Sweden's Kalla wins first gold at PyeongChang Olympics

Charlotte Kalla of Sweden claimed the first gold of 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games while Marit Bjoergen of Norway became the most decorated female Winter Olympian at the Alpensia cross-country skiing center here on Saturday.

Kalla won the women's skiathlon in a time of 40 minutes and 44.9 seconds in an event combining 7.5 km classic and 7.5 km freestyle skiing.

Kalla said: "Winning the first gold means a lot. I was quite nervous today and the Olympics is something I have focused on for a long, long time. It has felt great during the season but I know everyone wants to be in shape at the Olympics. It was really exciting and fun to compete today."

"I had a wish that if I felt strong I would try to do something on the last lap and not wait too long. It went my way and I tried to focus forward all the time," Kalla added.

Bjoergen took the 11th Olympic medal by finishing second in 40:52.7.

"I am here to take medals. It is my fifth Olympics and still to be there. I am happy with that. I am happy to be here at my age," said the 37-year-old Bjoergen, who won three gold medals at Vancouver in 2010 and three more in the 2004 Sochi Games.

One more medal will move her into a tie with Norwegian Bjoern Daehlie for the most Olympic medals by a cross-country skier of all-time.

Bjoergen added: "I am very happy to take a medal in my last Olympics and still to be there. Charlotte was stronger than me."

Krista Parmakoski of Finland won the bronze in 40: 55.0.

Chinese skier Lixin clocked in 46:01.9 to finish 51st while her teammate Chi Chunxue settled for the 55th in 46:39.0.

"I tried my best today, so I am satisfied with this result. I am glad that I can compete in the Winter Olympics and have gained some experience for the 2022 Beijing Games," said Chi, who won a silver in the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics.

"After Beijing successfully won the bid for the 2022 Olympics, more and more people started to pay attention to winter sports," Chi added.

Kalla became the first Swedish woman to claim three gold medals at the Olympic Winter Games, which equaled Agneta Andersson as the Swedish woman with most Olympic gold medals.

The gold is Kalla's third and sixth Olympic medal of her career. At the 2014 Sochi Games, Kalla earned silver while Bjoergen won the gold.

Bjoergen's next medal chance will be the women's 10km individual sprint.


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