Therese Johaug of Norway won the first medal of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, placing first in the women’s 15K skiathlon.
Johaug, a 14-time world champion, was considered a favorite going into the event and delivered on that expectation. The medal is Johaug’s fourth Olympic medal and second gold after winning a relay gold at the Vancouver games in 2010.
Johaug was suspended from the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics after doping allegations, which she has said was a mistake by her doctor.
The Norwegian opened a commanding lead after the halfway point and finished over thirty seconds ahead of the ROC’s Natalia Nepryaeva. Austria’s Teresa Stadlober nabbed the bronze medal.
Team USA star Jessie Diggins finished sixth in the event, just over 50 seconds off of first. Diggins shot to fame after her historic finish at the 2018 games, where she won Team USA’s first-ever gold medal in cross-country skiing after a nailbiter in the women’s team sprint.