On Monday, 15 February, World Cup of Cross Country Skiing leader Justyna Kowalczyk started 33rd in her first race in the Vancouver games, after all of her most dangerous rivals. She finished only a shade under 22 seconds behind the winner, Swede Charlotte Kalla, and missed a podium place by 5.8 seconds. The 10 km free is seen as Kowalczyk’s weakest event of the four she will compete in, but she was frank about her displeasure at the result. “This course was not for me. I am very dissapointed, not very happy”.
Kowalczyk still has three chances to medal in the Winter Games. She will be back in action on Wednesday, 17 February, when she will start in the individual sprint at 21:30 CET, then again on Friday at 22:00 to race the 15 km. Her final race in the Olympics before returning to pursue her second consecutive World Cup is scheduled for the 27th at 20:45 Polish time; it is the event where she will be most at home, competing in the 30 km classic. The Polish favorite took the bronze in that event in Turin in 2006, and will be hoping to improve on that result this year.