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Cross Country Skiing at the 1976 Innsbruck Winter Games:

Men's 30 kilometres

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Host City: Innsbruck, Austria
Venue(s): Cross Country Skiing Stadium, Seefeld
Date Started: February 5, 1976
Date Finished: February 5, 1976

Gold: URS Sergey Savelyev
Silver: USA Bill Koch
Bronze: URS Ivan Garanin

Summary

Since the 1972 Games an equipment revolution had taken place in cross-country skiing. During the 1973-74 season the old wooden skis had been replaced by the new fiberglass ski. Also, a new generation of skiers had taken over, and the Soviet Union had emerged as the leading cross-country nation, not only among the women but also in the men’s events. Also other East European countries had developed top cross-country skiers, notably East Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia had won medals at the 1974 World Championships.

As usual, the 30 km race for men was the opening cross-country event. At 10 km, Norwegian Ivar Formo was in the lead, two seconds ahead of the 22-year old Soviet newcomer, Nikolay Bazhukov. At the next intermediate time, 20 km, the Soviet skiers had taken over the race. Bazhukov was in the lead, eight seconds ahead of his teammate Sergey Savelyev, with Ivan Garanin, another Soviet skier, in third place, 17 seconds behind the leader. The biggest surprise come from a young American, 20-year old Bill Koch, who had moved up to fourth place, two seconds ahead of Formo, who had dropped from first to fifth. Juha Mieto, the big Finn who had won silver at the distance at the 1974 World Championships, was also advancing in the field, moving up to sixth place. Mieto, wearing start #2, was the first of the favorites to reach the finish, skiing strongly over the last 10 km. Koch, the surprising American, was next. He had had a nine second lead over Mieto after 20 km, and he took over the first position, bettering Mieto’s time by 22 seconds. When Garanin, next of the top contenders to finish, was not able to better Koch’s time, the chances for a sensational cross-country medal for the USA began to seem possible. But Savelyev, lying second after 20 km, had the strongest finish of all and took over the lead, 28 seconds ahead of Koch. None of the late starting favorites could match the finishing times of Savelyev and Koch. Formo faded badly and ended in 11th place. Bazhyukov, the leader at 20 km, could not keep the pace over the last 10 km and finished behind Mieto in fifth place.

