February 13, 2018 / 2:46 PM / a year ago

Cross-country skiing - Swede Nilsson finally delivers on golden promise

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) - With four world championship silvers to her name, Sweden’s Stina Nilsson arrived in Pyeongchang with a great reputation as a sprinter, but she finally got the golden seal of approval with a superb Olympic victory on Tuesday.

Cross-Country Skiing – Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Women's Sprint Classic Finals – Alpensia Cross-Country Skiing Centre – Pyeongchang, South Korea – February 13, 2018 - Gold medalist Stina Nilsson of Sweden reacts during the victory ceremony. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

The 24-year-old was invincible throughout the sprint competition and she duly surged to glory ahead of Sochi champion Maiken Caspersen Falla of Norway.

“It feels great,” a beaming Nilsson told Reuters following her first Olympic title.

With Charlotte Kalla winning the women’s skiathlon on Saturday, the pressure form Swedish fans was firmly on Nilsson to deliver on her undoubted potential.

“The race was very good. I planned it in a way that suited me very well, and I’m delighted that it turned out the way it did,” she said.

Even though the race went according to plan, Nilsson revealed that Falla had caused her problems.

“I felt the whole time in the long hill that Maiken was close to me, so I wanted to keep pushing the whole time, and I did,” she said.

“I thought that it might finish in a spurt and I felt very strong in that today. That wasn’t what happened, but if it had happened, I would have been looking forward to that spurt.”

Faced with a battery of microphones and cameras immediately after her victory, Nilsson stilt had not had a chance to plan her celebrations.

“We’ll see - I’ve never won an Olympic gold before, so we’ll have to see how it turns out,” she said with a broad smile.

Reporting by Philip O'Connor, editing by Ed Osmond

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