US & World

Winter Olympics: Sweden's Charlotte Kalla wins first gold medal of Pyeongchang 2018

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Sweden’s Kalla wins first gold of the Games in skiathlon
XXIII Olympic Winter Games
Venue: Pyeongchang, South Korea Dates: 9-25 February
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, Red Button, Connected TVs, BBC Sport website and mobile app. Full coverage times

Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla won the women’s skiathlon to secure the first gold medal of Pyeongchang 2018.

The 30-year-old beat defending champion Marit Bjorgen by 7.8 seconds but the Norwegian still became the most decorated female Winter Olympian of all time.

Bjorgen’s silver means that the 37-year-old now has a total of 11 medals.

Kalla won in 40 minutes 44.9 seconds to claim her third Olympic gold, while Finland’s Krista Parmakoski was third.

“I was quite nervous today and the Olympics is something I have focused on for a long, long time,” said Kalla.

“On the finish line. I did not want to look back and just focused on keeping pushing.”

Skiathlon is a mass start 15km cross country event in which competitors have to swap techniques midway through the race.

There is a pit-stop halfway through the race where athletes change skis and poles to go from classic to free technique.

Kalla, Bjorgen and Norwegian Heidi Weng were on the podium at Sochi 2014 and at the halfway point only 3.3 seconds separated them in the top four.

But Kalla had broken clear by the 12.5km mark and, by 13.5km, she had opened up an unassailable lead of almost 10 seconds.

Charlotte Kalla won her third gold and her sixth Olympic medal overall

Bjorgen moved one medal ahead of fellow cross country skiers Stefania Belmondo, from Italy, and Russian Raisa Smetanina.

She could surpass the overall medal record held by compatriot Ole Einar Bjorndalen, who has won 13 medals, during the rest of the cross-country skiing events at Pyeongchang.

Parmakoski, 27, finished 10.1 seconds behind Kalla to claim her third Olympic medal while Team GB’s Annika Taylor was last of the finishers in 60th position.

Other news headlines on day one

Winter Olympics 2018 opening ceremony best bits
  • The South Korean government has launched an investigation into a possible cyber attack during the opening ceremony. What organisers describe as non-critical parts of the internal systems went down 45 minutes before the ceremony began, affecting the phone and internet services, but it did not impact on the ceremony.
  • Cases of norovirus have risen to 139 but organisers claim the outbreak is under control.
  • Figure skater Yuna Kim, who lit the Olympic cauldron, said it was an “unforgettable experience”. Speaking in Korean she revealed she had been nervous because there had only been one rehearsal and she was worried about falling over.

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