On This Day

Cross Country Skiing in History

Events in Sport

  • 1883-11-06 NYAC organizes 1st American cross-country championship race

Olympic Games1st Winter Olympics

1924-01-30 Norway’s Thorleif Haug claims first of 3 gold medals at the Chamonix Winter Olympics; wins 50k cross country in a Norwegian sweep of the medals; also 18k and Nordic combined champion

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Einar Landvik, Nordic skier from Norway, competes in the first-ever Winter Olympics in Chamonix, France, 1924
Einar Landvik, Nordic skier from Norway, competes in the first-ever Winter Olympics in Chamonix, France, 1924
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  • 1924-02-02 Norway’s Thorleif Haug takes the cross-country double at the Chamonix Winter Olympics when he wins the 18k event; Haug also 50k gold medalist

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1927-09-04 Charles Lindbergh visits Boise, Idaho, on his cross-country tour

  • 1928-02-14 Per-Erik Hedlund leads a Swedish sweep of the medals in the 50k cross-country at the St. Moritz Winter Olympics; Gustaf Jonsson & Volgar Andersson take the minor medals
  • 1928-02-17 Johan Grøttumsbråten leads a Norwegian sweep of the medals in the 18k cross country at the St. Moritz Winter Olympics; he also wins the Nordic combined gold the following day
  • 1928-02-18 Johan Grøttumsbråten of Norway wins the Nordic combined gold at the St. Moritz Winter Olympics; doubles up with the 18k cross country gold the previous day
  • 1932-02-10 Sweden goes 1-2 in the 18k cross country event at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics; Sven Utterström wins gold ahead of teammate Axel Wikström
  • 1932-02-13 Finland goes 1-2 in the 50k cross country event at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics; Veli Saarinen wins gold ahead of teammate Väinö Liikkanen
  • 1939-11-19 Don Lash wins 6th straight AAU cross-country 10K championship
  • 1942-05-13 Helicopter makes its 1st cross-country flight
  • 1948-01-31 Sweden sweeps the medals in the 18km cross country event at the St. Moritz Winter Olympics; Martin Lundström takes gold ahead of countrymen Nils Östensson and Gunnar Eriksson
  • 1948-02-06 Nils Karlsson wins the 50k cross country gold medal at the St. Moritz Winter Olympics; Swedish skiers win all 3 cross-country events at the Games
  • 1952-02-23 Following his Nordic combined gold medal in St. Moritz (1948), Heikki Hasu takes his 2nd Olympic gold as part of Finland’s 4 x 10k cross country relay team at the Olso Winter Games
  • 1952-02-23 Lydia Wideman of Finland becomes first female Olympic cross-country skiing champion; wins inaugural 10k event in Olso; Finnish medal sweep with minors to Mirja Hietamies and Siiri Rantanen
  • 1956-01-27 Veikko Hakulinen of Finland wins Olympic 30k cross country gold medal at Cortina d'Ampezzo; second career Olympic title after taking out the 15k event in Oslo (1952)
  • 1956-01-30 Hallgeir Brenden of Norway wins Olympic 15k cross country gold medal at the Cortina d'Ampezzo Winter Games; his 2nd career Olympic title after taking out the 18k event in Oslo (1952)
  • 1960-02-19 Swedish cross country skier Sixten Jernberg follows his 50k gold medal in Cortina d'Ampezzo (1956) with victory in 30k event at the Squaw Valley Winter Olympics
  • 1960-02-20 Soviet females sweep the 10k cross country event at Squaw Valley; first medal sweep for the Soviets at a Winter Olympics; Maria Gusakova wins from Lyubov Kozyreva and Radya Yeroshina
  • 1960-02-27 Veikko Hakulinen of Finland wins his 3rd career Olympic cross country gold medal as part of Finland's 4 x 10k relay team at Squaw Valley, CA; winner: 50k (Oslo, 1952) and 30k (Cortina d’Ampezzo, 1956)
  • 1968-02-13 Swedish 10k cross country champion Toini Gustafsson wins her 2nd gold medal at the Grenoble Winter Olympics in the 5k event ahead of Soviet pair Galina Kulakova and Alvetina Kolchina
  • 1968-02-14 Norwegian 15k Olympic cross country champion Harald Grønningen wins his second gold medal of the Grenoble Winter Olympics in the 4 x 10k relay
  • 1968-02-17 Norwegian cross country skier Ole Ellefsæter wins 50k event at the Grenoble Winter Olympics; 2nd gold medal of the Games (4 x 10k relay)
  • 1980-02-14 Soviet cross-country skier Nikolay Zimyatov wins first of 3 gold medals at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics when he takes out 30k event; also wins relay and 50k gold
  • 1980-02-15 Soviet cross-country skier Raisa Smetanina claims her 3rd of 4 career Olympic gold medals in the 5k event at Lake Placid; also wins 10k and relay gold (Innsbruck 1976) and relay (Albertville 1992)
  • 1980-02-17 Swedish cross-country skier Thomas Wassberg earns first of 4 career Olympic gold medals in the 15k at Lake Placid; wins by 0.01s from Finland's Juha Mieto; closest margin of victory ever in Olympic cross-country skiing
