Greg Hughes - Saturday Feb. 15, 2014 04:53 ET

Sweden takes gold in women's cross-country relay

Favourite Norway falters, falls to 5th place

Team Sweden wins gold
Charlotte Kalla, Anna Haag, Emma Wiken and Ida Ingemarsdotter of Sweden celebrate winning the gold medal in the women's 4 x 5 km relay. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Sweden has taken the gold medal in the women's 4x5K cross-country relay event.

With Charlotte Kalla as team anchor, the Swedes held onto the lead after a tough back-and-forth battle with arch-rival Finland. Sweden led in two of the relay legs, winning with an overall combined time of 53:02.7. 

Kalla overtook the Finnish and German relay anchors in a dramatic sprint to the finish line. It's the first time Sweden has been on the podium for the cross-country relay team event in 46 years. 

Ida Ingemarsdotter, initial leg of the Swedish relay team, said "it's amazing. We haven't been on the podium since '68 and now we're standing as winners."

Kalla says that she "was so motivated when I got out on my lap. I cannot believe we're Olympic champions."

Finland, the eventual silver-medal winning team, finished just 0.5 seconds behind Sweden with a combined time of 53:03.2. 

The bronze medal went to Germany, finishing just 0.9 seconds behind Sweden for the gold medal and coming in at 53:03.6. 

The race's big surprise was the heavily favoured Norwegians struggling to keep up with the leaders, finishing almost a minute behind the leaders with a combined time of 53:56.3. 

Canadians have difficult race 

Team Canada, made up of Perianne Jones of Almonte, Ont., Daria Gaiazova of Montréal, Emily Nishikawa of Whitehorse, Yukon., and Brittany Webster of Toronto, were not competitive in Saturday's race.

The Canadians finished in last place in all four legs of their relay, coming in with a combined time of 59:13.6. 

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