1980 – The ”forgotten” World Ski Championships of Falun
The 1980 Nordic Ski World Championships consisted of a single race: the ladies´ 20 kilometres, which had not been part of the Olympic program in Lake Placid. The 28 year old East German Veronika Hesse became world champion.
Up until the year 1980, the Olympics were also counted as the World Championships for the Nordic disciplines.
At this time, the ladies’ longest distance was 20 kilometres, but the distance was not included in the Olympic program.
Instead, it was decided that the ladies would compete for World Championship medals in the distance during the Swedish Ski Games, “Svenska Skidspelen”, in Falun in 1980.
The competition took place on Saturday the 8th of March, and it was Veronica Hesse from East Germany who took home the World Championship gold. She was 28 seconds ahead of Galina Kulakova from Soviet. In third place came Raisa Smetanina, also from Soviet.
Veronica Hesse celebrated great success in the cross-country tracks during the 1970s and 1980s, and had recently become Olympic champion in relay in the weeks leading up to the World Championship race in Falun.
In her youth, she had been told by one of her coaches that she would never become a skier of any rank.
But Veronika Hesse, born Schmidt, showed early on that she knew how to ski fast, and quickly settled into the world elite.
- Whether it was World Championships or the Olympics, I was always the girl from Harzegerode, she later commented her success.