Cross Country Skiing at the 1994 Winter Olympics

Dates 13 – 27 February 1994
Medal Events 10

The 1994 cross-country events were held at the Birkerbeineren Ski Stadium, the famous Nordic ski centre in Lillehammer, located in Lillehammer Olympiapark. There was only a slight change to the program. The men and women each skied the same five events and distances. But in Albertville, the longest distance individual races (30 km for women, 50 km for men) had been skied freestyle, and the other non-pursuit individual races skied classically. But in Lillehammer, the long-distances were changed to classical style, while the middle-distance races (15 km for women, 30 km for men), were changed to freestyle. The Fédération International de Ski (FIS) has since maintained a policy alternating the two longest individual distance races between classical and freestyle from one Winter Olympics to the next, while keeping the shortest distance classical, followed by a freestyle pursuit based on the results of the classical sprint.

The two dominant Norwegians from Albertville, Vegard Ulvang and Bjørn Dæhlie, were back. Ulvang was now slightly past his prime and he had lost a lot of training time in January when his brother was skiing home only to get lost in a blizzard and disappear. He was presumed dead but not found prior to Lillehammer. Ulvang skipped training and went off in search of him. His brother’s body was found in a lake a few months after the Lillehammer Olympics ended. Dæhlie was by now the best cross-country skier in the world and won four medals in Lillehammer, as he did in Albertville, and would repeat in Nagano. This included two gold in the 10 km and pursuit, and silvers in the 30 km and relay.

The men’s relay has been called “The Great Race,” and is considered one of the greatest competitions of any Winter Olympics. It was a battle between the home favorite Norwegians and the Italian team, and was contested over the home of cross-country, the Birkerbeineren Skistadion in front of 1,000s of rabid Norwegian fans cheering for their team. For all four legs, the Norwegians and Italians stayed within a ski’s length of each other, with the Finnish team staying close for three legs. In the end, to the disappointment of the Norwegian fans, Italy won on the final leg as Silvio Fauner beat Dæhlie to the line by 4/10ths of a second.

Events

Event Status Date Participants NOCs
10 kilometres, Classical, Men Olympic 17 February 1994 88 33
30 kilometres, Freestyle, Men Olympic 14 February 1994 74 28
50 kilometres, Classical, Men Olympic 27 February 1994 66 25
10/15 kilometres Pursuit, Men Olympic 17 February 1994 76 31
4 × 10 kilometres Relay, Men Olympic 22 February 1994 56 14
5 kilometres, Classical, Women Olympic 15 February 1994 62 19
15 kilometres, Freestyle, Women Olympic 13 February 1994 54 19
30 kilometres Classical, Women Olympic 24 February 1994 53 19
5/10 kilometres Pursuit, Women Olympic 15 February 1994 55 17
4 × 5 kilometres Relay, Women Olympic 21 February 1994 56 14
197 (117/80) 35 (33/19)

Medals

Event Gold Silver Bronze
10 kilometres, Men Bjørn DæhlieNOR Vladimir SmirnovKAZ Marco AlbarelloITA
30 kilometres, Men Thomas AlsgaardNOR Bjørn DæhlieNOR Mika MyllyläFIN
50 kilometres, Men Vladimir SmirnovKAZ Mika MyllyläFIN Sture SivertsenNOR
10/15 kilometres Pursuit, Men Bjørn DæhlieNOR Vladimir SmirnovKAZ Silvio FaunerITA
4 × 10 kilometres Relay, Men ItalyITA NorwayNOR FinlandFIN
5 kilometres, Women Lyubov YegorovaRUS Manuela Di CentaITA Marja-Liisa KirvesniemiFIN
15 kilometres, Women Manuela Di CentaITA Lyubov YegorovaRUS Nina GavrylyukRUS
30 kilometres, Women Manuela Di CentaITA Marit WoldNOR Marja-Liisa KirvesniemiFIN
5/10 kilometres Pursuit, Women Lyubov YegorovaRUS Manuela Di CentaITA Stefania BelmondoITA
4 × 5 kilometres Relay, Women Russian FederationRUS NorwayNOR ItalyITA

Medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Norway NOR 3 4 1 8
Italy ITA 3 2 4 9
Russian Federation RUS 3 1 1 5
Kazakhstan KAZ 1 2 0 3
Finland FIN 0 1 4 5