Katerina Neumannova of the Czech Republic won the gold medal that had eluded her at five previous Olympic Games when she triumphed in the women's cross-country skiing 30-km freestyle on Friday.

The 33-year-old, racing in the final race of what will almost certainly be her last Games, beat 1998 champion Julija Tchepalova of Russia in a sprint for the line.

Neumannova had previously taken four silvers and a bronze at the Olympics but had never won gold.

Polish outsider Justyna Kowalczyk, who came back from a doping ban just before the Games started, took a surprise bronze while Estonia's Kristina Smigun of Estonia failed in her bid for a third gold medal.