Moa Lundgren led home a Swedish one-two to claim the first-ever Winter Youth Olympic Games cross-country cross gold medal as she powered to a dominant victory in the women’s free race here today.
The Swedish competitor blew the rest of the field out of the water, taking the lead early and gradually building what proved to be an insurmountable advantage as she crossed the line in 3min 26.5sec.
Compatriot Johanna Hagstroem came through to clinch the silver medal in 3:28.09, while Laura Chamiot Maitral of France rounded off the podium as she secured bronze.
In the men’s free race, Magnus Kim of South Korea, who has a Norwegian father and a South Korean mother, took the title, clocking 2:59.56 and edging Norway’s Thomas Helland Larsen, who finished more than a second adrift of the winning time.
Larsen’s silver medal ensured he had the honour of becoming the host’s first medallist at Lillehammer 2016.
Lauri Mannila of Finland claimed the bronze medal.
The cross-country cross event was making its debut on the Winter Youth Olympic Games programme and the smattering of supporters in attendance were treated to a thrilling spectacle over the course of the morning.
Following the qualification phase, three semi-finals were held in both the women’s and men’s events, with each race containing a field of 10 athletes.
The top two in each semi-final guaranteed themselves a place in the gold medal race, with the other four places in the final going to the fastest runners-up.
Lundgren was in supreme form from the outset, navigating the tricky course featuring jumps and hill climbs, as well as a zig-zag section, with consummate ease.
She won her semi-final at a canter, clearly leaving enough in the tank for an assault on the title.
it paid dividends as she cruised to the Lillehammer 2016 cross-country cross crown.
Kim, meanwhile, also looked in good form as he followed Lundgren’s lead by clinching first place in the second semi-final before he was the only athlete to go under the three minute mark in the gold medal race to secure a dominant triumph.