Switzerland’s Dario Cologna produced a remarkable show of power and endurance on 16 February at the Alpensia Cross-Country Centre, as he became the first ever cross-country skier to win the men’s 15km event three times.
In doing so the 31-year-old showed himself to be a supreme master of all styles. In Vancouver, back in 2010, he had won over the distance skiing free style; four years later in Sochi he triumphed again when the race was contested using classic, and at PyeongChang 2018 it was back to free style.
Four golds and counting
The Swiss was fastest at 6km mark and remained at the front until the finish. Simen Hegstad Krueger (NOR) – gold medallist in the skiathlon five days earlier – took silver, crossing the line 18.3 seconds after Cologna, while making up the podium was Denis Spitsov (OAR), who finished 23 seconds off the pace.
His latest victory takes Cologna's overall tally to four Olympic golds, as he also won the skiathlon at Sochi 2014.
“It was just amazing,” said Cologna. “It was really hard work and I really wanted to win again here after Vancouver and Sochi. I still cannot believe I am the winner of the gold medal.”
Having drawn level with ski jumping great Simon Amman on four golds, Cologna’s victory means he is now just one gold medal away from becoming the most successful Swiss Olympian of all time.
Three times in this event and four gold medals. Now I am together with Simon Amman, the only Swiss who won four times in the Olympics. To write a little bit of history, it is not bad.Dario Cologna Switzerland
“To win in three different Olympics is very hard work over many years. I had two not-so-easy years, the last two, but really wanted to be back. It feels very good to be back on top.”
In a different league
Meanwhile silver medallist Krueger was quick to pay homage to his Swiss rival. “Dario was in another league today,” said the Norwegian. “He was amazingly strong. To take a silver medal is a victory for me.
“It is a bit unreal. The whole championship has been a dream. I had a small hope to maybe take a medal but then standing here with one gold and one silver medal out of two competitions is, what can I say, it is unbelievable.”