4 February 1972: Vyacheslav Vedenin, who was only 1.63m tall, won the 30km cross-country race by 54.15 seconds. He was the first male Soviet skier to win a gold medal in an individual event. Six days later he added a bronze medal in the 50km contest, having previously gained a silver medal in 1968. This left Vedenin with one more race: the 4x10km relay.
61.5 seconds behind, finishing 9 seconds in advance
Four years earlier, at the 1968 Winter Olympics, Vedenin had anchored the Soviet relay team and missed a bronze medal when Finland's Eero Mäntyranta passed him just as they reached the finish line. He went on to win a silver medal in the 50km competition. In Sapporo, Vedenin was again chosen to be the Soviet anchor. This time he took over 61½ seconds behind Johs Harviken of Norway. Vedenin gradually closed the gap, overtook Harviken one kilometre from the finish, and went on to win by just slightly more than 9 seconds.