GeneralInterviewsMultimediaOlympicsPhoto GalleryRacingPyeongChang Olympics 10 k Skate: Quotes and Photos

Avatar FasterSkierFebruary 15, 2018
The women’s 10 k freestyle podium on Thursday at the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, with (from left to right) Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla in second, Norway’s Ragnhild Haga in first, and Norway’s Marit Bjørgen and Finland’s Krista Parmakoski tied to third. (All photos: FlyingPointRoad)

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Ragnhild Haga put herself front and center stage on Thursday in the women’s 10-kilometer freestyle individual start, winning by 20.3 seconds over Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla and establishing herself as the latest Norwegian gold medalist on the Olympic scene. Behind them, Norway’s longtime powerhouse Marit Bjørgen tied Finland’s Krista Pärmäkoski for third. That’s right, there were four women on the podium on Thursday in PyeongChang. And American Jessie Diggins was next in line in fifth for her second-straight fifth place and third top six at these 2018 Games.

While we’re working on a report that will bring you the full details of that cross-country race, here are some quotes and FlyingPointRoad.com photos to hold you over:

Ragnhild Haga (Norway), 1st:

“I am not sure if I have dreamt of the gold medal, but I managed to take it today so I’m very happy.”

“I think I had a better start than usually. I felt very good and got good messages from the coaches, that I was only a few seconds behind. On the last lap I was very afraid that some of the others were going to speed up so I increased my speed and got some more seconds. I just focused on staying on my feet on the last downhill, and to give it all to the finish line. It was just a perfect day.”

Charlotte Kalla (Sweden), 2nd:

“I tried to ski very offensive from the first lap. I knew that it will be very tough today. When you are on the bottom of the long downhill, you will work very hard until you are there the next time. It was hard to keep up a good technique today because I became very tired. It was hard to get recovery. I fight the hardest that I could, and I’m satisfied with my performance.”

Krista Pärmäkoski (Finland), 3rd:

“I think that it’s better that both of us stand on the place today. Of course Marit is one of my idols when I was younger. It’s really nice to stand on the same podium today.”

Marit Bjørgen (Norway), 3rd:

“Today I’m happy to take a medal. I thought that I was out of the podium in the 8 km, but we had a good finish, both me and Krista, I can see that we were racing the same, actually, all the way. So I’m really happy. To share it with Krista, it’s good for me.”

Jessie Diggins (USA), 5th:

“To have three top-six finishes at the Games, in totally different events, is like a dream come true for me. And yeah, of course you want a medal, you always want a medal, that’s why we are here, that’s like the point of the Olympics. But there are other things that are also really important besides the actual hardware. And I think it’s important to not put other people’s expectations on me.”

“To be that close and to be skiing with the best in the world — I have looked up to Marit my entire life, and to be, I don’t know how many seconds I was from her, like four or five … it’s so awesome, and I could not have gone any harder. I can honestly look back and say: I don’t know where I would have found those seconds. I pushed my body way past its limit, I killed myself out there, and I thought I was gonna pass out on that last climb. I was completely locked up. That’s a really good feeling to know you gave it everything that you had and more than you thought you could give, and I’m really proud of today.”

Sadie Bjornsen (USA), 15th:

“It was definitely a fun day out there today. It’s pretty much the most perfect conditions that South Korea has delivered yet so it was really fun skiing. Certainly a tough course. I went out there and just tried, you know, no pressure, no expectations, see what I could do. It was fun. Definitely I wouldn’t say it’s the greatest moment ever, but the greatest moment is yet to come in these Games.”

Kikkan Randall (USA), 16th:

“I was really happy today to be able to focus on my own pacing. I think what got me at the skiathlon the other day was exploding with that fast pace of the start so I wanted to just ski it in four sections, kind of pick up speed as I went. I think I started nice and controlled but maybe started a little fast so that middle section was kind of tough to keep it together, and Haga passed me and tried to stay with her, but she was clearly skiing on another level. I am just happy that it felt like I paced it well, I skied it ’til the end where I had not much left in my legs, and that was the feeling I was going for today.”

“It’s certainly been heartbreaking for Jessie because she’s clearly skiing at the top level and just skiing her heart out every single race … I know she has been laying all out there. She has had such a great happy demeanor that we are all feeding off of so it’s tough to see her … not quite get there, but I know all of us seem to rise to an occasion when the relays come around, and it’s what we’ve all been looking forward to. I think it would be pretty special to be able to do it [get a medal] in the relay, but there is obviously going to be some tough competition out there, a lot of countries are putting a lot of people in the top 10 there. It’s going to be challenge, but I think we can ski right in there if we have the right day.”

Liz Stephen (USA), 30th:

“I definitely didn’t have the best race I was hoping for, but I mean our team has so much good to focus on, and that’s what I plan on doing.”

“I think of this [10 k skate individual start] as maybe my strong suit because I do so much training by myself, so I went out with the focus of pacing it and not ever like completely blowing up, because when I blow up its like seconds on seconds I lose, so I tried to pace it really conservatively in the beginning  and then work into it a little bit. I didn’t blow up until maybe like the second-to-last hill, but I think I skied the best that I could ski it so I am happy with the performance. You always want the result to be just like a ‘1’ or something, but yeah, it’s not, only one person gets that.”

Emily Nishikawa (Canada), 32nd:

“I had all these little process goals just to ski each section of the course the best I could. I think I really did that. I just focused on technical aspects and just little things like pushing over the tops and working the corners well, and I think I did a really good job of that so I am really, really happy with my race today.”

Dahria Beatty (Canada), 37th: 

“I was really happy with today’s race. I just really tried to focus on pushing hard and getting into that hurt locker today and skiing smoothly there. It was defintley the best race so far for me, the first 5 k felt really good and in control, lost a little bit of time in the end, but I was still pushing really hard and I was really satisfied to have a top 40 and feel like I gave everything I had when I crossed the finish line.”

Cendrine Browne (Canada), 43rd: 

“… First 5 k was really good, I felt good, I was top 20 for the first 5 k, so I was like, ‘Yes, this will be a great race,’ but then I died unfortunately, so I lost 20 places in 5 k so I am a little bummed right now, but I gave everything I had. I pushed really hard so there’s some days that are just like that. Your body doesn’t respond like you want it to, but I still did my best.”

Anne-Marie Comeau (Canada), 62nd:

“I’m happy about just starting the race, like, I am happy about skiing with all the other skiers and to see how fast it is and to get experience each time, so I am not happy with the result, but I am just excited for the next one and happy to be here and compete with all the other skiers.”

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