Cross-Country Skiing - Musgrave beats best of Norway at their own game

It's more than three decades since a Norwegian television presenter uttered 40 words that few believe will be bettered as passionate and uninhibited sports commentary.

Sportsbeat
Cross-Country Skiing - Scot who beat Norwegians at own game set to take on the world
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CROSS COUNTRY SKIING Britain's Andrew Musgrave

After Norway had beaten Ron Greenwood's sorry England 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier in Oslo, Bjorge Lillelien delivered his stunning soundbite.

His voice crackling with emotion, he screamed: "Lord Nelson! Lord Beaverbrook! Sir Winston Churchill! Sir Anthony Eden! Clement Attlee! Henry Cooper! Lady Diana! Maggie Thatcher - can you hear me, Maggie Thatcher! Your boys took one hell of a beating! Your boys took one hell of a beating!'

Now, 32 years on, British cross country skier Andrew Musgrave finally got a chance to dramatically turn the tables.

Musgrave - fresh from a series of career best results in the recent Tour de Ski - stunned the nordic skiing world by winning the Norwegian national sprint title in Oslo.

And in the process he outclassed two-time world champion Ola Vigen Hattestad and World Cup winners Anders Gløersen and Finnhågen Krogh, who later expressed their belief he could be a surprise package in Sochi.

"Outside the World Cups, this is the race to win," said Musgrave, who studies in Norway and described himself as a 'regular Scottish guy' to a disbelieving home media.

"It's fun for you guys to see that Brits can actually ski."

Musgrave was quickest in the prologue and eased through the quarter and semi-finals before beating the Norwegians at their own game to take victory.

"Arild Monsen (the Norwegian team sprint coach) your guys took a hell of a beating," he joked, with broadcaster NRK leading their website with a story headlined 'This hurts for Norwegians'.

Hattestad admitted he simply couldn't cope with Musgrave's speed, as the Scot accelerated away from his rivals on the final hill before the finish.

"There are not many in the world who had beaten him today," he admitted. "He was just much stronger than us."

Great Britain's cross-country Olympic team leader Roy Young hailed the achievement of Musgrave, who made his Olympic debut in Vancouver, where he narrowly missed the top 50 in three events.

But he claims his breakthrough is no surprise.

"It's an amazing result, a demolition job against world-class opposition," he said.

"This was Norway's selection race for the Olympics, no-one was holding back. If Andrew was Norwegian he'd be in their team for the Games.

"He'd be going to Sochi in the form of his life."

© Sportsbeat 2014

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