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Cross Country Skiing at the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Games:

Men's 50 kilometres

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Host City: Lake Placid, United States
Venue(s): Mt. Van Hoevenberg Recreation Area, Lake Placid
Date Started: February 23, 1980
Date Finished: February 23, 1980

Gold: URS Nikolay Zimyatov
Silver: FIN Juha Mieto
Bronze: URS Aleksandr Zavyalov

Summary

Soviet fielded a strong team for the last cross-country event of the 1980 Winter Olympics, the 50 km race. Both Sergey Savelyev, gold medalist in 30 km in both the 1976 Winter Olympics and the 1978 World Championships, and Nikolay Zimyatov, newly crowned Olympic gold medalist from the 30 km race nine days earlier, were among the favorites, together with another Soviet skier, Yevgeny Belyayev, silver medalist at the distance in the 1978 World Championships. Their most dangerous rival was expected to be Sven-Åke Lundbäck from Sweden, the reigning World Champion. Finland’s Juha Mieto was not considered a long distance specialist. His first place at the 1973 Holmenkollen in the 50 km was his only major victory at the distance, but he had shown great form and had to be considered. Norway’s defending Olympic Champion Ivar Formo had quit top-level sport at the age of 26 after the 1978 season to give priority to his engineering studies, leaving Norway’s hopes to Lars Erik Eriksen, fifth in the 1978 World Championships, and Oddvar Brå, a gifted skier who had a tendency to disappoint at the big events.

At the first intermediate time at 12.5 km, the fourth and least known skier on the Soviet team, the 24-year old Moscow-born Aleksandr Zavyalov, had taken a clear lead, almost half a minute ahead of Savelyev. With Zimyatov in fourth and Belyayev in fifth place, it looked very promising for the Soviet skiers. At 17 km Zavyalov was still leading, now with Zimyatov second, 33 seconds behind. Jean-Pierre Pierrat, a 27-year old Frenchman who had taken the bronze medal at the distance in the 1978 World Championships, had moved up from 13th to third. Pierrat was a respected marathon skier, winning France’s first ever Nordic skiing medal, and had also won the prestigious Vasaloppet in 1978. At the halfway point the brave Zavyalov was still in the lead, but now Zimyatov was only three seconds behind. They were already in a class of their own. The skier in third place, Finland’s Asko Autio, was 1:17 behind. Savelyev was still fourth, Pierrat now dropping down to sixth. At 42 km, Zimyatov had made his move, taking the lead from his struggling teammate Zavyalov and building up a one and a half minute lead. Skiing fastest of all behind Zimyatov, Juha Mieto had advanced from eighth to third, 40 seconds behind Zayvalov and 40 seconds ahead of Savelyev, still in fourth position. Eriksen had moved up to fifth, only 18 seconds behind. Autio had lost two minutes to his closest rival and had dropped to seventh, and Pierrat was also fading.

