Charlotte Kalla wins 1st gold medal of PyeongChang 2018
PYEONGCHANG - Charlotte KALLA (SWE) became the first Swedish woman to claim three gold medals at the Olympic Winter Games in any sport when she won the ladies' skiathlon on Saturday 10 February at the Alpensia Cross-Country Skiing Centre. Kalla broke the leading pack of ladies on the final lap of the competition to claim her second career individual Olympic gold medal. In general the race saw a larger than normal leading group for much of the classic portion of the skiathlon only to be whittled down to roughly 10 athletes with one lap to go on the free technique leg. Norway's Marit Bjoergen followed Kalla across the line in the silver medal position +7.8 seconds back for her 11th Olympic medal. The bronze medal went to Finland's Krista Parmakoski +10.1 seconds behind Kalla. This is Parmakoski's first ever individual Olympic medal and it joins her silver medal from the team relay in Sochi 2014.
Kalla's winning move stretched that leading group of 10 to an almost one minute margin from 1st to 10th over the final 3 km of the copmetition. Seven nations were represented in the top 10 and 9 nations in the top 15.
- KALLA equalled Agneta ANDERSSON (SWE) as the Swedish woman with most Olympic gold medals. ANDERSSON won three gold medals in canoe sprint.
- KALLA won her sixth Olympic medal, equalling Alpine skier Anja PARSON (SWE) for most medals among Swedish women at the Olympic Winter Games.
- Only ANDERSSON (7) has won more Olympic medals among Swedish women.
- KALLA equalled the record of winning a gold medal in cross-country skiing at three different editions of the Olympic Winter Games, shared by 10 other athletes (male and female).
- Marit BJOERGEN (NOR) took silver, her 11th Olympic medal, setting a record for women in any sport at the Olympic Winter Games. Among male competitors, only Norwegians Ole Einar BJOERNDALEN (13) and Bjoern DAEHLIE (12) have won more medals.
- BJOERGEN equalled Vera CASLAVSKA (TCH, gymnastics artistic) on a total of 11 Olympic medals. Only Larissa LATYNINA (URS, 18 in gymnastics artistic) Birgit FISCHER (GER, 12 in canoe sprint), Jenny THOMPSON (USA, 12 in swimming), Dara TORRES (USA, 12 in swimming) and Natalie COUGHLIN (USA, 12 in swimming) have won more Olympic medals among women than BJOERGEN.
- With BJOERGEN's medal, Norway equalled Soviet Union on a record 37 Olympic medals in ladies' events in cross-country skiing.
1. Charlotte KALLA (SWE) - gold
On winning the first gold medal of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games:
"(It means) a lot. I was quite nervous today and the Olympics is something I have focused on for a long, long time. It has felt great during the season but I know everyone wants to be in shape at the Olympics. It was really exciting and fun to compete today."
On her tactics:
"I had a wish that if I felt strong I would try to do something on the last lap and not wait too long. It went my way and I tried to focus forward all the time."
On when she realised she had won:
"On the finish line. I did not want to look back before, and just focus to keep pushing all the time. It was so much happiness (crossing the line) but also relief, but most of all pure joy."
2. Marit BJOERGEN (NOR) - silver
On her silver medal:
"I am very happy to take a medal in my last Olympics and still to be there. Charlotte (KALLA, SWE - gold) was stronger than me, but I am happy with silver."
On what she could have done to win:
"I should have been more aware when Charlotte was attacking. It was other girls there as well and not easy to have her back. She was too tough for me so I think that silver was the best for me."
On still winning medals and breaking records:
"I am here to take medals. It is my fifth Olympics and still to be there, I am happy with that. I am happy to be here at my age (37)."
3. Krista PARMAKOSKI (FIN) - bronze
On her tactics:
"My tactic was that only I get (to) this last lap, I don't do any work before that. Maybe I was a little bit surprised that we had a big group after the classic part. It was so windy. When we took the changes to make the skate (part of the race), first we started really fast after the changes."
On the race-winning break by gold medallist Charlotte KALLA (SWE):
"I was a little bit surprised that she took it so early, I thought maybe she took it after the next uphill. She was so strong today."
On silver medallist Marit BJOERGEN (NOR):
"Last year at our home world championships we were fighting with Marit, and now also we're fighting with Marit. She was really strong and I think that she will also come to win a gold medal here."
LADIES - 15 km Skiathlon
1. KALLA Charlotte 1987 SWE 40:44.9
2. BJOERGEN Marit 1980 NOR +7.8
3. PARMAKOSKI Krista 1990 FIN +10.1
4. ANDERSSON Ebba 1997 SWE +10.9
5. DIGGINS Jessica 1991 USA +14.7