2018 Winter Olympics (PyeongChang, South Korea): Men’s 10 k freestyle
Dario Cologna has shown that he meant business this season, winning another Tour de Ski title as well as the last World Cup before the Olympics. But it was still remarkable that he came out and won the 15 k skate today, by a dominant margin of 18.3 seconds over Norway’s Simen Hegstad Krüger. At 31 years old, Switzerland’s Cologna becomes the first man to ever win three 15 k Olympic gold medals in a row. The first came in the freestyle race in Vancouver in 2010, the second in the classic race in Sochi in 2014, and now another gold today.
“A lot has come together for me today,” Cologna – who was in tears after he finished – said in a postrace interview with Switzerland’s SRF broadcaster, according to a translation. “A lot of hard work behind this. For me to come back this year, and that it now was enough for another Olympic gold, I can hardly describe that… Most of all I wanted to win a medal, and now it’s even a golden one. I have had a lot of successes in the past, so I don’t have to prove anything in that regard, but you do sports for those moments, to win. So of course I am very proud to be able to win a gold medal for Switzerland. An Olympic medal is always a little more special and a little more beautiful than other victories.”
Krüger, who is at his very first Olympics, picked up his second medal of the Games after winning the 30 k skiathlon to open the men’s cross-country ski competitions. In third place (+23.0) was 21-year-old Denis Spitsov of Russia, who placed fourth in the 30 k.
Fourth place went to Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby (+24.9) who was still denied in his quest for individual Olympic gold, and fifth to France’s Maurice Manificat (+27.0). Rounding out the top six was Norway’s Hans Christer Holund (+34.5).
Canada’s Alex Harvey was in the fight for the medals in the middle of the race, but faded over the final kilometers to end the day seventh (+35.5). Behind him, Graeme Killick finished 38th (+2:39.4), Knute Johnsgaard 69th (+4:04.6), and Devon Kershaw 71st (+4:17.6).
The United States was led by Scott Patterson in 21st place (+1:44.1). Erik Bjornsen was close behind Patterson in the opening kilometers but slipped to 41st place by the finish (+2:44.7). Noah Hoffman placed 48th (+3:01.3), and Tyler Kornfield 74th (+4:34.0).
University of Utah alumnus Snorri Einarsson, racing for Iceland, placed 56th (+3:21.7). Dartmouth College alum Tucker Murphy of Bermuda finished 104th (+9:21.8) and Canada-based Kequyen Lam of Portugal 113th (+20:50.2).
-Harald Zimmer contributed