Beijing, February 5: Cross-country skier Therese Johaug of Norway has won the first gold medal of the Beijing Games in the women’s 15-meter skiathlon.
Johaug fought wind and frigid temperatures to win by skiing away from a chase group of four.
Russian athlete Natalia Nepryaeva, the current overall World Cup leader, pulled away from the group on the last climb to take the silver. Teresa Stadlober of Austria followed just behind for the bronze medal.
The skiathlon was a mass-start race that began with 7.5 kilometers of classic skiing. After striding two laps around the 3.75-kilometer course, racers came through the stadium and quickly switched to skate skis before heading out for another two laps.
Johaug crossed the line with her arms in the air and a huge smile on her face. She has 10 world championship titles but has never won an individual Olympic gold medal.
Dinigeer Yilamujiang, a skier from China’s Uyghur community who helped deliver the Olympic flame to the opening ceremony of the Beijing Games, placed 43rd. (AP)