Host City: Oslo, Norway
Venue(s): Holmenkollen Cross Country Centre, Oslo
Date Started: February 23, 1952
Date Finished: February 23, 1952
For the first time a cross country skiing event for women was on the Olympic program. In fact, women’s cross-country skiing had not yet been held at the FIS World Championships program. The host nation Norway was the only nation voting against the proposal to include the event for the Oslo Games. Finland was considered to be the leading nation in the absence of the Soviet Union, as they had already organized national championships for several years. Their best female skier, Tyyne Wideman, national champion in 1949, 1950 and 1951, decided to end her career after the 1951 season. Her twin sister Lydia Wideman, Finnish champion 1952 and newly engaged, had to be strongly persuaded to travel to the Oslo games.
Halfway 31-year-old Lydia Wideman, starting early as number six, had built up a solid lead, a minute ahead of her teammate, Mirja Hietamies, who was 10-years younger. The Swedish medal hope Märta Nordberg shared third place with Sirkka Polkunen, 10 seconds behind Hietamis, and the fourth Finn, Siiri Rantanen, was another five seconds behind in fifth position. The rest of the field was well behind those five. Wideman held on to her lead at the finish, and in a close battle for silver and bronze, Hietamis was able to hold off the fast finishing Rantanen behind her. Nordberg was not able to fulfill her hopes of a medal, beaten by Rantanen by only three seconds at the finish. The 10 km. race in Oslo was Lydia Wideman’s last race in her skiing career.
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