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| Event type

4 × 10 kilometres Relay, Men

Date11 February 1976 — 9:00
StatusOlympic
LocationLanglaufstadion, Seefeld
Participants64 from 16 countries
Venue detailsCourse Length: ?
Height Differential: 95 m
Maximum Climb: 65 m
Total Climbing: 350 m

With a team where all members had won medals in the foregoing 30 and 15 km cross-country races, the Soviet Union was expected to win an easy gold medal in the relay race, organized three days after the 15 km. But – as the Olympic cross-country skiing history had shown – in relays anything can happen, and the drama started on the first leg. The Soviet’s Yevgeny Belyayev, the silver medalist from 15 km, took the lead as expected, but two kilometers from the exchange he developed trouble with his ski binding, had to continue with a loose ski and could not get a new one until a couple of hundred metres from the exchange, but by then it was too late. He reached the exchange in 10th position, 1:11 behind the leading Swedish team, closely followed by East Germany two seconds behind, with Norway another four seconds back. On the second leg, East Germany’s Axel Lesser immediately took the lead, and now the gold medal team from the 1974 World Championships had taken over as favorites for an Olympic gold. But alas, the drama continued. Halfway thru his leg Lesser collided with a female tourist skiing on the relay track, and he so severely injured his knee that he was not able to continue, allowing Finland’s Juha Mieto to build up a 50 seconds lead over Norway. The Soviet Union’s 15 km gold medalist, Nikolay Bazhukov, advanced from 10th to third place, but was over 1½ minutes behind the leading Finnish team. On the third leg, 30 km gold medalist Sergey Savelyev made a gallant try to catch Norway, but then suddenly he also developed trouble with his ski bindings and dropped back to sixth position at the last exchange. Finland had extended their lead over Norway to 1:01, and the unbelievable young American Bill Koch, with the fastest time of his leg, had brought the USA into bronze medal position, only 21 seconds behind Norway.

On the anchor leg, the unlucky bronze medalist from the 15 km, Arto Koivisto, secured an easy gold medal for Finland, with Norway a distant second almost two minutes behind. The United States could not hold their medal position and dropped down to sixth place, but the Soviet Union’s Ivan Garanin was able to pass Switzerland and Sweden in the final stages and secure a bronze medal for the unlucky Soviet team. The team had used a new type of ski binding, apparently not strong enough for the pace and rhythm changes in a fast 10 km relay leg. After the Lesser incident the organizers received strong criticism for their lack of security control alongside the track, and Koivisto and Lesser were not the only victims of non-competing tourists skiing in and along the track.

PosNrTeamNOCTimeSplit (Pos)
14FinlandFIN2-07:59.72Gold
4-1Matti Pitkänen35:03.5935:03.59 (5)
4-2Juha Mieto31:14.891-06:18.48 (1)
4-3Pertti Teurajärvi31:25.041-37:43.52 (1)
4-4Arto Koivisto30:16.202-07:59.72 (1)
23NorwayNOR2-09:58.36Silver
3-1Pål Tyldum34:46.2234:46.22 (3)
3-2Einar Sagstuen32:22.401-07:08.62 (2)
3-3Ivar Formo31:35.981-38:44.60 (2)
3-4Odd Martinsen31:13.762-09:58.36 (2)
32Soviet UnionURS2-10:51.46Bronze
2-1Yevgeny Belyayev35:53.6935:53.69 (10)
2-2Nikolay Bazhukov31:57.041-07:50.73 (3)
2-3Sergey Savelyev32:19.061-40:09.79 (6)
2-4Ivan Garanin30:41.672-10:51.46 (3)
414SwedenSWE2-11:16.88
14-1Benny Södergren34:42.6334:42.63 (1)
14-2Christer Johansson33:12.471-07:55.10 (4)
14-3Thomas Wassberg31:37.721-39:32.82 (4)
14-4Sven-Åke Lundbäck31:44.062-11:16.88 (4)
56SwitzerlandSUI2-11:28.53
6-1Franz Renggli35:25.8635:25.86 (7)
6-2Edi Hauser32:30.091-07:55.95 (5)
6-3Heinz Gähler31:38.461-39:34.41 (5)
6-4Fredel Kälin31:54.122-11:28.53 (5)
612United StatesUSA2-11:41.35
12-1Doug Peterson36:06.2436:06.24 (12)
12-2Tim Caldwell32:16.011-08:22.25 (8)
12-3Bill Koch30:43.611-39:05.86 (3)
12-4Ronny Yeager32:35.492-11:41.35 (6)
78ItalyITA2-12:07.12
8-1Renzo Chiocchetti37:32.5537:32.55 (15)
8-2Tonio Biondini32:24.331-09:56.88 (11)
8-3Ulrico Kostner30:56.091-40:52.97 (7)
8-4Giulio Capitanio31:14.152-12:07.12 (7)
89AustriaAUT2-12:22.80
9-1Rudi Horn34:54.6434:54.64 (4)
9-2Reinhold Feichter33:06.581-08:01.22 (7)
9-3Werner Vogel32:57.121-40:58.34 (9)
9-4Herbert Wachter31:24.462-12:22.80 (8)
911West GermanyFRG2-12:38.96
11-1Franz Betz35:59.9135:59.91 (11)
11-2Georg Kandlinger33:05.501-09:05.41 (10)
11-3Walter Demel31:51.361-40:56.77 (8)
11-4Georg Zipfel31:42.192-12:38.96 (9)
105CzechoslovakiaTCH2-12:49.99
5-1František Šimon37:12.3937:12.39 (14)
5-2Milan Jarý32:55.641-10:08.03 (13)
5-3Jiří Beran31:18.441-41:26.47 (11)
5-4Stanislav Henych31:23.522-12:49.99 (10)
1110FranceFRA2-13:05.26
10-1Daniel Drezet35:47.6435:47.64 (9)
10-2Jean-Paul Vandel33:10.121-08:57.76 (9)
10-3Yves Blondeau32:09.161-41:06.92 (10)
10-4Jean-Paul Pierrat31:58.342-13:05.26 (11)
1213CanadaCAN2-15:31.85
13-1Bert Bullock35:16.9835:16.98 (6)
13-2Ernie Lennie34:45.371-10:02.35 (12)
13-3Edward Day32:50.201-42:52.55 (12)
13-4Hans Skinstad32:39.302-15:31.85 (12)
137PolandPOL2-16:06.63
7-1Wiesław Gębala35:33.8535:33.85 (8)
7-2Jan Staszel32:23.891-07:57.74 (6)
7-3Jan Dragon34:56.601-42:54.34 (13)
7-4Władysław Podgórski33:12.292-16:06.63 (13)
1416BulgariaBUL2-19:45.66
16-1Lyubomir Toskov37:10.8437:10.84 (13)
16-2Ivan Lebanov35:12.891-12:23.73 (14)
16-3Khristo Barzanov33:28.541-45:52.27 (14)
16-4Petar Pankov33:53.392-19:45.66 (14)
AC1East GermanyGDRDNF
1-1Gerd Heßler34:44.4434:44.44 (2)
1-2Axel Lesser– (–)
1-3Gerhard Grimmer– (–)
1-4Gert-Dietmar Klause– (–)
AC15TurkeyTURDNF
15-1Sacit Özbey41:14.0041:14.00 (16)
15-2Bahri Yılmaz– (–)
15-3Şeref Çınar– (–)
15-4Yavuz Özbey– (–)