Norway's Johaug wins first gold of Beijing Winter Olympics
Norway's Therese Johaug won the first gold medal of the Beijing Winter Olympics on Saturday, storming ahead of the competition in the women’s 7.5km-plus-7.5km skiathlon cross-country skiing.
Johaug, the clear favourite ahead of the event, finished the course in 44min 13.7sec to take what is expected to be the first of many cross-country skiing medals for Norway at these Games.
Natalia Nepryaeva battled it out with Austria's Teresa Stadlober for second place, with the Russian prevailing to finish 0.3 seconds ahead to clinch silver.
It was a triumphant Olympic comeback for Johaug. She won relay gold at the 2010 Olympics and a bronze and silver in 2014, but missed the 2018 Pyeongchang Games because of a doping suspension.
She had tested positive for a steroid which she said was in a lip balm given to her by a team doctor.
According to sports statisticians Gracenote, Norway are expected to take home 45 medals in Beijing, including 21 golds.
Dinigeer Yilamujiang, a 20-year-old Uyghur athlete thrust into the spotlight after being chosen by China as one of two athletes to light the cauldron in Friday's opening ceremony, finished 43rd in Saturday's race.