Norway’s Therese Johaug maintained a high cadence and long strides to earn her second gold medal at the 2022 Winter Olympics in the women’s cross-country skiing 10km classic. Throughout the two laps of 5km, Johaug had nothing left to give after completing the race with a time of 28:06.3. With 19 World Championship medals, 14 of them gold, it was her second individual gold medal. She won her first individual Olympic gold in the women’s skiathlon.
Johaug stayed fresh on her skis up gradients and cut into competitors' times. Favoring the classic technique compared to freestyle, she clinched gold by leaning heavily on her ability to perform double-pole sprints in the start and finish zones. Her aggression on the start and finish was where she blocked out her fiercest competitor, Finland’s Kerttu Niskanen.
Although Niskanen had purpose and intensity with each stride, it was not enough to overcome Johaug’s time. Niskanen was looking to clinch her first individual Olympic gold medal, but came up short, less than half a second behind Johaug. She finished in second place with a time of 28:06.7. Her teammate Krista Parmakoski followed closely behind and took the final step on the podium with a time of 28:37.8.
Johaug tactically planned out her gold medal game plan for the 2022 Winter Games. She only entered herself in distance events and did not participate in the sprints. She gained an advantage by capitalizing on her rest and recovery period between events. Her ability to ignore calls of muscle strain from her body and keep a steady breathing rhythm aided in her gold medal run.
United States star Jessie Diggins looked to add another medal to the bronze she earned in the sprint free event, but couldn't make up length on the field to get close to Johaug’s time. She found herself slipping and losing form and ended the 10km race in eighth with a time of 29:15.1. Her compatriot Rosie Brennan finished just outside the top 10 in 11th at 29:28.6
Setting the world of cross-country skiing on fire, Johaug started the women’s 10km with dedication and commitment, and finished it that way to claim her second individual gold medal.