First medal awarded at 2018 Winter Olympics

Charlotte Kalla of Sweden celebrates after winning the women’s 15km skiathlon in PyeongChang, South Korea on Saturday. (Reuters)

Just hours after NBC’s primetime broadcast of the Opening Ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, a gold medal has already been awarded.

Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla pulled ahead late to win gold in the women’s 15km skiathlon on Saturday with a time of 40:44.9.

Norway’s Marit Bjoergen took second place with a time of 40:52.7. Bjoergen is one of the most decorated skier in the sport. Her second place finish marks her 11th Olympic medal, making her the most decorated female Winter Olympian in history. Bjoergen has won three gold medals in each of the past two Winter Olympics.

Finland’s Krista Parmakoski won the bronze medal with a time of 40:55.0.

The 15km skiathlon forces skiers to use both the classical technique and the freestyle technique, going 7.5km with each technique. It’s often considered one of the more brutal, difficult cross-country skiing events.

American Jessie Diggins, who was with the leaders for most of the race, finished in fifth place. Her finish marks the best ever in a cross-country event by an American woman.

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