In the final event of the Winter Olympics, an Austrian cross-country skier took a wrong turn, got lost, and blew a shot at a medal

Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
  • The Winter Olympics concluded on Sunday with the ladies’ 30km mass start classic.
  • Teresa Stadlober of Austria was in a good position to win a medal when she took a wrong turn.
  • The wrong turn took her up a hill and by the time she figured out what happened, she fell from second to eighth and out of medal contention.

The Winter Olympics concluded on Sunday with the ladies’ 30km mass start classic.

Among the skiers to compete in the event was Teresa Stadlober of Austria. It was her fourth event of the games and possibly her best shot at winning a medal.

But things went horribly wrong when she took a wrong turn, got lost, and fell from what looked like a likely silver medal to no medal at all.

After 56 minutes, everything seemed fine for Stadlober (in bib No. 4). She was more than 80 seconds behind the leader, but she was at the front of a pack in the battle for silver and appeared to be the strongest of the group.

Winter Olympics Closing CeremonyNBC

At first, it was unclear what happened next.

NBC cut away from the chasing group to show the leader for about a minute. When they returned to Stadlober, she was all alone.

There was nobody else in sight!

StadloberNBC

The announcers were confused.

“Where are the Finns?” they said, referring to the skiers from Finland who were part of the chase group. “That’s a huge gap, a lot of daylight! Now where are the Finns? Are they ahead of her or behind? It almost seems unrealistic that she has opened up that kind of gap.”

But then she started to look behind. Even she seemed confused.

Winter Olympics Closing CeremonyNBC

Finally, the NBC’s aerial view figured out that Stadlober had taken a right-hand turn when she was supposed to go straight.

Making matters worse, that turn was an uphill climb as the other skiers kept proceeding downhill.

Winter OlympicsNBC

She eventually figured it out and started coming back down the hill.

Winter OlympicsNBC

But at this point the damage was done. By the time she got back on the correct course, she fell from second to eighth and out of medal contention.

She ultimately finished ninth. Just crushing.

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