TURIN, Italy (AFP) - Tiny Estonia leaped into the top five of the Olympics gold medal hunt as Andrus Veerpalu defended his men's 15km cross country crown and alpine skiers awaited clearing to start the women's combined.
Veerpalu's 2002 victory brought the Baltic state near Finland its first
Winter Olympics gold. This triumph followed two biathlon golds from Kristina Smigun and left only US, German and Russian teams with more gold at Turin.
Estonia, a nation of 1.33 million people measuring 45,225 square km (28,102 square miles), sent 46 athletes to Italy but only eight outside biathlon and cross country.
"We're a very small country, so it's a great day for the country," Veerpalu said on Friday.
reede, veebruar 17, 2006
"The Baltic state near Finland"
Congratulations Estonians. You are no longer a "former Soviet Republic," but a "Baltic state near Finland." Lapin Kulta anyone?