PyeongChang 2018 Day One recap: Kalla bags first gold of Games as competition gets underway in Korea

PyeongChang 2018 Day One recap: Kalla bags first gold of Games as competition gets underway in Korea

Charlotte Kalla claimed the opening gold of the games in the women's Cross County Skiathlon event in PyeongChang

Tom Hiscott

Competition is finally underway in PyeongChang, with five gold medals handed out on the opening day of the 2018 Winter Olympics

With Korean relationships, and Russia's doping bans leading the headlines heading into the event, sport can finally hit the back pages ahead of 16 days of exhilarating action. 

Kalla takes first gold ahead of the games following final lap magic in Skiathlon

In the opening medal event of the PyeongChang winter games, Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla became the first gold medallist in South Korea, after winning the women’s skiathlon Cross Country race.

In an event which encompasses 7.5k’m of classic and free skiing, Kalla attacked at the beginning of the final lap to surge clear of her compatriots before storming to gold.

Norway’s Marit Bjørgen took silver to become the most decorated female winter Olympian of all-time, claiming her 11th medal in total, while Finland’s Krista Parmakoski taking home a well-earned bronze.

Bjoergen, Kalla and Parmakoski were the first three medalists of the PyeongChang Games (image source: Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Dahlmeier hits perfect 10/10 on way to Biathlon sprint gold

With a potential of gaining six gold medals over the next couple of weeks, Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier made the perfect start to her Biathlon campaign, grabbing gold in the women’s 7.5km sprint.

Dahlmeier was only one of three biathletes to hit all ten of the rifle targets giving her victory by 24.2 seconds ahead of Norway’s Marte Olsbu, with Veronika Vitkova of the Czech Republic rounding out the medallists.

Laura Dahlmeier hit all ten targets on her way to Biathlon sprint gold (image source: Al Bello/Getty Images)

The win sets up Dahlmeier perfectly for Monday’s 10km pursuit race, where she will begin with the lead she gained over Olsbu and the remainder of today’s racers, with the time difference at the finish line today dictating the pursuit start times.

Germany finished the opening day top of the medal table, after Andreas Wellinger leapt for victory in the men’s Normal Hill Ski Jumping competition ahead of the Norwegian duo of Johann Andre Forfang and Robert Johansson.

Lim Hyo-Jun hands home fans opening day gold in short-track speed skating

Following an exemplary Opening Ceremony on Friday, the excellent feeling in Korea continued onto Saturday thanks to a gold medal in the short-track Speed Skating, courtesy of Lim Hyo-Jun in the men’s 1500 metres.

In a final which saw nine men set up on the start line, Lim held off the challenge of Sjinkie Knegt from the Netherlands to bring the loudest cheers of these games so far. Semen Elistratov came home in third to give the Olympic Athletes of Russia their first medal of these games, with Canadian favourite Charles Hamelin penalised during the final to finish ninth.

In the longer form of speed skating, the Dutch laid down a marker for the remainder of the competition after Carlkin Achtereekte led home a 1-2-3 in the women’s 3000m race. Ireen Wust finished second, just 0.08 seconds behind her compatriot, with Antoinette de Jong securing bronze to complete a clean-sweep of the medals.

Content Christie comes through first hurdle unscathed

With her well-known Sochi turmoil now very much in the rear-view mirror, Elise Christie made the perfect start to her competition, winning her 500m heat in a time of 42.872 seconds.

The Scot led from the front during the 4 ½ lap race to qualify second fastest overall ahead of the quarter-finals of the first of three individual event’s she will contend in over the next fortnight.

Elise Christie leads the way during her heat on the opening day of competition in Korea (image source: Richard Heathcote - Getty Images)

There was no such luck for Britain’s snowboarders, with Jamie Nicholls, Billy Morgan and Rowan Coultas all falling to reach the slopestyle final. The Canadian duo of Max Parrot and Mark McMorris qualified with the two highest scores ahead of Sunday’s final.

Day one also saw the start of the men’s Luge, and double-reigning champion Felix Loch has put himself in perfect position halfway through the event. The 28-year-old German overturned a 1st run deficit to lead Austrian competitor David Gleirscher by 0.188 heading into the third and fourth run’s which will take place on Sunday.