Posted: Sun March 3, 2013 10:47AM; Updated: Sun March 3, 2013 10:58AM

Johan Olsson wins 50K cross-country ski world championship

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Johan Olsson
Johan Olsson is a four-time Olympic medalist in cross-country skiing.
Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

VAL DI FIEMME, Italy (AP) -- Johan Olsson won the individual 50-kilometer classic on Sunday with a brilliant solo performance on the last day of the Nordic World Championships.

Olsson attacked early and was sole leader for an astonishing 30 kilometers, winning in 2 hours, 10 minutes, 41.4 second for Sweden's first gold medal at the competition after six silver medals.

The 32-year-old Swede beat Switzerland's Dario Cologna by 12.9 seconds, with Alexey Poltoranin finishing third, 16.8 seconds behind Olsson.

Petter Northug, who has won at the past two world championships as well as at the 2010 Olympics, failed to add to his haul of two gold medals and a silver at worlds. The Norwegian finished more than two minutes behind Olsson, in 21st place.

Olsson finished second behind Northug in the 15km freestyle, and lost out to Norway again in the men's relay.

Olsson and Cologna broke free from the group after 11 kilometers and built up a small advantage on the chasing pack. However, Cologna fell on the steep downhill just after the 20K mark and was caught by the rest of the group.

Olsson was forced to go it alone for the rest of the race and he continued at an impressive pace.

He had a 30-second advantage going into the final lap. Compatriot Daniel Richardsson did well to close that gap to 12.9 seconds in just 2K, but was swallowed up by the group with five kilometers to go.

Olsson increased his pace to win Sweden's first world title in the 50K in 20 years.

Cologna won a sprint for second, while Poltoranin of Kazakhstan edged out Alexander Legkov for the bronze medal.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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