Therese Johaug flew over the finish line after skiing 30 kilometers (18 miles) in just under an hour and 25 minutes, to win the gold medal in the final women’s event at the Nordic World Ski Championships in Sweden on Saturday. Then she skied nearly another kilometer, just waving the Norwegian flag and enjoying the cheers of the crown.
“Herregud, I can’t quite believe this,” Johaug said after emitting her customary screams of joy, accompanied by tears. “I hardly have any voice left.”
Commentators claimed Johaug outclassed all her competitors including teammate and star skier Marit Bjørgen, who placed second. Sweden’s own Charlotte Kalla was third.
“This is just fantastic, I’m in good shape and had incredibly good skis,” Johaug told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) afterwards. “Folks were cheering me on the whole way. I especially marked that at the end, with the flag in my hand.”
She was widely claimed to have “skied a perfect race,” way ahead of the other racers and alone for an incredible 23.5 kilometers of the track. She was so far out in front that she could risk taking the flag handed to her 700 meters ahead of the finish line, and wave her arms in triumph and start screaming. Bjørgen gave her a long hug, exclaiming that “what Therese did today, was very impressive. Her victory is so well-deserved.”
Meanwhile, Norway’s combined team, which mixes ski racing with ski jumping, also secured more medals, in bronze. Magnus Moan and Håvard Klemetsen ended up behind the French and German teams but helped bring Norway’s medal total in the world championships to 10 in gold, four in silver and five in bronze, with another gold medal won by the men’s ski-jumping team Saturday night. Competition ended on Sunday, with the tough 50-kilometer (30-mile) race for men.