Host City: Innsbruck, Austria
Venue(s): Cross Country Skiing Stadium, Seefeld
Date Started: February 8, 1964
Date Finished: February 8, 1964
The 4x10 km cross country relay was expected to be a close battle between defending Champion Finland, 1962 World Champion Sweden and the Olympic champion from 1956, Soviet Union, with Norway, second to Finland in 1960 after a very tight fight, as a dangerous outsider.
In the first leg, Soviet Union’s [Ivan Utrobin] started extremely fast, after 6 km he had a lead by around one minute, but then he faded badly. Finland's [Väinö Huhtala] caught Utrobin just before the exchange and finished with a six seconds lead with Norway’s [Magnar Lundemo] in third position another six seconds back. Sweden and Italy were still in contention in fourth and fifth position.
On the second leg, Finland’s [Arto Tiainen] was struggeling and overtaken by four other teams. At the exchange Soviet Union’s [Gennady Vaganov] had the lead, 12 seconds ahead of Norway. The fastest man on the second leg was Italy’s [Marcello De Dorigo] who brought his team into third position, gaining 21 seconds on the leading Soviet team. Sweden’s [Sixten Jernberg] could not hold off the Italian, but passed Finland and was still in fourth place, 10 seconds behind Italy.
On the third leg [Igor Voronchikhin] was able to hold off Norway’s [Einar Østby], who was 12 seconds behind at the exchange. Italy dropped down to fifth position almost two minutes behind the leading team, but Finland and Sweden was still fighting for the gold. Finland’s [Kalevi Lauria] had the fastest leg time and caught the Swede [Janne Stefansson] at the exchange, both teams 32 seconds behind Soviet Union.
The anchor leg developed into a very close battle between Sweden’s [Assar Rönnlund] and the double Olympic Champion [Eero Mäntyranta]. They soon passed Norway’s [Harald Grønningen] and one kilometer from home they caught the leading Soviet team. [Pavel Kolchin] was not able to follow, and in the final stages Rönnlund went away from Mäntyranta. Sweden won, eight seconds ahead of Finland, with the Soviet Union another four seconds back. Norway finished fourth, over two minutes ahead of Italy. It was a great victory for Sweden, and Sixten Jernberg ended his great Olympic career with his fourth gold medal and a total of nine Olympic medals.