Norwegian Ragnhild Haga produced a storming second lap to clinch the women's 10 kilometres freestyle title as compatriot Marit Bjørgen won her 12th Olympic medal after a dead heat with Finland's Krista Parmakoski for bronze at Pyeongchang 2018.
The 27-year-old had never topped the podium at the Winter Olympics or World Championships before but ended that record in style by finishing the course in a time of 25min 00.5sec at the Alpensia Cross-Country Centre.
Haga proved too strong for the rest of the field, crossing the line 20.3 seconds in front of recently-crowned skiathlon champion Charlotte Kalla of Sweden.
Bjørgen, whose silver in the skiathlon saw her break the record for most Winter Olympic medals won by a woman, and Parmakoski could not be separated and both were awarded bronze.
Haga's triumph was the first women's gold medal for cross-country powerhouses Norway.
Kalla had come into the race as the strong favourite but was unable to match her rival for speed as her second lap decided the destination of the Olympic crown.
"Before the last downhill, I was thinking I can't lose this now," said Haga.
"I just need to stay on my feet and make the last downhill and turn.
"I was very afraid that Charlotte was going to be fast in the end of the race so I needed to speed up.
"I am very happy.
"When she crossed the line I maybe realised that this was going to be my day.
"When Charlotte crossed the line, they said that there are no more threats.
"But I still didn't understand it."
The victory for Haga secured Norway's fifth gold medal of the Winter Olympic Games here and second of the day following Aksel Lund Svindal's victory in the downhill earlier.
They will be hoping to add to that tally when the men are due to compete in the 15km freestyle tomorrow.