Wagner Leads USA as Smigun Wins Second
PRAGELATO, Italy (Feb. 16) — Estonian Kristina Smigun won her second gold of the Games, taking the women's 10-km classical technique race Thursday in Pragelato in a light, steady rain. Wendy Wagner (Park City, UT) led the USA finishing 50th. Smigun now holds the only two Olympic Winter Games ski medals in history for her nation.
It was a tough day for the Americans. Wagner finished 50th 3:49.6 back, followed by Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) 53rd, Abby Larson (Bozeman, NT) 57th and Lindsey Weier (Mahtomedi, MN) 59th.
“It was a tough day in a lot of respects,” said Wagner. “I was a little tired from that sprint relay and it was hard to get everything working for me today.
“I went into the attitude that I was going to make the adverse conditions work to my advantage,” said Wagner of the steady cold rain that fell throughout the race. “And I have no regrets, I did everything the way I would have done. The wax guys had five pairs of skis for me to work with and I picked the best pair I had, and my skis were right in there with the others.”
“We had similar conditions at the national championships at Soldier Hollow,” said Randall, “so today was just another day at the office, and it wasn't too bad out there, I enjoyed it. I like to tell myself I'm better the more adverse the conditions are. So coming in today, I knew it was going to be my advantage to race well in the tough conditions, so I just stayed positive and pushed every step of the way.”
With temperatures hovering just above freezing in a classical technique race, ski preparation was key. Wagner went with a klister base while Randall and the other U.S. skiers went with 'hairies.'
“I went with the hairies,” said Randall, “so no wax applied to the skis, just the base roughed up and I think it worked out pretty well, I had pretty good kick up the big hills.”
The women are back in action Saturday with the 4×5-km relay event. The men race the 15-km classical event on Friday.