|Competitions held||169 (Venues)|
|IF||Fédération internationale de ski|
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 man and woman at the Winter Olympics are both cross-country skiers: Bjørn Dæhlie (eight gold medals) and Lyubov Yegorova (six golds).
Until the 1970s, all cross-counry 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. This technique was adopted to use two legs, and 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 for approximately 1,500 metres, the pursuit, 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.
|Olympic Athletes from Russia||OAR||0||3||5||8|
|Lyubov Yegorova|| RUS
|Larisa Lazutina|| RUS
|Raisa Smetanina|| URS
|Name||Gender||Still contested?||Times held?|
|30 km Skiathlon||Men||4|
|4 × 10 kilometres Relay||Men||20|
|15 km Skiathlon||Women||4|
|4 × 5 kilometres Relay||Women||12|
|10/10 kilometres Pursuit||Men||1|
|10/15 kilometres Pursuit||Men||3|
|5 km Cross Country, B1||Men||1|
|5/5 kilometres Pursuit||Women||1|
|5/10 kilometres Pursuit||Women||3|
|3 × 5 kilometres Relay||Women||5|
|5 km Cross Country, B1||Women||1|