Winter Olympics: Norway scoop first gold while Schouten breaks Olympic record

By Sports Desk February 05, 2022 1061

The first gold medal of the Games went the way of Norway's Therese Johaug, who stormed to success in the women's skiathlon.

Johaug missed the 2018 Winter Olympics as she was serving an 18-month suspension for a positive drugs test.

The Norwegian blamed her positive result on tainted lip balm.

However, she has returned to compete in Beijing and clinched the first gold up for grabs with a supreme display in the 7.5km+7.5km skiathlon, which was held approximately 120km northwest of China's capital.

Johaug, 33, crossed the line in a time of 44 minutes, 13.7 seconds to win what is often regarded as one of the toughest cross-country events.

She finished ahead of Natalia Nepryaeva of the Russian Olympic Committee and third-placed Austrian Teresa Stadlober.

"It was huge for me today. When I missed the Olympics Games in Pyeongchang it means is eight years since I was in Sochi," said Johaug, who is a three-time world champion in this discipline.

"The last year there have been many days away from home and to be at altitude to train to be ready for Beijing. It is huge to me to cross the finish line and know I reached my goal."

There was another gold for Norway on Saturday, as they came out on top in the mixed relay 4x6km biathlon, with France taking silver and the Russian Olympic Committee bronze.

Norway's curling team beat China and Australia in the mixed doubles round-robin stage to cap a fine day for the Scandinavian nation.

Olympic record tumbles

The Netherlands' Irene Schouten broke the Olympic record as she took gold in the women's 3000m speed skating.

Claudia Pechstein, of Germany, had set the previous record back in 2002 in Salt Lake City.

"When you say 20 years ago, the record stands a really long time. I am happy I have it now," Schouten said.

"My last lap was really good. There is a gold medal at the finish and I have to give it all and it was a good last lap."

Schouten cannot celebrate for too long, however, as she has to switch focus to the 5000m race and the team pursuit.

Italy's Francesca Lollobrigida claimed silver, while Isabelle Weidemann's bronze brought up Canada's 200th medal at the Winter Olympics.

China get up and running

There is always extra pressure on the host nation to perform and China managed to secure their first gold, triumphing in the mixed team relay of the short track speed skating.

The Chinese team just managed to hold off a late charge from Italy, who almost pipped them on the line. Hungary took bronze.

Sweden's Walter Wallberg took gold in the men's moguls final, while Slovenia's Ursa Bogataj won in the women's ski jump.

USA and Canada run riot

There were emphatic victories for the United States and Canada in the women's ice hockey.

Canada got into double figures against Finland, winning 11-1, while the USA defeated the Russian Olympic Committee 5-0 in the other Group A game.

Japan overcame Denmark 6-2 and the Czech Republic got the better of Sweden 3-1.

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Last modified on Saturday, 05 February 2022 12:13
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