Thomas Maloney Westgaard finished a highly creditable 14th in the cross-country skiing 15km classic on Friday morning at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

He clocked 40:01.5 - a time that briefly had him top of the leaderboard. A staggered start meant Maloney Westgaard had to wait to discover his final standing, but he can be very satisfied with a top-15 finish. Ninety-five competitors completed the gruelling course.

Iivo Niskanen won gold for Finland with a time of 37:54.8. Alexander Bolshunov, representing the Russian Olympic Committee, took the silver [37:54.8], with Norway's Johannes Klaebo earning bronze [38:32.3].

"The main goal was to do two quite even laps," Maloney Westgaard said afterwards.

"I knew it was going to be one of the toughest races, with nearly 600m of total climbing. I tried to pace it really well. I started quite safe and I wasn't too stressed, even though I heard I was a bit too far off.

"I tried to go good technically and just improve over the race and, yeah, I just felt better and better and the feedback was better and better.

"It was just fantastic especially with the season I’ve had. It hasn’t really gone my way so far, and to pull off the best race I’ve done in a year with the preparations I’ve had... with Covid, without even knowing if I would reach the Olympics. Yeah, to prepare for a course like this with everything I’ve had, it’s unbelievable."

Tess Arbez raises her arms at the finish line.

Earlier Tess Arbez finished 42nd overall in the Super-G, as she made history by becoming the first female athlete to compete for Ireland in a speed skiing event.

Arbez crashed out in her first outing in the women's giant slalom event on Monday but she had a clean run today, raising her arms in delight at the finish line.

On Wednesday she took 48th in the slalom in an icy event that saw 30 athletes marked as DNF.

"It was a really fun race, I really enjoyed it," said Arbez. "It was really great to feel the speed of the long skis. I wish I could do one more now but it's over.

"I think I could be a little bit faster, straighter on the gates, keeping a little bit more of the speed position. But I’m happy to finish because it is the first time for an Irish girl to ride the speed event. It was easier than I thought."

Watch daily highlights of the 2022 Winter Olympics on the RTÉ News channel at 3pm, with clips of the action on RTÉ Sport Online, the RTÉ News app and RTÉ Sport's social media channels