First gold medals for Switzerland and France

In the longest distances of the FIS Nordic Junior World Championships and FIS U23 World Ski Championships Cross Country, the first gold medals for Switzerland and France were clinched by Marina Kaelin and Mathis Desloges, who secured victory in the U23 category. Nejc Štern was the best Slovenian athlete.


The first set of medals on the Slovenian cultural holiday was awarded in Planica at the 47th FIS Nordic Junior World Championships and the FIS U23 World Championships Cross Country 20 km free technic mass start race. The decision had to wait until the final meters, where Swiss skier Marina Kaelin displayed the most strength, earning gold. The silver medal went to American Haley Brewster, and the bronze to Frenchwoman Maelle Veyre. Just three-tenths of a second behind was another American, Novie McCabe, who fought for victory until the last climb but collided with the mentioned French skier and lost contact with the top three before the final sprint. There were no Slovenian representatives at the starting line.

Similar to Switzerland celebrating its first gold medal in Planica, France experienced the same joy in the younger male category. After a decisive attack just before the end of the 20 km race, Frenchman Mathis Desloges emerged victorious, finishing 17.8 seconds ahead of Norwegian Martin Kirkeberg Moerk. The third-place finisher, Swiss skier Fabrizio Albasini, trailed by 24.2 seconds. Among the four Slovenian representatives, Nejc Štern performed the best, finishing in 48th place, followed by Boštjan Korošec in 53rd, Jošt Mulej in 57th, and Anže Gros in 62nd.

Post-race statements

Marina Kaelin: "It is amazing to win in a place like this. The weather is perfect and it is really fun to compete in conditions like this. It is also nice to celebrate this victory with the whole team."

Mathis Desloges: “I am speechless. Everything was great today, the staff, the skies, my shape. It is amazing and I felt very good on the course. I attacked in the last lap and tried to keep up my tempo till the finish line.”

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