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Charlotte Kalla of Sweden wins gold in women's 10-kilometer freestyle cross-country skiing

February 15, 2010 |  2:09 pm


Charlotte Kalla of Sweden led from start to finish to win the women's 10-kilometer freestyle cross-country race at the Vancouver Games for her first Olympic gold medal.

Kalla led by more than 12 seconds with less than three kilometers to go in the interval-start race and then held off Kristina Smigun-Vaehi's strong finish to win in 24 minutes, 58.4 seconds.

“I feel a bit confused,” the 22-year-old Swede said. “It's going to take a while for this to sink in. ... I can't believe I'm a gold medalist.”

Caitlin Compton of Minneapolis came in 30th, nearly two minutes behind Kalla, for the best finish by an American in the event since Judy Rabinowitz placed 26th at the 1984 Games in Sarajevo.

-- Houston Mitchell in Vancouver

Photo: The three medal winners. Credit: Franck Fife / Associated Press