Johaug denies Bjoergen another gold at World Champs


Make no mistake, there is competition within the Norwegian cross country squad. Tuesday (Feb 26) Therese Johaug surged over the last four kilometers of the 10k freestyle competition at the World Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy to deny teammate Marit Bjoergen her 11th career gold medal. Bjoergen has already won twice in the championships and held on for the silver medal. Russian Yulia Tchekaleva earned the bronze.

With a fabulous effort American Elizabeth Stephen finished fifth behind German Miriam Goessner.

Johaug started last and said that was a big advantage. “It probably was an advantage,” she told Norwegian reporters. “I got all the way to hear that I had the chance to take Marit. I felt in very good shape so I was able to give everything all the way. She is the great skidronninga, so of course it means a lot.”

Johaug was jublient at the finish after taking the gold by more than 10 seconds, jumping and running about the finish area in celebration. By contrast Bjoergen had collapsed in the snow after her finish.

Stephen said she woke up feeling it might be her day and said though familiar with the Val di Fiemme course, the racce was a new experience. “I’d never skied [the course] as a skate course before. We always do it as a classic on the Tour de Ski, so I was psyched to be able to skate up those hills and just kept channeling the Tour de Ski energy and vibes. Heck, it’s World Championships, there’s pretty good vibes here with Kikkan and Jessie getting the win the other day. The mood of the team is outstanding right now – lots of energy kicking around.”

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