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Cross Country Skiing at the 1976 Innsbruck Winter Games:

Women's 5 kilometres

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Host City: Innsbruck, Austria
Venue(s): Cross Country Skiing Stadium, Seefeld
Date Started: February 7, 1976
Date Finished: February 7, 1976

Gold: FIN Helena Kivioja-Takalo
Silver: URS Raisa Smetanina
Bronze: URS Nina Fyodorova-Baldycheva

Summary

The triple gold medalist from the 1972 Games, Galina Kulakova, now aged 33, was still counted as the leading lady in cross-country skiing. At the 1974 World Championships in Falun, she matched her three gold medals from 1972. In the 1975 season Kulakova was challenged by her younger teammate, Raisa Smetanina, 10 years her junior, who had her international breakthrough at the 1974 World Championships, placing third in the 5 km race.

For the first time the 5 km was the opening distance in the Olympics for the female cross-country skiers. Wearing start #2, the third ranked skier on the Soviet team Nina Baldycheva, who in the 1972 Games competed under her maiden name Fyodorova, took an early lead, until Smetanina, starting 16th, beat her time by 23 seconds in a performance that looked to be good for a gold medal. But to the experts great surprise, the 28-year old Finn Helena Takalo, starting 3 minutes behind Smetanina, was able to beat her leading time by 1.04 seconds. The only one among the last starters who could compete with the leading times was defending champion Kulakova. She arrived too late for gold and silver, but finished 5 seconds better than Baldycheva, seemingly ready for her sixth Olympic medal. However, her doping test revealed the banned drug ephedrine, contained in a nasal spray she had used before the start. She was disqualified from the race, a warning was issued by IOC, but she was allowed to take part in the remaining two events.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal T
1 Helena Kivioja-Takalo 28 Finland FIN Gold 15:48.69
2 Raisa Smetanina 23 Soviet Union URS Silver 15:49.73
3 Nina Fyodorova-Baldycheva 28 Soviet Union URS Bronze 16:12.82
4 Hilkka Riihivuori-Kuntola 23 Finland FIN 16:17.74
5 Eva Olsson 24 Sweden SWE 16:27.15
6 Zinaida Amosova 26 Soviet Union URS 16:33.78
7 Monika Debertshäuser 23 East Germany GDR 16:34.94
8 Grete Kummen 23 Norway NOR 16:35.43
9 Marjatta Kajosmaa 38 Finland FIN 16:36.25
10 Blanka Paulů 21 Czechoslovakia TCH 16:41.65
11 Barbara Petzold 20 East Germany GDR 16:42.44
12 Veronika Hesse-Schmidt 23 East Germany GDR 16:42.86
13 Gabriela Svobodová-Sekajová 22 Czechoslovakia TCH 16:53.22
14 Lena Carlzon-Lundbäck 21 Sweden SWE 16:54.59
15 Anna Pasiarová 26 Czechoslovakia TCH 16:54.98
16 Sigrun Krause 22 East Germany GDR 16:55.54
17 Berit Aunli-Kvello 19 Norway NOR 16:57.12
18 Marit Myrmæl 22 Norway NOR 17:02.21
19 Taina Impiö 19 Finland FIN 17:03.30
20 Berit Johannessen 24 Norway NOR 17:04.25
21 Michaela Endler 30 West Germany FRG 17:08.68
22 Görel Partapuoli 21 Sweden SWE 17:20.34
23 Miroslava Jaškovská 20 Czechoslovakia TCH 17:26.48
24 Władysława Majerczyk 23 Poland POL 17:29.01
25 Anna Pawlusiak 23 Poland POL 17:29.61
26 Mikiko Terui 23 Japan JPN 17:29.65
27 Shirley Firth 22 Canada CAN 17:31.36
28 Martha Rockwell 31 United States USA 17:33.07
29 Sharon Firth 22 Canada CAN 17:35.06
30 Joan Groothuysen 18 Canada CAN 17:51.08
31 Anna Gębala-Duraj 26 Poland POL 17:58.91
32 Maria Rautio 18 Sweden SWE 17:59.25
33 Iris Schulze 17 West Germany FRG 18:04.81
34 Esther Miller 18 Canada CAN 18:05.05
35 Jana Hlavaty 34 United States USA 18:21.21
36 Maria Trebunia 19 Poland POL 18:21.64
37 Milena Kordež 22 Yugoslavia YUG 18:36.23
38 Barbara Stöckl 19 Austria AUT 18:49.16
39 Terry Porter 22 United States USA 19:36.93
40 Claudia Sprenger 17 Liechtenstein LIE 19:51.66
41 Gertrud Gasteiger 16 Austria AUT 20:14.94
42 Sylvia Schweiger 17 Austria AUT 20:17.43
AC Lynn von der Heide-Spencer-Galanes 21 United States USA DNF
AC Galina Kulakova 33 Soviet Union URS [16:07.36] DQ