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Winter Olympics 2018: First Gold Goes To Sweden, Koreas In Spotlight

15 February 2018

Charlotte Kalla of Sweden won the first gold medal of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang with victory in the women's 15-kilometre skiathlon.

Krista Parmakowski of Finland was third and Jessica Diggins finished fifth, missing a chance to become the first American woman to earn a medal in cross-country skiing.

Kalla made her break midway through the last of the four laps, leaving Bjoergen to battle Parmakoski and Swede Ebba Andersson for the podium places. A skiathlon silver medallist behind Bjørgen four years ago, the 30-year-old Kalla now has six Olympic medals to her name, also a national women's cross-country skiing record. The Minnesotan crossed the finish line and sprawled to the cold, hard ground with both cramps and a bolstered sense of hope at the Alpensia Cross-Country Centre on a cold Korean Saturday afternoon. I am happy with that. Most of all, though, it was pure joy.

Bjoergen took the 11th Olympic medal by finishing second in 40:52.7.

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"Being seconds out of a medal is so exciting because I know it's possible".

But 37-year-old Norwegian Bjoergen, known as the "Iron Lady", had as much reason to celebrate, as her silver gave her a record 11 Olympics cross country medals in the event.

Two-time defending champion Bjørgen was aiming to become the first cross-country skier, male or female, to win three Olympic gold medals in one individual event and the first woman to collect seven Olympic gold medals in cross-country skiing.

"I tried my best today, so I am satisfied with this result".

Winter Olympics 2018: First Gold Goes To Sweden, Koreas In Spotlight