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Johaug Snags Gold: Wins the 10km Classic by 0.4 Seconds

Therese Johaug snagged the gold in the 10km classic at the Beijing Olympics, but nothing was determined before the finish line. Results 10km classic.

Photo: Jon Olav Nesvold / BILDBYRÅN

Therese Johaug of Norway had to live with the suspense after finishing the 10km individual start classic race at the Beijing Olympics in Zhangjiakou.

Updates in progress

Therese Johaug is the undisputed favorite to win whatever event she enters in and out of the Olympics. And after her crushing victory in the 15-kilometer skiathlon on Saturday, the 33-year-old had only strengthened her odds. 

However, the 10-kilometer was expected to be a battle between Norway’s Therese Johaug and Sweden’s Frida Karlsson. The race instead turned into a nail-biting thriller between Johaug and Finnish veteran Kerttu Niskanen. 

Coming through the stadium, Niskanen had a lead on Johaug. At the 6.8-kilomter mark, the Finn was ahead by 11.1 seconds. At 8.4 kilometers, her lead was reduced to 1.3 seconds. And at the finish line, only 0.4 seconds separated the winner from the silver medalist. In favor Johaug. 

“I am still in shock. You have to say this was a dead even race. But I had those determining fractions of a second on my side. It was really, really, really fun to earn this gold medal. I am super content, but it was certainly a thriller,” Johaug says after her race. 

Thriller to the bitter end
Johaug says she knew it would be a tight race, but was careful to stick to her plan. 

“I was told I was behind, then even, then slightly ahead and then behind again. I was a little unsure about how to pace myself for the second lap, and I probably gave up a few too many seconds from the stadium to the 6.8-kilometer mark. But I felt that I had quite a bit left in the tank,” says Johaug, explaining that it was a tricky race to pace for. 

“I knew I had to be careful up the last long hill. If you burn too much there, you pay for it on the last four kilometers, so I wanted to have some energy left for the finish. I probably gave up too many seconds, but I felt good at the finish, and ended up winning,” she says. 

Behind Johaug and Niskanen, there was an even tighter battle over the last medal. Krista Pärmäkoski won by by 0.1 seconds to Natalia Nepryaeva of Russia, securing the bronze medal and making it double Finnish on the podium. 

The medals in the 10-kilometer classic event were the second in just five days for both Johaug and Niskanen: On Saturday, Johaug won the skiathlon by a landslide, while Niskanen took home the bronze medal.  

Bleak day for Sweden
While Johaug appeared untouched by the brutal 15-kilometer skiathlon on Sunday, Karlsson practically collapsed at the finish line after her fifth place. In the 10-kilometer classic, Karlsson was 12th, one minute and 21 seconds behind Johaug. 

Top 3, 10km classic interval start, women
1. Therese Johaug, Norway, 28:06.3
2. Kerttu Niskanen, Finland, +0.4
3. Krista Pärmäkoski, Finland, +31.5

Complete results

Tomorrow, the men race their 15-kilometer individual start classic event at the 2022 Olympics in Beijing. The race starts at 8am. For the women, the 4×5-kilometer relay on Saturday is the next event. The relay starts at 8:30am. 

FACTS: 2022 OLYMPICS 
What:
 XXIV Olympic Winter Games (24th edition)
Beijing 2022 – All you need to know 
Where: Beijing, China
Biathlon, cross-country skiing and Nordic events will take place at the Zhangjiakou arena, situated at and above 1650 meters above sea level. 
When: February 4 to 20, 2022
What happens when: 
Complete schedule for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, all sports
Who: 53 cross-country teams compete at the 2022 Olympics, each fielding from 1 to 16 athletes. 
All the cross-country ski teams to the Beijing Winter Olympics 
How: Where to watch the Olympics – World Wide

Results, start lists and competition details for all events at the 2022 Beijing Olympics will be posted here

Beijing Olympics homepage

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