The Swedish team of Charlotte Kalla, Emma Wiken, Ida Ingemarsdotter, and Anna Haag earned Olympic cross-country gold in the women’s 4x5km relay, an event that saw the Norwegians surprisingly finish off the podium in fifth place.
Kalla (pictured) delivered an amazing final leg that saw her erase a big deficit and win a three-way sprint to the finish between herself, Finland’s Krista Lahteenmaki, and Germany’s Denise Herrmann to give Sweden the gold. Finland grabbed the silver, while the Germans got the bronze.
Meanwhile, the Norwegians – consisting of Marit Bjorgen, Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen, Therese Johaug and Heidi Weng – suffered their first loss in a relay since the 2009 season.
Prior to this race, Team Norway had won this event in each of the three most recent major championships by more than 20 seconds.
They took gold four years ago in Vancouver by 24.6 seconds, won the 2011 world championships by 36.1 seconds, and won the 2013 world championships by 26.2 seconds.
Team USA – Kikkan Randall, Sadie Bjornsen, Liz Stephen and Jessie Diggins – finished ninth. The U.S. has never finished better than seventh in this event at the Olympics.
WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY – 4x5KM RELAY
1. Sweden, 53:02.7
2. Finland, 53:03.2
3. Germany, 53:03.6
9. United States, 55:33.4