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Justyna Kowalczyk wins 30 km Classic Mass Start


Sun, Feb  28, 2010 - By FIS

Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland won the last ladies' competition in Whistler in a time of 1:30:33h. In the finish she edged out Marit Bjoergen by a few centimeters. Aino Kaisa Saarinen of Finland claimed Bronze medal, finishing 1:05min behind the winner.

Marit Bjoergen attacked at 25.0 km and created a gap. Justyna Kowalczyk managed to close it and last kilometers the two were skiing together. After the last downhill Kowalczyk tried to attack but Bjoergen was able to catch up. After the last curve they were fighting head to head. Justyna Kowalczyk had a bit more in the finnish and captured Gold medal.

Kowalczyk completed with this victory her Games medal set and took the first ever gold in Cross-Country skiing at the Olympic Winter Games for a Polish female athlete. "I think that fact that I won the first gold for Cross-Country skier from Poland is very important. It is also the second Gold medal in the history of Poland too [in Olympic Winter Games competition]. I think everyone will be like, 'Wow'. During the race, the Norwegian girls made an attack at kilometer 20, I like a fast race and they animated to make the race fast. On the last kilometers I didn't thought so much, only fight, fight, fight," said the winner after the race.

Also Marit Bjoergen, who earned her 5th medal completed her medal set. "To go home with five medals feels really good. Today Justyna was just stronger. I knew it would be tough as the track was not fast - this conditions made the 30 km really hard."

Aino Kaisa Saarinen, who won the only individual medal for Finland so far in Cross-Country at this Games, was really satisfied with her performance:" I'm happy with the bronze medal. It was a hard fight, but I made a plan. Three times I changed the skis. I saved the last change for the last five kilometres because I knew I had to have a good glide there. We knew, and we have seen in this competition, when you come into the stadium you have to have good glide."