Cross Country Skiing

Facts

Discipline of Skiing
Participants 2559
NOCs 89
Competitions held 169 (Venues)
Distinct events 31
IF Fédération internationale de ski

Description

Cross-country skiing has been practiced in the Scandinavian countries since the 18th century, and competitions are known from the early 19th century. The sport has been on the Olympic Program since the Chamonix games of 1924. The sport has been dominated, not surprisingly, by the Scandinavian countries with the Soviet Union and Russia. The most successful cross–country skiers have been Marit Bjørgen with 15 medals and 8 gold medals, both absolute Winter Olympic records (through 2018), Bjørn Dæhlie (12 medals, 8 gold medals) and Lyubov Yegorova (9 medals, 6 golds), and Raisa Smetanina (URS) and Stefania Belmondo (ITA), both with 10 medals. The sport is governed internationally by the Fédération international de ski (FIS), which had 132 members as of 2020. The FIS also governs Alpine skiing, freestyle skiing, Nordic combined, ski jumping, and snowboarding.

Until the 1970s, all cross-country racers competed in the same style, alternating legs and arms with the stride being pushed straight backwards, remaining in the ski track. In the 1970s, a new style was developed by American Bill Koch, making a skating-like motion with one of the skis, an this technique turned out to be much faster. The Fédération internationale de ski (FIS) was pushed to ban this style by the North Europeans, but it was decided instead to allow two styles. However, races are now designated as either “classical” or “freestyle”, with skating being allowed in freestyle races.

Originally, all cross-country races were held in a time trial fashion, with skiers starting in intervals. However, after revision of the program in the early 21st century, only one such race is left on the Olympic Program, the 10 km for men and the 5 km for women. The other individual events are the sprint, in which four to six skiers race head-to-head in heats for approximately 1,500 metres; the pursuit, or skiathlon, in which half of the race is skied in classical style and half in freestyle; and the mass-start marathon, which is held over 50 km for men, and 30 km for women. In addition, two team competitions are staged: the relay and the team sprint.

All-time medal table

Olympic Games

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Norway NOR 47 42 32 121
Sweden SWE 31 25 24 80
Soviet Union URS 25 22 21 68
Finland FIN 21 25 34 80
Russian Federation RUS 14 10 9 33
Italy ITA 9 13 13 35
Estonia EST 4 2 1 7
Switzerland SUI 4 0 4 8
Unified Team EUN 3 2 4 9
Germany GER 2 9 4 15
Poland POL 2 1 2 5
East Germany GDR 2 1 1 4
Canada CAN 2 1 0 3
Czech Republic CZE 1 5 3 9
Austria AUT 1 2 2 5
Kazakhstan KAZ 1 2 1 4
United States USA 1 1 0 2
Russian Olympic Committee ROC 0 3 5 8
Czechoslovakia TCH 0 1 4 5
France FRA 0 1 3 4
Slovenia SLO 0 0 2 2
Bulgaria BUL 0 0 1 1

Youth Olympic Games

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Norway NOR 4 4 4 12
Sweden SWE 4 4 3 11
Russian Federation RUS 4 1 2 7
Republic of Korea KOR 2 1 0 3
Switzerland SUI 2 1 0 3
Germany GER 0 2 0 2
Slovenia SLO 0 1 1 2
Japan JPN 0 1 0 1
People's Republic of China CHN 0 1 0 1
Finland FIN 0 0 2 2
United States USA 0 0 2 2
France FRA 0 0 1 1
Kazakhstan KAZ 0 0 1 1

Most successful competitors

Olympic Games

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Marit Bjørgen NOR 8 4 3 15
Bjørn Dæhlie NOR 8 4 0 12
Lyubov Yegorova RUS
EUN
6 3 0 9
Larisa Lazutina RUS
EUN
5 1 1 7
Thomas Alsgaard NOR 5 1 0 6
Raisa Smetanina RUS
URS
EUN
4 5 1 10
Sixten Jernberg SWE 4 3 2 9
Galina Kulakova RUS
URS
4 2 2 8
Gunde Svan SWE 4 1 1 6
Nikolay Zimyatov RUS
URS
4 1 0 5

Youth Olympic Games

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Magnus Kim KOR 2 1 0 3
Siri Wigger SUI 2 1 0 3
Märta Rosenberg SWE 1 1 1 3
Edvin Anger SWE 1 1 0 2
Nikolai Holmboe NOR 1 1 0 2
Thomas Larsen NOR 1 1 0 2
Johanna Hagström SWE 1 1 0 2
Aleksandr Selyaninov RUS 1 0 1 2
Anastasiya Sedova RUS
ROC
1 0 0 1
Ilya Tregubov RUS 1 0 0 1
Andreas Molden NOR 1 0 0 1
Silje Theodorsen NOR 1 0 0 1
Maya Yakunina RUS 1 0 0 1
Moa Lundgren SWE 1 0 0 1

Event types

Name Gender Still contested? Times held?
Sprint Men 5
15 kilometres Men 14
50 kilometres Men 23
30 kilometres Skiathlon Men 4
4 × 10 kilometres Relay Men 20
Team Sprint Men 4
Sprint Women 5
10 kilometres Women 15
30 kilometres Women 8
15 kilometres Skiathlon Women 4
4 × 5 kilometres Relay Women 12
Team Sprint Women 4
Sprint Boys 3
10 kilometres Boys 3
Cross Boys 2
Sprint Girls 3
5 kilometres Girls 3
Cross Girls 2
10 kilometres Men 3
18 kilometres Men 6
30 kilometres Men 13
10/10 kilometres Pursuit Men 1
10/15 kilometres Pursuit Men 3
5 kilometres, B1 Men 1
5 kilometres Women 10
15 kilometres Women 4
20 kilometres Women 2
5/5 kilometres Pursuit Women 1
5/10 kilometres Pursuit Women 3
3 × 5 kilometres Relay Women 5
5 kilometres, B1 Women 1