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  • Charlotte Kalla earned the first gold medal of the 2018 Olympics in the 15K skiathlon.
By Mitch Goldich
February 10, 2018

One gold medal down, 101 more to go. Charlotte Kalla of Sweden topped the podium in the women’s 15K skiathlon to claim the first gold of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Norwegian Marit Bjørgen earned silver, her 11th Olympic medal, and Krista Parmakoski of Finland won bronze.

Bjørgen’s 11 Olympic medals now make her the most decorated woman in the history of the Winter Olympics. Among her 10 medals already in hand are three golds from 2010 and three more from 2014.

The skiathlon is a cross-country race that takes part in two stages, combining the classic and free techniques. The clock even keeps running as racers change their skis during the pit stop. It’s all explained in SI’s Rookie’s Guide to cross-country skiing, which also explains the other medal events for those who are less familiar.

Jessie Diggins, Team USA’s best hope at a medal, finished fifth.

Only one American has ever won an Olympic medal in cross-country skiing, a bronze by Bill Koch in 1976.

Kalla pulled away from the pack with a winning time of 40:44.9. Bjørgen’s silver-medal time was 40:52.7, followed by Parmakoski at 40:55.0. Diggins finished in 40:59.6.

Make sure to check out SI’s predictions for gold, silver and bronze in the remaining 101 events.

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