Sports

Sweden's Kalla wins first gold of PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games

Sweden's Kalla wins first gold of PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games

1 The first gold medal of the Pyeongchang Games went to Sweden's Charlotte Kalla in the women's cross country skiathlon.

Champion Sweden's Charlotte Kalla (C), second placed Norway's Marit Bjoergen (L) and third placed Finland's Krista Parmakoski celebrate after the Ladies' 7.5km + 7.5km Skiathlon of Cross-Country Skiing at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games at the Alpensia Cross-Country Skiing Centre in PyeongChang, South Korea, on February 10, 2018.

Parmakoski, 27, finished 10.1 seconds behind Kalla to claim her third Olympic medal while Team GB's Annika Taylor was last of the finishers in 60th position. The win confirms her place as Sweden's most successful female cross-country skier at the Olympics. Big air snowboarding, which will replace the parallel slalom, features riders flying off pitched ramps to perform jumps with flips and spins, as many as possible in the time allowed. One goal of the International Olympic Committee is to attract a younger audience.

Bjoergen captured her 11th career medal Saturday, breaking a three-way tie with Russian Raisa Smetanina and Italian Stefania Belmondo. The first gold medal of the 2018 Olympics was expected to go to Bjoergen, World Champion in the event, who claimed gold in Vancouver in 2010 and again in Sochi four years later. Overall, though, she says she did the best she could and got the most out of her body.

"For me, Charlotte is a very good friend for me also, so I'm really happy for her today", Bjoergen said.

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On Saturday, the 37-year-old acknowledged that her age may be catching up with her. Not far behind is 49-year-old Finnish curler Tomi Rantamaeki.

Figure skater Yuna Kim, who lit the Olympic cauldron, said it was an "unforgettable experience".

Norway's Marit Bjoergen entered the history books Saturday at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Its popularity comes despite tensions on the Korean peninsula, though those were eased once North Korea made a decision to participate in the Games and even join with the South Koreans on the rink for one women's hockey team. The United States is represented by 108 women and 134 men, competing in seven sports.

But they symbolise the sense of rapprochement between the two Koreas, highlighted at Friday's Olympic opening ceremony when athletes from both sides of the heavily fortified border marched together into the stadium for the opening ceremony. "A swarm of drones brings us one of the most incredible sights of the #OpeningCeremony", NBC Olympics tweeted.


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