Host City: Squaw Valley, United States
Venue(s): McKinney Creek Stadium, Tahoma, California
Date Started: February 26, 1960
Date Finished: February 26, 1960
As in 1956, when they surprisingly lost to Finland, the Soviet ladies were heavy favorites before the relay, having taken the first four places in the individual event and they had also had a convincing victory at the 1958 world championships. But the Olympic relay event was once again a troublesome affair for the Soviets. On the first leg, Radiya Yeroshina ran into trouble, as Sweden’s Irma Johansson, built up a commanding lead. The Soviet Union and Finland were equal in third place at the exchange behind Poland, and 1:27 behind Sweden. On the second leg, Mariya Gusakova went away from Finland, but could only take 27 seconds on Sweden’s Britt Strandberg. At the last exchange, Sonja Ruthström of Sweden had a one minute lead on Soviet’s Lyubov Baranova, and even though Baranova produced the fastest leg of the day, Ruthström easily secured the gold for Sweden, definitely one of the most unexpected cross country skiing victories in the Olympic history. In the individual 10 km event, the ladies on the Soviet team placed 1-2-3 and the Swedes 5-8-10! Finland’s skiers over the last two legs had no problems overtaking the Polish team to win the bronze medal.