March 22nd, 2013
In the second stage of World Cup Finals, Marit Bjørgen (NOR) took a 4.4-second victory on Friday in the 2.5 k freestyle prologue in Falun, Sweden, with a time of 6:03.2. Charlotte Kalla (SWE) came through with the second-fastest time, 6:07.6, and Kikkan Randall (USA) rounded out the podium in third (6:09.8).
It was a strong day for the U.S. women. After Randall, Holly Brooks was seventh (6:15.5) and Jessie Diggins finished eighth (6:17.4) for three out of six Americans in the top 10. Liz Stephen finished 20th (6:24.3), Ida Sargent was 38th (6:39.5) and Rosie Brennan took 46th (6:45.1).
Emily Nishikawa led the Canadian women in 41st (6:40.8) and Dasha Gaiazova finished 47th (6:46.8).
There were loud complaints from the athletes on Thursday that new changes to the Falun course were hazardous to skier safety, and many threatened to boycott the prologue if changes weren’t made to eliminate the more sketchy downhill turns. On Friday morning athletes met with FIS again after lengthy discussions on Thursday evening and made the requested changes. As a result, the full field competed with the exception of Ida Ingemarsdotter (SWE).