  • 1980-02-18 East German cross country skier Barbara Petzold wins first of 2 gold medals at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics in women's 10k; also takes gold as part of 4 x 5k relay team
  • 1980-02-20 Soviet cross-country skier Nikolay Zimyatov wins his 2nd gold medal of the Lake Placid Winter Olympics as part of the 4 x 10k relay; also wins 30k and 50k gold
  • 1980-02-21 East German cross country skier Barbara Petzold wins her second gold medal of the Lake Placid Winter Olympics as part of the women's 4 x 5k relay team; also wins 10k gold
  • 1980-02-23 Soviet cross-country skier Nikolay Zimyatov wins his 3rd gold medal of the Lake Placid Winter Olympics when he takes out the 50k event; also wins 30k and relay gold
  • 1983-02-20 Roland Liboton becomes world champ cross-country cycling
  • 1984-02-09 Finnish cross-country skier Marja-Liisa Hämäläinen wins the 10k gold medal at the Sarajevo Winter Olympics; first of 3 individual medal sweep, also winning 5k and 20k events
  • 1984-02-10 Soviet cross-country skier Nikolay Zimyatov wins a career 4th Olympic gold medal when he takes out the 30k event in Sarajevo; 3 gold in Lake Placid 1980
  • 1984-02-12 Finnish cross-country skier Marja-Liisa Hämäläinen wins the 5k gold medal at the Sarajevo Winter Olympics; 2nd of 3 individual medal sweep, also winning 10k and 20k events
  • 1984-02-13 Swedish cross country skier Gunde Svan wins 15k event, the first of 2 gold medals at the Sarajevo Winter Olympics; also wins 4 x 10k relay gold
  • 1984-02-16 Swedish cross country skier Gunde Svan takes his 2nd gold medal of the Sarajevo Winter Olympics in the 4 x 10k relay; also wins 15k gold
  • 1984-02-16 Swedish cross country skier Thomas Wassberg wins 2nd career gold medal in 4 x 10k relay at Sarajevo Winter Olympics; 2nd of 4 career gold; 15k Lake Placid (1980), 50k Sarajevo, relay Calgary (1988)
  • 1984-02-18 Finnish cross-country skier Marja-Liisa Hämäläinen wins the 20k gold medal at the Sarajevo Winter Olympics; sweeps all 3 individual events, also winning 5k and 10k events
  • 1984-02-19 Swedish cross country skier Thomas Wassberg wins 50k event at the Sarajevo Winter Olympics; his second gold of the Games (4 x 10k relay) and 3rd of his career (15k Lake Placid 1980)
  • 2014-02-13 Polish cross country skier Justyna Kowalczyk follows her Vancouver (2010) Olympic women's 30k classical title with a gold medal in the 10k classical in Sochi
  • 2014-02-14 Swiss cross country skier Dario Cologna wins his 2nd gold medal of the Sochi Winter Olympics in the 15k classical; also wins 30k skiathlon
  • 2014-02-22 Norway sweeps the medals in the women's 30k cross country skiing at the Sochi Winter Olympics; Marit Bjørgen wins her 6th career gold ahead of teammates Therese Johaug and Kristin Størmer Steira
  • 2014-02-23 Russia sweeps the medals in the men's 50k cross country skiing at the Sochi Winter Olympics; Alexander Legkov wins gold ahead of teammates Maxim Vylegzhanin and Ilia Chernousov
  • 2018-02-10 Swedish cross country skier Charlotte Kalla wins 3rd career Olympic gold medal in the 15k skiathlon in Pyeongchang; also wins 10k freestyle gold in Vancouver (2010) and 4 x 5k relay in Sochi (2014)
  • 2018-02-11 Norway sweeps the medals in the Olympic 30k cross country skiathlon at Pyeongchang; Simen Hegstad Krüger wins gold ahead of teammates Martin Johnsrud Sundby & Hans Christer Holund
  • 2018-02-16 Swiss cross country skier Dario Cologna wins 4th career Olympic gold medal in the 15k freestyle in Pyeongchang; wins event in Vancouver (2010), and 15k classical & 30k skiathlon in Sochi (2014)
  • 2018-02-17 10k freestyle cross country champion Ragnhild Haga and 30k classical winner Marit Bjørgen win their 2nd Olympic gold medal in Pyeongchang as part of Norway's 4 x 5k relay team
  • 2018-02-21 Winter Olympics: Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall become the first Americans in history to win a cross country gold medal (team sprint)
  • 2018-02-21 Norwegian cross country skiers Martin Johnsrud Sundby, Johannes Høsflot & Klæbo win their 2nd Olympic gold medals in Pyeongchang in the men's team sprint freestyle; trio also wins gold in 4 x 10k relay
  • 2018-02-24 After taking gold in the Olympic team sprint in Sochi (2014), Finnish cross country skier Iivo Niskanen wins the 50k classical event in Pyeongchang
  • 2018-02-25 Winter Olympics: Marit Bjoergen (Norway) becomes the most successful winter athlete of all time (15 medals) with gold in the 30k cross country
  • 2018-02-25 Norwegian cross-country skier Marit Bjørgen wins gold in women's 30k at Pyeongchang Winter Olympics; brings her total Games medal haul to 15, most won by any athlete in Winter Games history

