|Date||15 February 1980 — 9:00|
|Location||Mt. Van Hoevenberg Recreation Area, Lake Placid|
|Participants||38 from 12 countries|
|Details||Course Length: ?|
Height Differential: 87 m
Maximum Climb: 53 m
Total Climbing: 154 m
The defending champion, Finland’s Helena Takalo, had repeated her 5 km victory in the 1978 World Championships, and another veteran, the queen of the 1972 games, Galina Kulakova, now 37, was still among the favorites, placing fourth in the 1978 World Championships and beating all her younger rivals in 10 km at the 1979 Holmenkollen. However, their younger teammates Hilkka Riihivuori and Raisa Smetanina had shown good form recently and were also considered among the favorites. First of the favorites to finish was Kulakova as start #9, taking a clear lead. But a few minutes later, Nina Baldycheva, the bronze medalist from 1976, beat her teammate by just 55 seconds. Next to challenge the Soviets was Riihivuori. The 27-year old Finn, competing in 1972 and 1976 under her maiden name Kuntola, finished in splendid style and took over the lead, 17 seconds ahead of the two Soviet skiers. Next to finish was the young Czechoslovak Květa Jeriová, who had her international breakthrough at Holmenkollen in 1979 by finishing second, only 0.7 seconds behind the winner Smetanina. She finished five seconds ahead of the Soviet duo, now lying second after Riihivuori. Barbara Petzold from East Germany, then challenged Jeriová’s second place, but missed out by the tiny margin of 0.18 seconds. Last of the favorites to finish was Smetanina. The double 1976 Olympic champion skied well, beating Riihivuori by five seconds and collected her third Olympic gold medal. Jeriová secured Czechoslovakia’s second cross-country medal, copying Helena Šikolová’s bronze medal at the same distance eight years earlier.