100th Championship gold medal for Norway with relay win

(Lahti, Finland) - Norway has won it's 100th gold medal at a Championship (includes Olympics).  This gold came in the ladies' 4 x 5 km relay at the 2017 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti, Finland.  The 2017 Sprint World Champion Maiken Caspersen Falla was given the 1st leg spot for Norway and not only held her own but skied away to give her team a slight lead at the first exchange.  At the first exchange it was down to a four-team lead pack with Norway, Sweden, Finland and Poland. Poland had Justyna Kowalczyk as their lead off skier.  Kikkan Randall of the USA was the 5th team into the exchange just behind the leading group.

On the second leg Norway's lead was gone quickly after fast starts from Sweden's Charlotte Kalla and Finland's Kerttu Niskanen.  The quick start for Kalla proved to be a bit to much as Niskanen went to the front and pushed the pace over the final few kilometers and at the second exchange it was just Norway and Finland together. 

Impressive skiing from both Norway's Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen and Sweden's youngster Ebba Andersson changed the dynamics of the competition with Norway out front alone and Sweden and Finland battling for the silver medal position. Despite the team lead Norway's anchor skier Marit Bjoergen still recorded the fastest time on the final leg and brought Norway home for the gold medal.

The race for silver came down to the final 300 meters with Stina Nilsson of Sweden overtaking Finland's Krista Parmakoski coming off the final downhill to secure the silver medal by 0.5 seconds ahead of Finland who settled for the bronze.  The US team skied to a solid 4th place finish +1:33.8 back of Norway and just over 30 seconds off the podium.  Russia took the 5th place position almost a minute behind the USA.  

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ATHLETE QUOTES

Astrid Jacobsen (NOR)
The biggest pressure was the one we put on ourselves. It is so hard to qualify for the relay team. We ski for our people and our country. We all desired to perform well.

Anna Haag (SWE)
Relay is special. We did this together, as a team. I think the relay is the funniest competition to take part because you compete not only for yourself but for the team and the country.

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OFFICIAL RESULTS

LADIES - 4x5 km relay 

1. NORWAY 52:21.5
FALLA Maiken Caspersen 1990 11:35.0
WENG Heidi 1991 12:01.4
JACOBSEN Astrid Uhrenholdt 1987 14:07.2
BJOERGEN Marit 1980 14:37.9

2. SWEDEN SWE +1:01.6
HAAG Anna 1986 11:43.1
KALLA Charlotte 1987 12:05.6
ANDERSSON Ebba 1997 14:51.6
NILSSON Stina 1993 14:42.8

3. FINLAND +1:02.1
SAARINEN Aino-Kaisa 1979 11:42.1
NISKANEN Kerttu 1988 11:53.9
MONONEN Laura 1984 15:05.9
PARMAKOSKI Krista 1990 14:41.7

4. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA +1:33.8
RANDALL Kikkan 1982 11:59.5
BJORNSEN Sadie 1989 12:12.7
STEPHEN Elizabeth 1987 14:51.2
DIGGINS Jessica 1991 14:51.9

5. RUSSIAN FEDERATION +2:28.6
KALSINA Polina 1989 13:02.4
BELORUKOVA Yulia 1995 12:15.4
TCHEKALEVA Yulia 1984 14:31.1
SEDOVA Anastasia 1995 15:01.2

Full RESULTS