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Norway wins gold in women's 4x5K relay at Nordic worlds

LAHTI, Finland -- Norway won the women's 4x5-kilometer cross-country relay Thursday at the Nordic ski world championships.

The Norwegians were tied with Finland at the halfway point, but Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen opened up a lead of 56 seconds on the third leg. Sweden took silver, with Finland third.

If a Norwegian wins gold in Saturday's 30-km freestyle race, it would make the country the first to win all women's cross-country events at a single Nordic world championships since Russia did it 20 years ago. However, there were only five women's events to win then, rather than the current six.

"It is possible, so we can go for a spot in the history books," Norway coach Vidar Lofshus told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

The relay also marked a record 17th career world championship gold for Norwegian veteran Marit Bjoergen, who raced the final leg.

Bjoergen now has three gold medals at this year's championships, along with Norwegian teammate Maiken Caspersen Falla and Nordic combined skier Johannes Rydzek, from Germany.

Meanwhile, Austria's Stefan Kraft completed a golden double in ski jumping -- adding the large hill title to the normal hill honor he won last week.

Kraft is the first man to win both individual events at a world championships since Poland's Adam Malysz in 2003.

He had a slim lead over German rival Andreas Wellinger after the first round, and superior scores from the judges helped him hold on to win by 279.3 points to 278 even though his second jump was slightly shorter than Wellinger's.

Already assured of going to the Pyeongchang Olympics as at least a reigning double world champion, Kraft is still due to compete in the men's team large hill event on Saturday. Kraft also has a silver medal from the mixed team event last Sunday.

Third place on the large hill went to Polish jumper Piotr Zyla, who was only sixth after the first round but produced the biggest jump of the competition at 131 meters to grab the bronze medal.