Knute Johnsgaard, right, crosses the finish line at the Yukon Cross-Country Ski Championships in 2013. Johnsgaard finished in 69th position in the men’s 15-km free race at the 2018 Winter Olympics. (Tom Patrick/Yukon News file)

Nishikawa top Canadian woman in Olympic race

Norway dominates cross-country skiing competitions

Cross-country skiing continued at the Olympic Games this week and the three Yukon skiers joined Team Canada to take to the course at the Alpensia Cross-Country Centre for the women’s 10-km and the men’s 15-km free races.

In the women’s race on Feb. 15, Norway was on top of the podium again, picking up a gold and a bronze.

Ragnhild Haga won the race with a time of 25 minutes and five-tenths of a second. Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla was second, finishing 20.3 seconds behind Haga. Norway’s Marit Bjoergen finished in third, 11.6 seconds behind Kalla.

Kalla and Bjoergen finished one-two in the skiathlon over the weekend.

Yukon’s Emily Nishikawa finished the race in 32nd spot, two minutes and 41 seconds behind the race winner.

The next Canadian across the line was Dahria Beatty in 37th and only 7.4 seconds behind Nishikawa.

Rounding out the Canadians, Cendrine Browne finished 43rd and Anne-Marie Comeau was 62nd.

The next day it was the men’s turn and Switzerland’s Dario Cologna won a third consecutive 15-km gold medal.

The 31-year-old previously won gold in the free technique in Vancouver and the classic technique in Sochi.

Cologna crossed the finished line with a time of 33 minutes and 43.9 seconds.

Norway’s Simen Hegstad Krueger, already a gold medal winner in the skiathlon at the games, finished the 15-km race in second just 18.3 seconds behind Cologna.

Denis Spitsov, an Olympic athlete from Russia, won bronze with a time 23 seconds off the winning pace.

Canada’s Alex Harvey finished 12.5 seconds behind Spitsov, off the podium and in seventh.

Graeme Killick of Fort McMurray was the next Canadian, finishing in 38th position.

Knute Johnsgaard crossed the finish line in 69th, 13 seconds and two spots ahead of his teammate Devon Kershaw.

Next up for Team Canada is the women’s relay on Feb. 17. That race starts at 1:30 a.m. local time in Whitehorse on Feb. 17.

The men’s relay is the next day on Feb. 18, but because of the time change, actually starts at 10:15 p.m. on Feb. 17 in the Yukon.

The men’s and women’s team sprints are on Feb. 21.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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