Jessie Diggins and Sadie Bjornsen made history for Team USA Friday morning, finishing first and third in the women’s 5-kilometer cross-country skiing world cup in Toblach, Italy, marking the first time two U.S. women have stood on a world cup distance podium.
The only other time two U.S. women were on a world cup podium was when Kikkan Randall and Sophie Caldwell were first and third in a 2014 sprint.
Diggins successfully defended her 5K title she earned in Toblach on Jan. 8, 2016, which was her first individual world cup victory.
Her win Friday comes on the heels of a third-place finish in Tuesday’s skiathlon in Oberstdorf, Germany, which marked the country’s first-ever skiathlon podium. One month earlier, she won the 5K in Lillehammer, Norway.
“This is just my thing I guess,” Diggins said with a smile after the race. “I was really excited for today. My coaches and I were joking around, saying ‘OK, let’s go for top 23 and see what you can do.’ We were just having a lot of fun. I love this course, and to see Sadie on the podium with me – I knew she was going to do it this year. I have so much belief in her, and to see her up here is just making me so happy.”
Diggins left the field behind near the halfway mark to win with a time of 12:45.6, 13.6 seconds ahead of Finland’s Krista Parmakoski. Bjornsen took third, 14.6 seconds behind her teammate. It is Bjornsen’s first career individual world cup podium, having previously earned four in team events, most recently a second in a relay last January in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic.
The win moves Diggins into fifth in world cup standings with 460 points, 409 behind the 869 of leader Heidi Weng of Norway and only 229 away from third place. Bjornsen, also a 2014 Olympian, continues a strong week. She joined the world cup top-10 with 256 points after Friday’s third and a fifth Tuesday in Oberstdorf.