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Lukkarinen, Marjut

Lukkarinen, Marjut

Finnish cross-country skier who won a gold medal at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville-Les Saisies, France.

At the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville-Les Saisies, France, Finnish athlete Marjut Lukkarinen brought the obscure sport of cross-country skiing into sharp focus. Lukkarinen, who only took up racing seriously after receiving her nursing degree, and continued to work part-time at a hospital in her home town while training for the Olympics, won her gold medal in one of the fastest and closest cross-country skiing events in Olympic history. Her victory also involved some unusual tactics. Skiing in a snowstorm, Lukkarinen found herself trailing close on the heels of Czechoslovakian Katerina Neumann . When she yelled "Track," as is customary in cross-country skiing to get someone to move over, Neumann did not provide clearance. Lukkarinen yelled again with no response, and finally resorted to tapping Neumann on the legs with her ski poles, which brought results. Italian Manuela Di Centa came in second in the race, and Lukkarinen's teammate Marja-Liisa Kirvesniemi took third place. Neumann came in eighth.

sources:

Wallechinsky, David. The Complete Book of the Winter Olympics. Woodstock, NY: The Overlook Press, 1998.

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