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Therese Johaug: Winter Olympics; Norway’s Johaug powers to gold in 10km classic | More sports News – Times of India


ZHANGJIAKOU (China): Norway’s Therese Johaug produced a staggering late surge to snatch the gold medal in the 10km classic race at the Beijing Games on Thursday by four-tenths of a second from Finland’s Kerttu Niskanen.
Krista Parmakoski took the bronze medal, 31.1 seconds behind her Finnish team mate, but she never threatened the top two as Johaug secured her second individual gold medal of the Games in thrilling fashion.
“Oh, that was crazy,” an elated Johaug told reporters. “When you hear that the you’re fighting for a gold medal out there and they were so close, I tried to give my best at the last part of the race.”
Her best was enough for Olympic gold, but only just.
Though she acknowledged that Niskanen would also have been worthy of the gold medal, it was the raw power of Johaug, who missed the 2018 Olympics due to a doping suspension, that saw her secure Norway’s 50th cross-country Olympic gold.
The raw, biting cold of Saturday’s skiathlon was replaced by blazing sunshine and temperatures just below freezing, but a strong headwind at the start line reminded racers that the task ahead would not be an easy one.
Johaug used her power to build up a lead of 11.8 seconds over the first 1.8 km, but she was quickly reeled in by Parmakoski and Niskanen with Tatiana Sorina representing the Russian Olympic Committee also in the mix.
Johaug dropped behind but quickly got herself back neck and neck with Niskanen as the pair crossed the 3.6 km marker in exactly the same time of 10:47.7.
Known for her concise classical technique, Niskanen made her break at the midway point of the race to lead by 11 seconds at the 6.3 km mark, but if she thought Johaug was out of contention, she was sorely mistaken.
The Norwegian blasted past sprint bronze medallist Jessie Diggins despite starting a minute behind her as she thundered up a late climb, and knowing victory was within her reach Johaug left nothing to chance.
She barrelled around the rest of the course, poling powerfully up the final straight in an incredible display of stamina to throw down the gauntlet to Niskanen.
Though the Finn dug deep, she could not match the intensity of the 33-year-old Norwegian and Niskanen collapsed after crossing the line a mere 0.4 seconds behind the winner to secure her first individual Olympic medal.
“I did my best and I’m really, really happy that I’m on the podium …. this is like a win for me,” Niskanen said.
After setting herself a target of one individual gold medal in Beijing, Johaug whooped and hollered as she grabbed her second in six days, and the sky is now the limit for Norway’s ski queen.
“I know it is possible to take more (medals). You have to be in good shape, have good skis, and then everything can happen,” Johaug said.





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