Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Diggins paces US women to first Olympic cross-country medal

Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randal won gold at PyeongChang Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall won gold
Edward Snyder | 22 February, 2018, 01:18

Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall became the first Americans to win an Olympic gold medal in the sport by shocking powerhouses Norway and Sweden in the women's team sprint at the Pyeongchang Games.

The American team of Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall posted the fastest time in the semi-finals to start on the front row in the finals Wednesday.

"In the final stretch I was just thinking, "go, go, go - I'm giving it everything I had and I've got someone who I really love and care about waiting for me at the finishing line and I just want to make her proud", Diggins said.

Norway's Marit Bjørgen and Maiken Caspersen Falla were 2.97 seconds off the pace in third.

Cross-country skiing medal action at Pyeongchang 2018 is due to resume on Saturday (February 24), when the men's 50km mass start classic event is scheduled.

Bill Koch won the United States' first Olympic cross-country medal 42 years ago at the 1976 Olympics, taking home a silver medal in the 30-kilometer (18 miles) event.

Full report to follow.

"Hearing it out loud", Randall said, "it still doesn't feel real". "I feel that it's also special that Kikkan is there, who also started her Olympic [career] in Salt Lake with me".




Her new book, World Class: The Making of the U.S. Women's Cross-Country Ski Team, depicts the rise of the American women, including Jessie Diggins.

Five years ago, Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins did something that had never been done before.

So when it came down to a three-way sprint for the win tonight, the U.S. team knew it was possible for her to pull through.

"It's what I've been working on for 20 years and with this team for the last five years". "America, they have been strong for years and growing a really good team, so they really deserve it". In the final team event of the Olympics, the USA women on Wednesday grabbed a gold medal.

But slowly, Diggins pulled even with Randall.

That winter, she burst onto the national scene on a cloudy day in Rumford, Maine, when she won the national sprint title.

"It's hard to understand, actually", Bjørgen, a medallist in all four events she has contested at Pyeongchang 2018, said. Bjoergen, who won her 14 Olympic medal tonight and eighth gold, solidifying her spot as the most decorated Winter Olympian ever. Of course, she was bummed, but you could tell she was happy for me. Team USA had been hoping that the cross-country drought would finally break; instead, it continued.

Falla's bronze was her second of these Olympics.

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