Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla wins first Olympic gold medal as Dutch sweep speed skating

Updated 8:52 AM EST, Sat February 10, 2018
01:26 - Source: CNN
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Story highlights

Kalla broke away from group after three-quarters of the race

Norway's Bjoergen took silver, becoming the most decorated female Olympian

Dutch sweep speed skating, Korea wins first gold medal

CNN —  

Experience what it’s like to fly off a ski jump at about 60 mph. Olympic medalist Johnny Spillane breaks down one of the Winter Games’ most spectacular events: ski jumping.

And the winner of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics’ first gold medal is … Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla.

The 30-year-old Kalla raised her arms in triumph as she crossed the line in a time of 40 minutes, 44.9 seconds to win the 15-kilometer cross-country skiing.

Norway’s Marit Bjørgen took silver, 7.8 seconds back, to become the most decorated female winter Olympian of all time while Finland’s Krista Parmakoski clinched bronze, 10.1 seconds behind the winner.

Nicknamed “The Iron Lady,” the 37-year-old Bjørgen won her eleventh Olympic medal, overtaking fellow cross-country skier Raisa Smetanina, who won 10 medals competing for the Soviet Union and the Unified Team between 1976 and 1992.

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The 15km race, also known as the skiathlon, is split into two parts; it starts with 7.5km using the classical technique followed by freestyle on the second leg.

In one of the most physically testing events in the Olympics, Kalla broke away from the pack after about 34 minutes. Sixty seconds later, she had grabbed a 5.5-second lead over Bjørgen and never looked in danger of being caught.

Sweden's Charlotte Kalla has now won three golds at the Winter Olympics.
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Sweden's Charlotte Kalla has now won three golds at the Winter Olympics.
Norway's Marit Bjørge (left) won silver and Krista Parmakoski of Finland took bronze.
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Norway's Marit Bjørge (left) won silver and Krista Parmakoski of Finland took bronze.

READ: Winter Olympics sport-by-sport guide

READ: Tonga’s famous flag bearer achieves ‘impossible dream’

The 30-year-old Kalla also won a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and the 2014 Sochi Games.