Germany’s Victoria Carl was on the outside looking in coming off the final downhill into the stadium. It seemed as though she was not going to be able to recover and respond to the open real estate ROC’s Natalya Nepryayeva and Sweden’s Jonna Sundling created in their surge up the slight rise of the course.
But, Carl stayed conservative and waited for the right moment to strike. She found the extra gear right when she needed it and took off with the momentum she got from curling around the final curve of the course into the homestretch.
She came into the last sprint three wide, stride-for-stride with Nepryayeva and Sundlin. In a final result that no one expected, Carl blazed down the straight and took the gold with an incredible double-polled finish. She completed the six-lap race with Katharina Hennig and capped the team’s time at 22:09.85.
Carl was originally not part of the German relay lineup. She was included at the last minute in place of compatriot Katherine Sauerbrey when she did not feel race ready under the accumulation of stress from competing. The gold medal win brought Germany’s medal tally to 20, marking their 10th Olympic gold. This was the second women’s cross-country medal Germany won, adding to their silver from the women’s 4x5km relay.
Sweden took silver with a time of 22:10.02 and ROC the bronze with a time of 22:10.56.
Defying the odds, Carl put the hammer down on the heavyweights like Finland’s Krista Parmakoski as she came apart on the gradient. U.S. favorites Jessie Diggins and Rosie Brennan tag-teamed to hunt down a repeat of Diggins’ 2018 golden team sprint shared with Kikkan Randall. The Diggins-Brennan tandem was in medal contention and consistently kept contact with the top three. However, when Diggins anchored the final lap, she couldn't pull over the top of the incline to reel competitors back in. The U.S. team finished in fifth at 22:22.78.
The last cross-county event at the 2022 Winter Olympics takes place on Feb. 20 at 1:30 a.m. ET with the women’s 30km mass start free.
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