| Event type

3 × 5 kilometres Relay, Women

Date 1 February 1956 — 9:30
LocationStadio della Neve, Cortina d'Ampezzo
Participants30 from 10 countries
DetailsCourse Length: ?
Height Differential: 85 m
Maximum Climb: 74 m
Total Climbing: 174 m

Ten teams lined up for the start of a new Olympic event in cross-country skiing, the 3 x 5 km. relay for women. The event was first contested at the FIS World Championships at Falun in 1954, with the Soviet Union as the gold medal winners ahead of Finland and Sweden. The Soviet team in Cortina looked unbeatable on paper, consisting of the skiers placing first, second and fourth in the 10 km. one week before. The Finnish team had the same lineup as the silver medal winning team in 1954.

The Soviets had put their 10 km. Olympic Champion Lyubov Kozyreva on the first leg, and at the first exchange the Soviet Union was in the lead as expected, 24 seconds ahead of Sirkka Polkunen of Finland, with Norway 20 seconds further back. On the second leg, Mirja Hietamies was surprisingly able to gain 18 seconds on Alevtina Kolchina and was only six seconds behind at the exchange. Anna-Lisa Eriksson brought Sweden to the heels of Norway, only one second back, but the two teams were already over two minutes behind the leaders and out of contention for the gold medal. The final leg developed into a thrilling duel between Siiri Rantanen of Finland and the Soviet’s Radiya Yeroshina. Rantanen caught Yeroshina early and took over the lead, but Yeroshina fought back and regained the lead. In the final stage of the race Rantanen was the strongest, passing Yeroshina 1,800 metres from the finish, and won a most surprising gold medal, 27 seconds ahead of the USSR. Sweden’s bronze medalist from the individual race, Sonja Edström, had no problems, recording the fastest leg of the competition, and overtaking Norway’s Rakel Wahl to take the bronze, over a minute ahead of the Norwegian team. Poland was the best of the remaining six European teams, placing fifth.

13FinlandFIN1-09:01– (–)Gold
Lead-Off3-1Sirkka Polkunen 23:2223:22 (2)
2nd Leg3-2Mirja Hietamies 22:2045:42 (2)
Anchor3-3Siiri Rantanen 23:191-09:01 (1)
25Soviet UnionURS1-09:28– (–)Silver
Lead-Off5-1Lyubov Kozyreva-Baranova 22:5822:58 (1)
2nd Leg5-2Alevtina Kolchina 22:3845:36 (1)
Anchor5-3Radya Yeroshina 23:521-09:28 (2)
38SwedenSWE1-09:48– (–)Bronze
Lead-Off8-1Irma Johansson 24:1024:10 (4)
2nd Leg8-2Anna-Lisa Eriksson 23:3647:46 (4)
Anchor8-3Sonja Edström-Ruthström 22:021-09:48 (3)
47NorwayNOR1-10:50– (–)
Lead-Off7-1Kjelfrid Brusveen 23:4223:42 (3)
2nd Leg7-2Gina Regland-Sigstad 24:0347:45 (3)
Anchor7-3Rakel Wahl 23:051-10:50 (4)
59PolandPOL1-13:20– (–)
Lead-Off9-1Maria Gąsienica Bukowa-Kowalska 24:3024:30 (5)
2nd Leg9-2Józefa Czerniawska-Pęksa 24:1048:40 (5)
Anchor9-3Zofia Krzeptowska 24:401-13:20 (5)
61CzechoslovakiaTCH1-14:19– (–)
Lead-Off1-1Eva Paulusová-Benešová 26:2326:23 (8)
2nd Leg1-2Libuše Patočková 24:0550:28 (7)
Anchor1-3Eva Lauermanová 23:511-14:19 (6)
710Unified Team of GermanyGER1-15:33– (–)
Lead-Off10-1Elfriede Spiegelhauer-Uhlig 25:1125:11 (6)
2nd Leg10-2Else Ammann 25:1150:22 (6)
Anchor10-3Sonnhilde Hausschild-Kallus 25:111-15:33 (7)
82ItalyITA1-16:11– (–)
Lead-Off2-1Fides Romanin 25:4425:44 (7)
2nd Leg2-2Rita Bottero 25:2351:07 (8)
Anchor2-3Ildegarda Taffra 25:041-16:11 (8)
94YugoslaviaYUG1-18:54– (–)
Lead-Off4-1Amalija Belaj 26:3826:38 (9)
2nd Leg4-2Biserka Vodenlič 26:3953:17 (9)
Anchor4-3Nada Birko Kustec 25:371-18:54 (9)
DQ6RomaniaROU– (–)1
Lead-Off6-1Ștefania Botcariu – (–)
2nd Leg6-2Elena Zangor – (–)
Anchor6-3Iuliana Simon – (–)