Birthdays in Sport

  • 1873-03-05 Olav Bjaaland, Norwegian explorer and cross-country skier (d. 1961)
  • 1875-06-15 Herman Smith-Johannsen, Norwegian cross-country skier who introduced sport to North America, born in Horten, Norway (d. 1987)
  • 1908-02-03 Oddbjorn Hagen, Norwegian cross country jumper (Olympic gold 1936)
  • 1911-06-03 Olaf Okern, Norwegian Nordic skier (Olympic-medal-1948)
  • 1917-07-24 Simon Slåttvik, Norwegian cross country ski jumper (Olympic gold 1952), born in Valnesfjord, Norway (d. 2001)
  • 1920-05-17 Lydia Wideman, Finnish cross country skier (first female cross-country Olympic gold 1952), born in Vippula, Finland
  • 1924-12-14 Siiri Rantanen, Finnish cross country skier (Olympic gold 1956), born in Tohmajärvi, North Karelia, Finland
  • 1925-01-04 Veikko Hakulinen, Finnish cross country skier (Olympic gold 1952, 56, 60), born in Kurkijoki, Finland (d. 2003)
  • 1927-07-15 Håkon Brusveen, Norwegian cross-country skier (Olympic gold 15 km, silver 4 × 10 km relay 1960), born in Vingrom, Norway (d. 2021)
  • 1929-02-10 Hallgeir Brenden, Norwegian cross country skier (Olympic gold 1952, 56), born in Trysil, Norway (d. 2007)
  • 1930-11-18 Sonja Edström-Ruthström, Swedish cross-country skier (Olympic gold 3 × 5k relay 1960), born in Luleå, Sweden (d. 2020)
  • 1932-01-07 Tormod Knutsen, Norwegian cross country skier (Olympic gold individual 1964, silver 1960), born in Eidsvoll, Norway (d. 2021)
  • 1937-02-05 Gaston Roelants, Belgian world cross-country champion
  • 1937-08-20 George Thoma, German cross country ski jumper (Olympic gold 1960), born in Newstadt, Germany
  • 1938-07-02 John McDonnell, American track, cross country coach (University of Arkansas 1972–2008; 40 x NCAA C'ships; 8 x NCAA Triple Crown; 30 x NCAA coach of the year), born in County Mayo, Ireland (d. 2021)
  • 1938-09-17 Francisco Aritmendi, Spanish athlete (International Cross Country Championships 1964), born in Cogolludo, Spain (d. 2020)
  • 1939-01-17 Toini Gustafson, Swedish 5K/10K cross country skier (Olympic gold 1968)
  • 1939-11-11 Claudia Boyarskikh, Soviet cross country skier (5 Olympic gold 1964, 1968), born in Verkhnyaya Pyshma, Russia (d. 2009)
  • 1941-02-01 Franco Nones, Italian cross country skier (Olympic gold 30k 1968; first non-Scandinavian and Soviet/Russian male to win Olympic cross-country gold), born in Castello-Molina di Fiemme, Italy
  • 1942-04-29 Galina Kulakova, Soviet nordic skier (Olympic-3 golds-1972), born in Logachi, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
  • 1944-04-26 Martha Rockwell, American cross-country skier (Mount Washington), born in Providence, Rhode Island
  • 1951-06-24 Ivar Formo, Norwegian 50K cross country skier (Olympic gold 1976)
  • 1952-02-29 Raisa Smetanina, Soviet cross country skier (Olympic gold 10k & 4x5k relay 1976; 10k 1980; 4x5k relay 1992), born in Mokhcha, Russia
  • 1952-07-08 Ulrich Wehling, German Nordic skier (3 Olympic golds 1972, 76, 80), born in Halle an der Saale, Germany

