No surprise here — Norwegian legend Marit Bjoergen is still going strong, and she never seemed troubled on her way to her fourth Olympic gold medal (third individual). Norway took two medals and showed some tears on the podium as they mourn the sudden death of teammate Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen’s brother.
Date: 8- Feb
Sport: Cross-country skiing
Event: Women’s skiathlon (7.5k classical + 7.5k freestyle)
Medalists: Marit Bjoergen (Norway), Charlotte Kalla (Sweden), Heidi Weng (Norway)
SportsMyriad projections: Marit Bjoergen (Norway), Therese Johaug (Norway), Kristin Stoermer Steira (Norway)
How U.S. fared: Not a factor in the classical phase, but Jessie Diggins pulled out something special in the freestyle and led a chase group to take eighth place overall, 1:31.9 seconds back. Liz Stephen was also in that group, taking 12th. Sadie Bjornsen placed 31st, 2:36.1 behind Bjoergen. Holly Brooks was four minutes back in 47th.
What happened: A lead pack of about 12, including all the favorites, pulled away over the second lap (of two) in the classical phase. It dwindled to six heading into the transition, where skiers switched skis and poles. It all went wrong there for Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk, who slipped just before the changeover point and lost a few seconds right away.
The top five, including three Norwegians, were separated by only 2.1 seconds after the transition, and they stuck together through the first lap of freestyle while Kowalczyk chased. But the Polish favorite, better at classical than freestyle, lost ground.
With 1.7 kilometers left, the five leaders were still within 1 second of each other. On the last hill, Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla threw down, surging ahead. Only Norwegian favorite Marit Bjoergen could respond, leaving the other three battling for bronze a little more than 10 seconds back. Bjoergen shot past Kalla down the stretch for her eighth Olympic medal, fourth gold. Heidi Weng made it two medals for Norway, just edging out fellow Norwegian Therese Johaug and Finland’s Aino-Kaisa Saarinen.
Quote: “My fantastic girls … You are my strength in thick and thin. Thanks for the commemorating armbands. Forever grateful, whether there will be medals or not.” – Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen