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Cross-country at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games

Cross-country at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games Photo: Nathan Bilow/USA TODAY Sports.

December 14, 2016 10:26 PM

Cross-country at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games will be contested from Feb. 10-25, with medals awarded in twelve different events.

Sochi in review

Norway's Marit Bjoergen duplicated her triple-gold performance from Vancouver in Sochi, and in the process, set the record for most gold medals (6) and tied the record for most medals won (10 overall) by a woman at a winter Olympic Games. Bjorgen opened with a top-of-the-podium finish in the 15km Skiathlon, but uncharacteristic off-podium finishes in the 4x5km relay (5th) for Bjorgen and her Norwegian cross-country teammates, along with the men's finish in the 4x10km relay (4th), had many wondering if Norway was heading for another Olympic letdown similar to Torino (0 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze). This would not be the case. Bjorgen would go on to collect two more gold medals and Norway would equal its Olympic record-setting performance of eleven cross-country medals (5 gold, 2 silver, 4 bronze) from 2002.

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Sweden would also leave Sochi with eleven Olympic medals, sweeping both the coveted men's and women's relay events. Charlotte Kalla skied anchor for Sweden in a thrilling end to the women's 4x5km relay. Despite beginning her leg 25 seconds behind the leader, Kalla fought her way back and burst ahead of both Finland and German skiers to cross the finish line first before collapsing to the snow as her teammates piled on top of her in celebration.

In another feat of perseverance, Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk won gold in the women's 10km classic, skiing the race after fracturing her left foot just two weeks ahead of the Olympic Games. It was her second Olympic gold medal, and fifth medal overall.

Switzerland's "Super Dario" Cologna was the big winner in the men's races, leaving Sochi with two gold medals, winning his second-straight Olympic gold in the 15km classical, and his first gold in the skiathlon. Racers ski 30km in all in skiathlon, which begins with a mass start as skiers use the classical style for the first 15km, and on the final 15km, the faster freestyle. It was Sweden's Marcus Hellner holding a slight lead on the final lap, with Cologna nipping at the back of the Swede's skis. In the final climb Cologna pulled ahead. Hellner, along with Norway's Martin Johnsrud Sundby, would battle for the top spot down the stretch, but Cologna held on for gold with Hellner taking silver and Sundby the bronze.

Competition format

Cross-country skiers will compete across the following twelve events, with gold, silver and bronze medals awarded to the top three finishersrespectively, in each event:

  • Men's 30km Skiathlon
  • Men's individual sprint
  • Men's team sprint
  • Men's 15km individual
  • Men's 50km mass start
  • Men's 4x10km relay
  • Women's 15km Skiathlon
  • Women's individual sprint
  • Women's team sprint
  • Women's 10km individual
  • Women's 30km mass start
  • Women's 4x5km relay

Venue

Cross-country events will be held at the Alpensia Cross-Country Centre during the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games located in the PyeongChang Mountain Cluster. The ski resort area of Alpensia will also feature the rest of the Nordic Olympic sports including biathlon, ski jumping and Nordic combined. The sliding events of bobsled, luge and skeleton will also be found in Alpensia. 

Athletes to watch

Men
 Iivo Niskanen, Finland
 Paal Golberg, Norway
 Martin Johnsrud Sundby, Norway
 Sergey Ustiugov, Russia
 Calle Halfvarsson, Sweden
 Dario Cologna, Switzerland

Women
 Krista Parmakoski, Finland
 Marit Bjoergen, Norway
 Stina Nilsson, Sweden
 Sadie Bjornsen, United States
 Jessie Diggins, United States
 Kikkan Randall, United States
 Liz Stephen, United States

Original Source

Credits

NBC Olympics

(Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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