Dario Cologna Wins Gold Medal for Cross-Country Olympics 2018 15KM Individual

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistFebruary 16, 2018

Switzerland's Dario Cologna celebrates as he wins gold at the finish line during the men's 15km cross country freestyle at the Alpensia cross country ski centre during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 16, 2018 in Pyeongchang.  / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE        (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

Switzerland's Dario Cologna won a historic third successive Olympic gold medal in the 15-kilometre men's individual cross-country at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games on Friday.

The champion in Vancouver, Canada, in 2010 and Sochi, Russia, in 2014, the 31-year-old produced a dominant performance in South Korea, posting a winning time of 33 minutes, 43.9 seconds.

Norway's Simen Hegstad Krueger finished 18.3 seconds back to claim the silver medal. Russian athlete Denis Spitsov produced a brilliant finish to complete the podium, taking bronze by coming home in 34:06.9.

The full result can be found at the Games' official site.

Here is the updated medal table following the action at the Alpensia Cross-Country Centre:

There were concerns Cologna may not have the legs to claim his third 15-kilometre gold medal, having picked up an unprecedented fourth Tour de Ski title earlier this season.

It was also a hugely strong field, including a superlative quartet of Norwegians, three of whom had locked out the podium in the men's skiathlon on Sunday.

However, going off as the penultimate seed with the majority of his competitors ahead of him on the gruelling course, Cologna set a blistering pace from the start.

Krueger, the skiathlon gold medallist, was the pacesetter at the six-kilometre checkpoint, but he was soon overtaken by fellow Norwegian Hans Christer Holund.

Cologna then went more than 10 seconds faster than Holund at six kilometres to set himself up for victory.

He had a comfortable lead at the halfway point, and as Cologna continued to better all the competitors in front of him, the only remaining threat to his gold-medal hopes was the one remaining seed behind him on the course: Maurice Manificat.

But when the Frenchman went through the 9.8-kilometre checkpoint 23 seconds down on Colgona, it was clear the game was up barring an unlikely turn of events.

There was to be no late surprise, as Cologna stormed over the finish line to claim the fourth Olympic gold of his career.

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