In the final part of the race Zimyatov extended his lead in a most impressive way, winning his third gold medal at Lake Placid by a margin of almost three minutes. Juha Mieto skied a well-judged race and took another silver medal ahead of Zavyalov, who struggled at the end but was able to edge out Eriksen by 1.5 seconds for the bronze. With Salvelyev and Belyayev in fifth and sixth place it was a triumphant day for the Soviet skiers. Brå and Lundbäck gave away too much in the first half of the race, but finished decently as seventh and eighth. With his Olympic victory over 50 km, Nikolay Zimyatov was definitively the king of cross-country skiing at the 1980 Winter Games, winning three out of a possible four gold medals.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal T I1T I1R I2T I2R I3T I3R I4T I4R
1 Nikolay Zimyatov 24 Soviet Union URS Gold 2-27:24.60 36:10.61 4 50:41.09 2 1-12:38.72 2 2-04:44.53 1
2 Juha Mieto 30 Finland FIN Silver 2-30:20.52 36:41.78 11 51:52.78 9 1-14:10.68 8 2-06:59.40 3
3 Aleksandr Zavyalov 24 Soviet Union URS Bronze 2-30:51.52 35:26.67 1 50:08.43 1 1-12:35.26 1 2-06:19.78 2
4 Lars Erik Eriksen 25 Norway NOR 2-30:53.03 36:40.17 10 51:40.57 7 1-14:06.59 7 2-07:57.88 5
5 Sergey Savelyev 31 Soviet Union URS 2-31:15.82 36:04.01 2 51:17.73 4 1-13:57.35 4 2-07:39.74 4
6 Yevgeny Belyayev 25 Soviet Union URS 2-31:21.19 36:33.16 5 51:54.17 11 1-14:34.04 10 2-08:37.84 6
7 Oddvar Brå 28 Norway NOR 2-31:46.83 36:39.75 9 51:55.82 12 1-14:24.59 9 2-08:56.66 8
8 Sven-Åke Lundbäck 32 Sweden SWE 2-31:59.65 36:42.25 12 51:58.31 13 1-14:56.63 14 2-09:12.99 9
9 Asko Autio 26 Finland FIN 2-32:25.57 36:07.75 3 51:24.13 5 1-13:52.65 3 2-08:52.26 7
10 Franz Renggli 27 Switzerland SUI 2-33:27.56 36:56.35 15 52:02.45 14 1-14:47.98 12 2-09:54.36 12
11 Matti Pitkänen 31 Finland FIN 2-34:09.04 36:46.53 14 52:22.31 16 1-14:52.72 13 2-10:12.53 13
12 Jean-Paul Pierrat 27 France FRA 2-34:13.07 36:42.68 13 51:12.99 3 1-14:02.10 6 2-09:42.45 11
13 Bill Koch 24 United States USA 2-34:31.62 36:34.33 6 51:36.99 6 1-14:01.38 5 2-09:36.82 10
14 Heinz Gähler 27 Switzerland SUI 2-35:11.20 37:29.26 21 53:07.55 22 1-16:20.65 21 2-11:40.13 17
15 Anders Bakken 24 Norway NOR 2-35:33.26 37:20.07 19 52:47.70 20 1-16:00.40 19 2-11:16.41 15
16 Thomas Eriksson 20 Sweden SWE 2-36:33.85 37:26.89 20 52:40.45 19 1-15:24.39 18 2-11:08.33 14
17 Józef Łuszczek 24 Poland POL 2-36:38.05 36:37.51 8 51:53.63 10 1-14:57.41 15 2-11:38.54 16
18 Pertti Teurajärvi 28 Finland FIN 2-36:44.08 36:36.70 7 51:50.09 8 1-14:37.86 11 2-12:01.10 19
19 Giulio Capitanio 27 Italy ITA 2-37:01.40 37:43.55 28 52:57.82 21 1-16:32.49 23 2-13:29.70 22
20 Jim Galanes 23 United States USA 2-37:09.64 37:17.96 18 52:28.37 18 1-16:06.84 20 2-11:43.55 18
21 Peter Zipfel 23 West Germany FRG 2-37:09.74 37:40.37 27 53:25.31 26 1-17:04.62 28 2-13:06.88 21
22 Dieter Notz 24 West Germany FRG 2-37:47.41 37:12.16 17 52:11.80 15 1-15:19.90 17 2-13:00.44 20
23 Jiří Beran 28 Czechoslovakia TCH 2-37:51.58 37:33.43 23 53:14.52 23 1-16:28.24 22 2-14:08.32 27
24 Kjell Jakob Sollie 26 Norway NOR 2-38:06.07 37:31.72 22 53:18.70 24 1-16:59.63 27 2-13:44.09 25
25 Roberto Primus 30 Italy ITA 2-38:10.10 37:34.12 24 53:22.43 25 1-16:43.02 25 2-13:55.13 26
26 Alf-Gerd Deckert 24 East Germany GDR 2-38:13.53 37:44.28 29 53:31.67 28 1-16:32.52 24 2-13:43.01 24
27 František Šimon 26 Czechoslovakia TCH 2-39:53.03 37:45.37 31 53:42.97 31 1-17:33.14 30 2-15:17.43 29
28 Franz Schöbel 23 West Germany FRG 2-40:25.96 37:44.81 30 53:31.17 27 1-17:12.34 29 2-14:44.31 28
29 Josef Schneider 22 West Germany FRG 2-40:49.68 37:50.70 32 53:35.84 29 1-16:53.10 26 2-15:30.66 30
30 Jiří Švub 21 Czechoslovakia TCH 2-40:53.94 37:36.32 25 53:37.66 30 1-17:34.55 31 2-15:46.93 32
31 Michel Thierry 25 France FRA 2-41:38.26 38:12.01 34 53:56.42 33 1-17:36.17 32 2-15:42.90 31
32 Gianfranco Polvara 22 Italy ITA 2-41:51.58 38:05.72 33 54:10.82 34 1-18:03.85 33 2-16:43.51 33
33 Stan Dunklee 25 United States USA 2-42:20.20 37:05.94 16 52:26.26 17 1-15:06.41 16 2-13:38.20 23
34 Erik Gustavsson 23 Sweden SWE 2-43:39.93 37:39.61 26 53:52.83 32 1-18:04.59 34 2-17:51.78 34
35 Paul Fargeix 24 France FRA 2-45:39.70 39:23.79 35 55:30.88 35 1-19:34.27 35 2-19:49.48 35
36 Luvsandashiin Dorj 36 Mongolia MGL 2-48:22.97 41:18.11 37 58:15.16 37 1-23:03.32 37 2-23:17.70 37
37 Shiro Sato 26 Japan JPN 2-48:33.02 39:47.65 36 56:17.34 36 1-21:03.12 36 2-22:23.65 36
AC Philippe Poirot 21 France FRA DNF
AC Doug Peterson 26 United States USA DNF
AC Maurilio De Zolt 29 Italy ITA DNF
AC Stig Jäder 25 Sweden SWE DNF
AC Gaudenz Ambühl 25 Switzerland SUI DNF
AC Konrad Hallenbarter 26 Switzerland SUI DNF