Person of interestGrete Waitz

1953-10-01 Grete Waitz, Norwegian long distance athlete (9 x NYC Marathon titles; World C'ship gold 1983; 5 x gold World Cross Country; WR x 4), born in Oslo, Norway (d. 2011)

Long Distance Runner Grete Waitz
Long Distance Runner
Grete Waitz
  • 1955-06-28 Nikolay Zimyatov, Soviet-Russian nordic skier (Olympic-3 golds-1976), born in Moscow
  • 1955-09-10 Marja-Liisa Hämäläinen, Finnish cross country skier (3 Olympic gold 1984), born in Simpele, Finland
  • 1956-03-27 Thomas Wassberg, Swedish cross country skier (4 Olympic gold 1980, 84, 88), born in Lennartsfors, Värmland, Sweden
  • 1958-08-01 Tor Håkon Holte, Norwegian cross country skier, born in Drammen, Norway
  • 1960-10-14 John Aalberg, US cross country skier (Olympics 1994), born in Orland, Norway
  • 1962-01-12 Gunde Svan, Swedish cross country skier (4 Olympic gold 1984, 88), born in Järna, Sweden
  • 1963-07-30 Ingrid Butts, American cross country skier (Olympics 1994), born in Denver, Colorado
  • 1963-09-09 Leslie Thompson, American cross country skier (Olympics 1994), born in Burlington, Vermont
  • 1965-02-03 Dorcas Wonsavage, cross country skier (Olympics 1994), born in Madison, Wisconsin
  • 1965-06-01 Larisa Lazutina, Russian cross-country skier (Olympic gold 4×5 km relay 1994, 3 x gold 1998; 10 x gold World C'ships), born in Kondopoga, Russia
  • 1965-12-26 Ben Husaby, American cross country skier (Olympics 1994), born in Eden Prairie, Minnesota
  • 1966-03-08 Laura McCabe, cross country skier (Olympics 1994)
  • 1969-09-27 Laura Wilson, cross country skier (Olympics 1994), born in Utica, New York
  • 1970-01-06 Kerrin Petty, Swedish-American cross country skier (Olympics 1994), born in Townshend, Vermont
  • 1970-02-17 Tommy Moe, American nordic skier (Olympic-gold/silver-1994), born in Anchorage, Alaska
  • 1970-09-29 Luke Bodensteiner, cross country skier (Olympics 1994), born in Iowa City, Iowa
  • 1970-10-14 Nina Kemppel, cross country skier (Olympics 1994), born in Anchorage, Alaska
  • 1974-01-12 Tor Arne Hetland, Norwegian cross-country skier, born in Stavanger, Norway
  • 1974-08-01 Beckie Scott, Canadian cross-country skiing athlete, born in Vegreville, Alberta, Canada
  • 1975-04-04 Thobias Fredriksson, Swedish cross-country skier, born in Dals Rostock, Sweden
  • 1976-04-10 Sara Renner, Canadian cross-country skier, born in Golden, British Columbia, Canada
  • 1977-02-23 Kristina Šmigun, Estonian cross-country skier, born in Tartu, Estonia
  • 1977-04-02 Per Elofsson, Swedish cross-country skier (World C'ship gold x 2 2001; 2003; Olympic bronze 10k + 10k classical 2002), born in Röbäck, Sweden
  • 1979-07-14 Axel Teichmann, German cross-country skier, born in Saalburg-Ebersdorf, East Germany
  • 1980-03-21 Marit Bjørgen, Norwegian cross-country skier, 15 Olympic medals, 18 World Championship medals, born in Trondheim, Norway
  • 1982-06-11 Eldar Rønning, Norwegian cross-country skier, born in Levanger, Norway
  • 1982-06-13 Kenenisa Bekele, Ethiopian athlete (Olympic gold 10,000m 2004, 08; 5,000m 2008; World C'ship gold 10,000m 2003, 05, 07, 09; 5,000m 2009; 11 x World Cross Country gold), born in Bekoji, Ethiopia
  • 1983-01-19 Justyna Kowalczyk, Polish cross-country skier (Olympic gold 30k classical 2010, 10k classical 2014), born in Limanowa, Poland
  • 1983-11-19 Chandra Crawford, Canadian cross-country skier
  • 1987-01-22 Astrid Jacobsen, Norwegian cross-country skier, born in Trondheim, Norway
  • 1988-05-01 Teodor Peterson, Swedish cross-country skier (Olympic silver individual sprint, bronze team sprint 2014), born in Umeå, Sweden
  • 1996-09-12 Joshua Cheptegei, Ugandan long-distance runner (5,000m WR 12:35.35; World C'ship gold 10,000m 2019; World Cross Country gold 2019), born in Kapsewui, Uganda

