Host City: Torino, Italy
Venue(s): Ski Jumping Stadium, Pragelato Plan
Date Started: February 14, 2006
Date Finished: February 14, 2006
Format: Two-woman teams, each skiing three alternate legs of approximately 1,500 metres.
This event had débuted at the World Championships only in 2005, and was making its first Olympic appearance in Torino. The Olympic format consisted of teams of two skiers, skiing six legs of about 1,500 metres. In theory a skier could ski between three to six legs, but in reality, all teams alternated legs, with each sprinter skiing three legs. The event consists of a semi-final round advancing teams to a final of 10 teams. At Torino the event was skied classically, while in Oberstdorf, at the 2005 Worlds, it had been a freestyle event. The medalists in 2005 had been Norway, Finland, and Russia, in that order. On the opening leg, Canada’s Sara Renner snapped a pole and was handed a new one by Norwegian coach Bjørnar Håkensmoen. She was able to maintain contact on her leg, and Beckie Scott briefly took the leg for Canada. Eventually they were passed by Sweden, who won the gold medal, with Canada getting silver.
Finland won bronze as Norway was shut out of the medals. Many Norwegians were upset by Håkensmoen’s selfless act, which may have cost his team a medal, but Canada responded by sending numerous letters and thank-you notes to the Norwegian Embassy. Renner gave Håkensmoen a bottle of wine to thank him, but a Canadian businessman, Michael Page, donated 8,000 cans of Canadian maple syrup to the Norwegian Olympic Committee to express his gratitude.