDING: Francesco Friedrich and his team of Candy Bauer, Martin Grothkopp and Thorsten Margis finished their four runs in 3 minutes, 15.85 seconds to win the four-man bobsledding gold by more than a half-second.
South Korean and German sleds shared second after they both finished in 3:16.38.
Friedrich became the fifth German pilot to sweep the two-man and four-man golds in the same games. Push athlete Kevin Kuske won his sixth medal in five Olympic appearances.
“When we lose, when we win, when someone is ill, we are all together,” Friedrich said. “We have perfect companionship and harmony, and that is the secret. That is what makes us the best team at the moment.”