Individual glory for Tyldum
Cross country skier Pål Tyldum already knew what it was to be an Olympic champion, having taken a gold medal in 1968 as part of Norway's 4x10km relay team. But he had narrowly missed out on a medal in the individual competition, finishing fourth in the 50km endurance race in Grenoble, and was desperate to put that right.
His first opportunity in Sapporo came in the 30km. Tyldum, who worked as a farmer, was last to start. In the end he got the better of fellow Norwegian Johs Harviken in the race for silver, though both men finished a long way behind the eventual champion, Vyacheslav Vedenin of the Soviet Union.
Now Tyldum turned his attention to the 50km. The field could not have been tougher. Again he was up against Vedenin, as well as the reigning Olympic champion Ole Ellefsæter and the reigning world champion Kalevi Oikarainen.
And a tough task became even tougher as Tyldum dropped two minutes behind the times of the leaders at one point. He might have been excused if at that point he had given up hopes of another medal. Instead, he reacted with incredible strength and resolve.
Tyldum fought back to chase down the surprise leader Werner Geeser, from Switzerland. Two minutes became one minute, then just 30 seconds, then much less. With 5km left, he was only just short of the Swiss skier.
Another Norwegian, Magne Myrmo, was also busy setting a good time and it was he who beat Geeser's mark and set the leading time… until Tyldum crossed the line, beating Myrmo by 14 seconds to seal the gold medal, and a one-two for his country, leaving Vedenin to take the bronze.