The first medals of the 2018 Winter Olympics were up for grabs in the women’s skiathlon — a 15-kilometre skiing haul that combines endurance with power.
The two Aussies in action, Barbara Jezersek (39th) and Jess Yeaton (50th), were both pleased to finish in the top 50 but were a long way away from the medals.
Jezersek was competing for Australia for the first time, having competed for Slovenia in Sochi and Vancouver, and still has the 10km and 15km free ski events to come, while Yeaton said her result was “better than expected”.
In the men’s speed skating, there was chaos and controversy in Andy Jung’s first heat.
He was involved in a collision that saw two competitors get wiped out of the race, before finishing fourth of the remaining skaters.
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That was as far as Jung would go though, with a fifth-place finish in the first semi-final not enough to earn him a spot in either the A or B final.
Alex Ferlazzo finished his second run in the men’s luge 22nd, and will look to improve in run three tonight.
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AEDT = Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time which is 11 hours ahead of UTC (Greenwich Mean Time)
CROSS COUNTRY SKIING: Australia’s Barbara Jezersek and Jess Yeaton have finished in the top 50 in the women’s Skiathlon at Alpensia Cross Country Centre.
In what was the first medal event of PyeongChang 2018, Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla took the gold medal in under 41 minutes, ahead of Norway’s Marit Bjoergen (+7.8 seconds) and Krista Pamakoski of Finland (+10.01 seconds)
The Women's Cross Country Skiathlon:🥇Charlotte Kalla 🇸🇪🥈Marit Bjoergen 🇳🇴🥉Krista Parmakoski 🇫🇮 pic.twitter.com/ChOqTX4PlC
Jezersek, at her third Games but first for Australia, claimed 39th with a time of 44:39.3 (+3:54.4).
31-year-old Jezersek said she felt nervous heading into today’s opening cross country event as it “was my first race for my new country,” but was happy to have the first run under her belt.
“The Classic part was one of the hardest again… but when I finally got my energy back and when I changed to free skiing it was a different story and I felt myself again,” she said.
“But I am still happy with 39th. It’s not my best result but I still have plan B – the 10km [free ski] and 15km, so I am looking forward to those ones.”
Congratulations @JezersekBarbara – the first Aussie across the line in the Women's Skiathlon in 39th! 🙌🙌🙌🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺
26-year-old rookie Yeaton was “really happy” with her first Olympic hit out.
“The classic was a little easier which was great for me, and our skis were really good, so the team did a great job with that. Then I switched to skating [free technique] and I kept skiing where I was.
“I was really hoping for that [top 50]. I was ranked 59th and I was worried I would end up closer to the back then that, so I was really happy to get a couple of people in front of me at least.”
Featuring 7.5km in the Classic style before a transition to change to Freestyle skis and another 7.5km, Jezersek was in 41st at the exchange and Yeaton 51st.
Australia’s Cross Country Team is back in action tomorrow when Sochi 2014 Olympian Callum Watson takes to the men’s 15km + 15km Skiathlon.
One of the most highly anticipated events of the 2018 Games will dominate Phoenix Snow Park today when the men’s snowboard halfpipe goes down.
Aussie sprinters take on gruelling Alpensia course 13 February 2018 (AEDT)
Australia’s cross country contingent have take on one of the toughest Sprint courses they’ve ever competed on in Alpensia.