Katerina Neumannova wins Czech Republic's first gold in 30km skate

Katerina Neumannova won the Czech Republic 's first gold medal of the Turin Games with a thrilling victory in the 30-kilometer skate Friday, the final day of women's Olympic cross-country competition.

Just when it appeared favorite Julija Tchepalova of Russia and Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland would fight until the finish for the top medal, Neumannova pushed past them on the right side to add a gold to the silver she won on the first day of action in the 15km pursuit. She collapsed across the finish and raised her arms in triumph while still on the ground.

She eventually got up, then quickly hoisted her young daughter into her arms. Neumannova crossed in 1 hour, 22 minutes, 25.4 seconds to edge silver medalist Tchepalova by 1.4 seconds. Tchepalova, who led for most of the race, earned her second medal of these games after taking gold in the 4x5km relay Saturday. She won this race in the 1998 Olympics in Nagano and might have done so again had it not been for a fall while climbing a hill in the final 10 kilometers. Kowalczyk took the bronze after looking like she was headed for victory as she entered the stadium, reports the AP.

N.U.