23/04/2024
Norway’s mixed biathlon team celebrates another gold medal at the Winter Olympics (Photo: International Biathlon Union)

Day one of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics saw the first medals up for grabs in a day not short of drama.

The first six gold medals were handed out on day one, with Norway leading the medal tally with two gold medals next to its name. Whilst all eyes were on those claiming the medals, there was plenty of eye-catching moments to take place outside of the medals.

Competing in her eighth Winter Olympics, German speed-skater Claudia Pechstein became the oldest female Winter Olympian when she took part in the 3000 metres speed skating at the age of 49.

Women’s Skiathlon

The first medals up for grabs at Beijing were for the Women’s 15km skiathlon. It was clear who the winner would be well before the end of the race, with Norwegian Therese Johaug dominating the event.

Johaug was able to soak in the final kilometre of the race as she lead by a minute as the skiathlon entered its climax. The 33-year-old’s smile was visible for the majority of the final stretch as she began to celebrate when she realised she couldn’t be caught.

Natalya Nepryayeva claimed her maiden medal in an individual Olympic event, finishing second, 30 seconds behind Johaug. Whilst Teresa Stadlober claimed her first ever medal in her third Winter Olympics, finishing a close third.

Gold: Therese Johaug (Norway)

Silver: Natalya Nepryayeva (Russian Olympic Committee)

Bronze: Teresa Stadlober (Austria)

Biathlon – Mixed Relay 4x6km

Norway claimed its second gold medal in this event, after winning the inaugural 4x6km mixed relay in 2014. The most successful country in Olympic Winter Games history continued its dominance as they became the only country to have won two gold medals so far in Beijing.

Norway is the only country to make the podium of this event on every occasion, having finished runners-up in 2018 to go with its two golds.

France claimed silver in the event, four years after winning gold in PyeongChang. While the Russian Olympic Committee claimed its first medal in the mixed relay.

Gold: Norway

Silver: France

Bronze: Russian Olympic Committee

Men’s Moguls

Four Aussies were in action in the men’s moguls in what was a highly contested event. A changing of the guard occurred when 21-year-old Walter Wallberg edged out Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury to win Sweden’s first ever medal in the men’s moguls.

Wallberg had the final run of the night and had the almighty task of scoring above 82.18 to defeat Kingsbury, who won gold in 2018. However, under immense pressure he pulled off a brilliant run at high-speed to claim gold. Ikuma Horishima rounded out the podium with an impressive score of 81.48 to win his first Olympic medal.

Gold: Walter Wallberg (Sweden)

Silver: Mikael Kingsbury (Canada)

Bronze: Ikuma Horishima (Japan)

Women’s Ski Jumping – Normal Hill

For the first time in Olympic history, Slovenia claimed two medals in the one event. Ursa Bogataj won gold for Slovenia, while Nika Kriznar won the bronze medal.

Splitting the Slovenian pair was German Katharina Althaus, who also claimed the silver medal for the event in PyeongChang. Bogataj became just the second Slovenian to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics, Tina Maze being the first.

Gold: Ursa Bogataj

Silver: Katharina Althaus

Bronze: Nika Kriznar

Speed Skating – Women’s 3000m

Irene Schouten won gold in the women’s 3000m, setting a new Olympics record along the way. This was Schouten’s second Olympic medal after winning bronze in the mass start in 2018.

The Dutch speedskater set a time of 3:56.93, beating the previous Olympic record set by skating legend Claudia Pechstein in 2002.

Francesca Lollobrigida claimed the silver medal with a time of 3:58.06, while Isabelle Weidemann won the bronze medal with a time of 3:59.64. The current world record holder, Martina Sablikova, finished in fourth place.

Gold: Irene Schouten

Silver: Francesca Lollobrigida

Bronze: Isabelle Weidemann

Short Track Speed Skating Mixed Relay

By far, the most chaotic and action-packed event of the day, the short track mixed relay had plenty of drama.

China had looked like it would miss out on a place in the final completely after finishing third in the semi-final. However, the judges ruled that the USA team had interfered with China during one of the many chaotic exchanges during the race.

As a result, USA were disqualified and the host nation booked a place in the last four. The four nations going for gold were China, Italy, Canada and Hungary and the final would be just as dramatic as the rounds beforehand.

The final got off to a close start with all four nations staying within a close distance of each other, before disaster struck as Florence Brunelle of Team Canada and Petra Jaszapati of Team Hungary collided, ending both countries chances of winning gold.

Wu Dajing of China looked set to lead the hosts to a certain gold as he held a comfortable lead with just two laps to go. However a brilliant fightback by Pietro Sighel set up a grandstand finale into the final corner.

Dajing would hold on for gold by 0.016 seconds, giving China its first gold medal of the Beijing 2022 games.

Gold: China

Silver: Italy

Bronze: Hungary

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