Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Beijing Games: Johaug wins 1st gold

Norway’s Therese Johaug dominated the women’s 15km skiathlon to win the first gold medal of the 2022 Winter Olympics.
According to BBC, the 33-year-old, who has won 14 world titles, had never won an individual Olympic gold but she powered away to finish 30 seconds clear of the pack.
Johaug missed the 2018 Pyeongchang Games while serving a doping ban.
Natalia Nepryaeva, representing the Russian Olympic Committee, was second, and edged Austria’s Teresa Stadlober into bronze by less than half a second.
Stadlober looked overjoyed at her bronze, which arrived four years after she took a wrong turn when well placed for a medal in the 30km race at the Pyeongchang Games.
But Norway’s dominance of this event never looked like being stopped and the country has now won every skiathlon gold medal at the Winter Games or World Championships since 2013.
“It’s a dream come true,” said the victorious Johaug. “I’ve been training a lot for this for many, many years. I’ve trained thousands of hours for this and been away from home a lot over the years. So it’s beautiful to reach this goal.
“It means a lot. I’ve never had an [individual] Olympic gold medal, it’s my first one. I’m so happy.”
Johaug, the reigning world champion, led after the opening 7.5km of cross-country skiing. Over the closing 7.5km of freestyle, she increased her lead to the point where she entered the final kilometre 54 seconds in front.
She eased down to celebrate as the finish line neared, her time of 44 minutes and 13 seconds comfortably enough to add individual 15km gold to a relay gold she won at the 2010 Vancouver Games, a 30km silver at Sochi 2014 and a bronze in the 10km classical at the same Games.
Johaug tested positive for the steroid clostebol in 2016 and blamed the result on a lip cream she had used.
Norway’s team doctor resigned over the issues, stating he had made a “personal mistake as a doctor”.
After Johaug was handed an initial 13-month ban, which would have allowed her to compete in Pyeongchang, an appeal by the International Ski Federation resulted in her punishment being extended to 18 months, ruling her out of the 2018 Games.


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