Host City: Squaw Valley, United States
Venue(s): McKinney Creek Stadium, Tahoma, California
Date Started: February 25, 1960
Date Finished: February 25, 1960
The relay event was held two days after the close 15 km race. The Soviet team was the defending Olympic champions, but the Swedish team had beaten the Soviets in the World Championships in 1958, and both Finland and Norway also had medal aspirations.
On the first leg, Sweden’s Lars Olsson took the lead, seven seconds ahead of Finland’s Toimi Alatalo with Norway’s Harald Gronningen close behind. The opening man for the Soviet team, Anatoly Shelyukin, ran into trouble in the thin air and was a distant eight at the exchange, 2:21 behind the leader. On the second leg, Norway’s Hallgeir Brenden and Finland’s 22-year-old Eero Mäntyranta come together at the exchange. Sweden’s Janne Stefansson also got into trouble, and Sweden had dropped to sixth place at the exchange, passed also by the Soviets. Józef Rysula, at only 20-years-old, had brought Poland into third place, closely followed by Italy. In the third leg, Norway’s Einar Østby left Finlands Vainö Huhtala behind, and gave the Olympic 15 km champion Håkon Brusveen a 20 second lead ahead of Veikko Hakulinen. The Soviet Union’s Aleksey Kuznetsov had brought Soviet up to third position, but they were 2:21 behind the leader and out of contention for the gold medal. Hakulinen caught Brusveen halfway on the last leg and had a 30 m lead, but the energetic Brusveen was able to close the gap and the two rivals entered the ski stadium in McKinney Creek side-by-side. In a close finish, Hakulinen won by a couple of meters. Nikolay Anikin, the Soviet anchor leg skier, secured the bronze medal ahead of fast finishing Sixten Jernberg. It was Jernberg’s seventh Olympic start, and for the first time he was outside a medal position.