VAL DI FIEMME, Italy — Johan Olsson (SWE) skied what has already been dubbed the greatest 50 k of all time to close out the 2013 Nordic World Ski Championships on Sunday in front of a packed stadium. Skiing by himself for well over half the race, the performance drew admiration from his competitors and everyone present in the stands to witness it. Our images from the day.
At least one Swedish viking has a good feeling about the 50 k.
The mass start leaves the stadium, with Dario Cologna (SUI) in the center lane.
Petter Northug, Jr. (NOR), draws first blood up the first climb.
Anders Soedergren (SWE) moves ahead on the first lap, with Noah Hoffman (USA) in his wake.
Johan Olsson (SWE) sits patiently in the wings.
Still Soedergren and Hoffman at the end of lap 1.
The field in the hunt.
Jens Filbrich (GER) leads the small breakaway that’s developed.
Filbrich, Hoffman, Soedergren.
…and everyone else. Alexey Poltoranin, Cologna, Northug and Olsson each lead a train.
On the second lap Olsson and Cologna start to move away.
Maxim Vylegzhanin (RUS), Poltoranin and Alexander Legkov (RUS) in the hunt.
Athletes get feeds at the top of the hill by the church.
Olsson and Cologna making time on the group.
The field appears at the bottom of the hill as Cologna crests the top.
Vylegzhanin and Legkov work the train.
Northug sitting back.
Hoffman and Alex Harvey (CAN).
Sjur Roethe (NOR), Soedergren and Tord Asle Gjerdalen (NOR)
Olsson and Cologna still together at the top of the course.
The Russians in pursuit.
Dietmar Noeckler (ITA) in the mix.
Keishin Yoshida (JPN) leads Eldar Roenning (NOR).
Olsson all alone after Cologna’s fall as he heads out for lap 3.
Poltoranin moves ahead of Legkov.
The fans spur Olsson up a climb.
The pack behind him.
The beginning of lap 5. Can Olsson hang on?
Lukas Bauer (CZE) makes breakaway in the chase.
Alexander Bessmertnykh (RUS) leads the rest.
Olsson crests the hill again with no one in sight.
Yoshida emerges in second.
Olsson leaves the stadium for the final time, still well in the lead.
Daniel Richardsson (SWE) doesn’t make a final ski change and moves ahead into second.
Cologna and Jiri Magal (CZE).
The soon-to-be World Champion is back in the stadium, and looks back to see an empty track.
Close to the finish, he looks again, just to be sure.
Olsson quietly celebrates his victory, which he later said was more meaningful than the medal that came with it.
Cologna takes second, 12 seconds behind Olsson.
And Poltoranin claims bronze.
Cologna congratulates Olsson on his gutsy race.
A Swedish coach is pretty happy to see his athlete.
Olsson did not showboat for the cameras the way others have done this week, but merely smiled with his skis in hand.
Swedish supporters cram the stands for the awards ceremony.
Olsson waves to them.
Your new 50 k World Champion.
1. Johan Olsson (SWE), 2. Dario Cologan (SUI), 3. Alexey Poltoranin (KAZ)