Norway's Haga is Olympic champion in 10 km free

PYEONGCHANG - Norway's Raghnild Haga has won the ladies' 10 km free technique competition at the 2018 Olympic Winter games in PyeongChang, South Korea.  She completed the two laps of the 5 km course in a time of 25:00.5.  Good for a 20.3 second of victory over the silver medalist Charlotte Kalla from Sweden.  In the bronze medal position it was a tie between Norway's Marit Bjoergen and Finland's Krista Parmakoski +31.9 seconds back of Haga.  

COMPETITION FACTS 

  • BJOERGEN equalled Bjoern DAEHLIE (NOR) in all-time second place at the Olympic Winter Games with 12 total medals, behind only Ole Einar BJOERNDALEN (NOR, 13).
  • Including the Olympic Games, BJOERGEN has now equalled four other women on 12 medals: canoe sprinter Birgit FISCHER (GER) and swimmers Jenny THOMPSON (USA), Dara TORRES (USA) and Natalie COUGHLIN (USA), behind only gymnast Larissa LATYNINA (URS, 18 medals).
  • Silver medallist Charlotte KALLA (SWE) became the first woman to win an Olympic medal in the 10km event for the third consecutive time. She won gold at Vancouver 2010 and silver at Sochi 2014.
  • KALLA and BJOERGEN, who took bronze in this event in 2010 and silver in the 10km classic at Torino 2006, equalled Raisa SMETANINA (URS) on a record three Olympic medals in the 10km free/classic.
  • KALLA won her seventh Olympic medal, surpassing Gunde SVAN (SWE), Johan OLSSON (SWE) and Anja PARSON (SWE) in outright second place among Swedish athletes at the Winter Games, behind only Sixten JERNBERG (nine).
  • Krista PARMAKOSKI (FIN) also won bronze and became the ninth Olympic medallist from Finland in the 10km free/classic and the first since Calgary 1988, when Marjo MATIKAINEN (FIN) claimed bronze in the 10km classic.
    PARMAKOSKI won her third Olympic medal and her second at PyeongChang 2018, after taking bronze in the skiathlon on Saturday.
  • This was the second event in this sport in which a medal was awarded twice, as a gold medal was given to Thomas ALSGAARD (NOR) and Frode ESTIL (NOR) in the men's 10km pursuit at Salt Lake City 2002.
  • Gold medallist Ragnhild HAGA (NOR) won her first Olympic Winter Games medal and gave Norway its second gold medal in the ladies' 10km event, after Bente SKARI won the 10km classic in 2002.
  • Norway has now won 115 medals in cross-country skiing at the Olympic Winter Games, equalling Austria in alpine skiing for most by one NOC in one winter sport. Netherlands follows with 114 medals in speed skating, which has one event later on Thursday.

ATHLETE QUOTES

1. Ragnhild HAGA (NOR) - gold

On when she knew she had won the gold medal:
"Maybe before the last downhill. I was thinking I can't lose this now. I just need to stay on my feet and make the last downhill and turn. I was very afraid that Charlotte KALLA was going to be fast in the end of the race so I needed to speed up. I am very happy. When she crossed the line I maybe realised that this was going to be my day. When Charlotte crossed the line, they said that there are no more threats. But I still didn't understand it."

On being Olympic champion:
"I think I haven't realised yet that this is the Olympics. I only have one World Cup win before (this). I was thinking maybe this was a small race in Norway or something. I don't (yet) understand that this is the Olympics."

On Norway's strong performance in cross-country skiing at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games:
"It's very fun and it was really fun watching the pursuit race with the men, when they had three on the podium. It was very inspiring. Simen (Hegstad) KRUEGER is also a young Norwegian guy and he managed to take the Olympic gold (in men's skiathlon). I think this is the Olympics of surprise and I am also surprising."

On what Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway, said to her after the race:
"He said it was a perfect race and that I raced very fast at the end. He was impressed. It's very big for me that he's also here and watching the Norwegians."

2. Charlotte KALLA (SWE) - silver

On taking the silver:
"I think I did the best I could. I'm satisfied with my performance and just tried to fight all the way. (It was) very good coaching from the leaders. I got second but it was up to HAGA and BJOERGEN all the time. I did my very best but today HAGA was so strong. I'm so happy to be in shape and it's fun to compete when it feels good. I'm looking forward to the relays coming up on Saturday and hopefully I will take part in the team sprint as well (on Wednesday 21 February)."

3. Marit BJOERGEN (NOR) - bronze

On taking the bronze medal along with Krista PARMAKOSKI (FIN):
"I thought I was out of the podium today but I had a good finish so I'm very happy with that and it's the first time we are four on the podium, so that's exciting, too. I didn't understand (I had won the bronze medal) at the end of the race. I saw the results after eight kilometres and I thought I was out of the podium."

On equalling Bjorn DAEHLIE (NOR) on 12 overall Olympic Winter Games medals and now being one medal away from equalling the Olympic Winter Games record of 13 medals, held by Ole Einar BJOERNDALEN (NOR):
"I don't think about that now. I'm just focused on each race and I think I have to look behind me after the Olympics and see how many medals I have."

On winner Ragnhild HAGA (NOR):
"Ragnhild has been very strong in the skating this winter so I'm not so surprised but to do it in an Olympics is difficult also. She's a young girl also so I'm really, really happy for her. I'm proud."

3. Krista PARMAKOSKI (FIN) - bronze

On coming joint third with Marit BJORGEN (NOR):
"I'm really happy about my race. I think that I was two seconds behind Marit before this last uphill. I just thought that I have to push all and after I came to the finish line I checked my time position and see that we have the same time. It's feeling so great. I'm happy that we both can stand on the podium today."

On whether she would have preferred to beat BJORGEN:
"I think that it's better that both of us can get the third place today."

On her thoughts on finishing:
"Marit is one of my idols when I was a young girl, so it's nice to be fighting together with her, it's a feeling that is so amazing."

On her strategy:
"I think that first I had to go relax skiing in the first loop and after the 5km I have to boost all."

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OFFICIAL RESULTS

LADIES 10 km F 

1. HAGA Ragnhild 1991 NOR 25:00.5
2. KALLA Charlotte 1987 SWE +20.3
3. PARMAKOSKI Krista 1990 FIN +31.9
4. BJOERGEN Marit 1980 NOR +31.9
5. DIGGINS Jessica 1991 USA +35.2

Complete RESULTS