Despite being one of the heavy favorites going into the event, team Finland was perhaps even stronger than expected in Thursday's 4x5km women's relay, opening up a 20-second gap over Norway after the first 5km leg.
By the second tag Finland's lead had already increased to a whopping 48 seconds ahead of Norway, with Germany even further back at +1:10. During the third leg, the first of two skate legs, Norway closed down to within 22 seconds of the leading team, while Sweden caught and passed Germany to hand off 50-seconds back, 12 ahead of Germany. Could Norway close the gap and take home the gold? Would Sweden be able to hold off Germany?
With barely over 1km to go, Finland had increased its lead again to 30 seconds over Norway, while Germany was closing threateningly and sitting 7 seconds behind Norway, with Sweden another ten seconds back. In a nail-biting finish Germany out-battled Norway, coming in just 11 seconds behind Finland and three and a half seconds ahead of Norway. Sweden settled for fourth.
Kikkan Randall's opening leg for the USA put the team in 9th, 1:06 behind the lead, out of 16 teams. The US ended up 14th and Canada 16th at the finish.
Stay tuned for more details. Full results can be viewed here: http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/610.html?sector=CC&raceid=12597