Host City: Vancouver, Canada
Venue(s): Whistler Olympic Park, Whistler
Date Started: February 25, 2010
Date Finished: February 25, 2010
Finland had won the last two World Championships, with Germany second both times, but Finnish skiers had struggled in Vancouver. Norway was led by Marit Bjørgen, who had already won two golds at Whistler. Anna Dahlberg-Olsson put Sweden into the lead on the first leg, with Norway second and Germany third. Finland was back in 12th place and seemed out of the medal race. Justyna Kowalczyk had by far the fastest second leg to pull Poland from 10th into the lead, with Italy second and Norway third. Germany had dropped back to sixth while Finland had moved up to seventh. By the end of the third leg Kristin Størmer Steira had moved Norway fractionally into the lead ahead of Silvia Rupil (ITA), with Germany and Finland tied for third within 20 seconds of the leaders, as the Finns made a remarkable recovery from their disastrous opening leg. Italy’s anchor Sabina Valbusa was unable to keep up with the pace of Norway’s Bjørgen and fell back. Bjørgen was never seriously challenged and brought the Norwegians home to the gold medal in a time of 55:19.5. [Claudia Nystad] (GER) and Aino-Kaisa Saarinen (FIN) both overtook the Italians, before Nystad pulled away at the end to take the silver for Germany, with Finland winning bronze. In winning as part of the Norwegian team Bjørgen claimed her third gold medal of the Games. As she entered the stadium on her anchor leg, she was far enough ahead that she picked up a Norwegian flag and skiied without poling to the line, while she carried the flag on high.