The new Olympic Champion Savelyev was relatively unmerited on the international circuit, his best placing was fifth at the 1975 Holmenkollen over 50 km. He was born in the Amur region in the Far East, and started serious training at the age of 19 when he was a soldier in the Moscow region. He explained that was because it was too cold to train for skiing in the winter in his childhood village, when temperatures could reach -50 degrees Celsius. Bill Koch, the surprising silver medalist, had shown a great talent as a junior, but nobody had expected him to win the first medal for an American in top-level cross-country competition.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal T I1T I1R I2T I2R
1 Sergey Savelyev 27 Soviet Union URS Gold 1-30:29.38 31:22.74 4 1-02:13.29 2
2 Bill Koch 20 United States USA Silver 1-30:57.84 31:28.70 5 1-02:38.72 4
3 Ivan Garanin 30 Soviet Union URS Bronze 1-31:09.29 31:33.12 6 1-02:22.51 3
4 Juha Mieto 26 Finland FIN 1-31:20.39 31:39.89 8 1-02:47.60 6
5 Nikolay Bazhukov 22 Soviet Union URS 1-31:33.14 31:11.66 2 1-02:05.19 1
6 Gert-Dietmar Klause 30 East Germany GDR 1-32:00.91 31:54.82 10 1-03:10.12 10
7 Albert Giger 29 Switzerland SUI 1-32:17.71 31:58.27 11 1-03:03.62 7
8 Arto Koivisto 28 Finland FIN 1-32:23.11 31:21.84 3 1-03:07.24 9
9 Odd Martinsen 33 Norway NOR 1-32:38.91 31:46.69 9 1-03:24.33 11
10 Vasily Rochev 24 Soviet Union URS 1-32:39.42 31:33.77 7 1-03:04.73 8
11 Ivar Formo 24 Norway NOR 1-33:01.68 31:09.40 1 1-02:40.62 5
12 Benny Södergren 27 Sweden SWE 1-33:10.98 32:14.17 13 1-04:13.56 13
13 Matti Pitkänen 27 Finland FIN 1-33:44.74 32:27.78 14 1-04:21.75 14
14 Georg Zipfel 22 West Germany FRG 1-34:04.71 32:10.87 12 1-04:01.83 12
15 Tommy Limby 28 Sweden SWE 1-34:32.47 32:45.06 20 1-04:41.65 15
16 Gerhard Grimmer 32 East Germany GDR 1-34:52.15 32:59.68 28 1-05:22.96 20
17 Axel Lesser 29 East Germany GDR 1-34:53.14 32:53.40 25 1-05:24.60 21
18 Franz Betz 24 West Germany FRG 1-34:55.54 32:44.45 19 1-05:13.46 18
19 Oddvar Brå 24 Norway NOR 1-34:59.57 32:58.09 26 1-04:56.59 16
20 Wiesław Gębala 25 Poland POL 1-35:09.65 32:44.13 18 1-05:05.49 17
21 Christer Johansson 25 Sweden SWE 1-35:23.27 33:11.30 32 1-05:41.26 24
22 Juhani Repo 28 Finland FIN 1-35:31.06 32:58.45 27 1-05:34.77 23
23 Magne Myrmo 32 Norway NOR 1-35:33.34 33:27.64 37 1-05:54.98 28
24 Jan Staszel 25 Poland POL 1-35:46.82 32:51.35 23 1-05:45.20 26
25 Edi Hauser 27 Switzerland SUI 1-35:50.29 32:35.78 15 1-05:19.92 19
26 Milan Jarý 23 Czechoslovakia TCH 1-35:52.55 33:07.76 30 1-06:40.62 38
27 Tim Caldwell 21 United States USA 1-35:57.97 33:12.98 34 1-06:42.19 39
28 Giulio Capitanio 23 Italy ITA 1-35:58.29 32:49.96 22 1-05:41.80 25
29 Fredel Kälin 27 Switzerland SUI 1-36:09.97 32:41.88 17 1-06:40.53 37
30 Hans Skinstad 29 Canada CAN 1-36:16.95 33:14.73 35 1-06:14.98 31
31 Bert Bullock 20 Canada CAN 1-36:24.55 33:12.35 33 1-06:17.12 32
32 Herbert Wachter 35 Austria AUT 1-36:28.48 33:31.98 39 1-06:23.61 34
33 Dieter Meinel 26 East Germany GDR 1-36:37.35 33:17.26 36 1-06:18.82 33
34 Roberto Primus 26 Italy ITA 1-36:40.33 32:51.94 24 1-05:33.06 22
35 Sven-Åke Lundbäck 28 Sweden SWE 1-36:40.86 32:46.72 21 1-05:53.24 27
36 Hans Speicher 23 West Germany FRG 1-36:52.45 33:42.01 42 1-06:55.72 40
37 Jean-Paul Vandel 24 France FRA 1-37:11.67 33:44.57 43 1-06:40.03 36
38 Renzo Chiocchetti 30 Italy ITA 1-37:15.82 32:39.77 16 1-06:13.81 30
39 Reinhold Feichter 23 Austria AUT 1-37:43.73 33:57.50 47 1-06:28.54 35
40 Walter Demel 40 West Germany FRG 1-37:44.17 33:09.51 31 1-06:13.29 29
41 Ulrico Kostner 30 Italy ITA 1-37:49.85 33:35.44 40 1-07:11.46 42
42 Edward Day 26 Canada CAN 1-38:09.10 33:44.67 44 1-07:26.03 45
43 Yves Blondeau 24 France FRA 1-38:20.86 34:03.70 49 1-07:22.84 44
44 František Šimon 22 Czechoslovakia TCH 1-38:34.16 33:41.53 41 1-07:40.96 48
45 Jiří Beran 24 Czechoslovakia TCH 1-38:39.61 33:00.65 29 1-06:57.06 41
46 Ján Michalko 28 Czechoslovakia TCH 1-38:40.28 33:47.50 45 1-07:39.22 47
47 Jerzy Koryciak 21 Poland POL 1-39:02.46 33:49.85 46 1-07:57.58 49
48 Lyubomir Toskov 30 Bulgaria BUL 1-39:10.94 33:57.63 48 1-07:14.89 43
49 Petar Pankov 30 Bulgaria BUL 1-39:27.77 34:26.44 51 1-08:11.52 50
50 Hansüli Kreuzer 25 Switzerland SUI 1-39:58.44 33:31.37 38 1-07:38.43 46
51 Werner Vogel 27 Austria AUT 1-40:16.10 34:35.27 52 1-08:46.17 52
52 Chris Haines 24 United States USA 1-40:58.43 35:16.13 54 1-10:06.81 55
53 Khristo Barzanov 19 Bulgaria BUL 1-41:05.91 34:20.02 50 1-08:41.70 51
54 Pierre Salvi 27 France FRA 1-41:06.69 34:43.59 53 1-09:10.36 53
55 Kiyoshi Hayasaka 21 Japan JPN 1-41:33.76 36:02.62 61 1-10:49.90 58
56 Reijo Puiras 23 Canada CAN 1-41:34.43 35:27.40 55 1-09:55.97 54
57 Ryoji Fujiki 24 Japan JPN 1-42:59.25 35:40.32 56 1-10:38.51 56
58 Franz Gattermann 20 Austria AUT 1-43:04.88 35:45.72 57 1-10:48.08 57
59 Bela Bodnar 23 United States USA 1-43:10.73 35:54.22 59 1-11:21.21 59
60 Maksi Jelenc 24 Yugoslavia YUG 1-44:20.25 36:18.57 63 1-11:32.23 60
61 Michel Thierry 21 France FRA 1-44:25.33 36:10.18 62 1-11:52.52 62
62 Bahri Yılmaz 20 Turkey TUR 1-45:15.78 35:49.57 58 1-11:34.44 61
63 Trausti Sveinsson 33 Iceland ISL 1-47:48.45 37:24.95 64 1-14:08.95 64
64 Halldór Matthíasson 26 Iceland ISL 1-50:02.09 35:56.11 60 1-12:11.37 63
65 Marcos Luis Jerman 19 Argentina ARG 1-50:06.99 37:55.18 65 1-15:24.42 66
66 Ahmet Ünal 19 Turkey TUR 1-51:14.75 38:09.61 66 1-15:23.63 65
67 Athanasios Koutsogiannis 19 Greece GRE 2-21:20.64 48:53.95 67 1-36:12.44 67
AC Efstathios Vogdanos 27 Greece GRE DNF
AC Władysław Podgórski 19 Poland POL DNF