The first gold medal of the 2022 Winter Olympics was awarded to Therese Johaug of Norway. The most decorated nation in the history of the Winter Games claimed another gold medal with Johaug’s final time of 44:13.7 as she surged to the finish line in the women’s skiathlon. The women’s skiathlon begins with a mass start where the top ranked skiers in the world start near the front. Athletes completed four laps of a 3.75km course factoring in intense wind conditions. This win secured Johaug’s first individual Olympic gold medal.
The 14-time world champion tapped into her aerobic power and did exactly what she came to do in this event. By prepping for the Games with altitude training and utilizing the wind to play into her strategy on the course, Johaug played to her abilities as a tempo skier and upped her cadence as a way to give her a sizable lead over other competitors like Sweden’s Frida Karlsson.
Jessie Diggins finished the women’s skiathlon in sixth. The three-time Olympian is an athlete that thrives off of the chase and was able to make a comeback in the last lap. In an impressive run as a notably great finisher in the second half, she was able to make a smooth transition of skis from classical to freestyle to advance through the course. Teammate Rosie Brennan finished in 14th place. Although competing in her ideal condition with tundra-like winds, it wasn’t enough to carry her to earn a medal in the skiathlon.
Watch the athletes in the men’s 30km skiathlon hit the course on Feb. 6 at 2 a.m. ET.
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