Deaths in Sport

  • 1934-12-12 Thorleif Haug, Norwegian Nordic skier (b. 1894)
  • 1987-01-05 Herman Smith-Johannsen, Norwegian-born Canadian cross-country skier (b. 1875)
  • 2001-05-07 Simon Slåttvik, Norwegian cross country ski jumper (Olympic gold 1952), dies at 83
  • 2003-10-24 Veikko Hakulinen, Finnish cross country skier (Olympic gold 1952, 56, 60), dies in car accident at 78
  • 2005-01-10 Kalevi Hämäläinen, Finnish cross country skier (b. 1932)
  • 2007-09-21 Hallgeir Brenden, Norwegian cross country skier (Olympic gold 1952, 56), dies at 78
  • 2009-12-11 Claudia Boyarskikh, Soviet cross country skier (5 Olympic gold 1964, 1968), dies at 70
  • 2010-09-07 Amar Garibović, Serbian Cross Country Skier (b. 1991)

Person of interestGrete Waitz

2011-04-19 Grete Waitz, Norwegian long distance athlete (9 x NYC Marathon titles; World C'ship gold 1983; 5 x gold World Cross Country; WR x 4), dies of cancer at 57

Long Distance Runner Grete Waitz
Long Distance Runner
Grete Waitz
  • 2020-04-12 Francisco Aritmendi, Spanish athlete (International Cross Country Championships 1964), dies of COVID-19 at 81
  • 2020-10-15 Sonja Edström-Ruthström, Swedish cross-country skier (Olympic gold 3 × 5k relay 1960), dies at 89
  • 2021-02-23 Tormod Knutsen, Norwegian cross country skier (Olympic gold individual 1964, silver 1960), dies at 89
  • 2021-04-21 Håkon Brusveen, Norwegian cross-country skier (Olympic gold 15 km, silver 4 × 10 km relay 1960), dies at 93
  • 2021-06-07 John McDonnell, American track, cross country coach (University of Arkansas 1972–2008; 40 x NCAA C'ships; 8 x NCAA Triple Crown; 30 x NCAA coach of the year), dies at 82