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2010-03-01T16:55:00+01:00
Justyna Kowalczyk , born 19 January 1983 in Limanowa) is a Polish cross country skier who has been competing since 2000. She won the bronze medal in the 30 km freestyle at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, becoming the first Pole to medal in cross country skiing at the Winter Olympics. She also won the overall 2008–09 Cross-Country Skiing World Cup and Tour de Ski 2009/2010 . She is the first cross country skier in history that has won the World Cup and has never participated in any World Cup event in her own country .


Kowalczyk finished 2nd in the individual Sprint at the 2003 World Junior Championships. She finished 31st in the individual sprint event at the 2003 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Recently in Canmore, Canada, on Jan 22, 2008, Justyna Kowalczyk won the race for her second World Cup triumph. She followed in Canmore with two more bronze medals in the same World Cup event. Kowalczyk was 3rd in World Cup 2007.

She has also won eighteen individual events at various distances of various levels since 2001.

At the 2009 world championships in Liberec, Kowalczyk won two gold medals, one in the women's pursuit (7.5 km classical + 7.5 km free technique), and another one in the 30 km mass start. She also secured a bronze medal in the 10 km classical event.

She won the overall 2008–09 Cross-Country Skiing World Cup.

On March 24, 2009, Kowalczyk was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.

On February 27, 2010, Kowalczyk beat Norway's Marit Bjoergen by 0.3 seconds to win the gold medal in the women's 30km classical event in the 2010 Winter Olympics. She posted a time of one hour, 30 minutes, 33.7 seconds.
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