3 Women Qualify For U.S. Olympic Cross-Country Skiing Team, Led By World Champion Jessie Diggins

By Gary R. Blockus | Jan. 03, 2018, 9:04 a.m. (ET)

 

The first three women have qualified for the 2018 U.S. Olympic Cross-Country Skiing Team and several more will be joining them throughout the rest of January.

2014 Olympians Sadie Bjornsen, Sophie Caldwell and Jessie Diggins have qualified for PyeongChang based on their world cup results in the events that will be contested at the Games next month.

Up to five women could qualify with a top-eight finish in any of the sprint classics, 10-kilometer free or skiathlons held so far this season, and they are the only three to do so.

Diggins, 26, from Afton, Minnesota, leads the pack with three of the necessary top-eights. She was sixth in a sprint held in early December in Lillehammer, Norway. The following day, she was fifth in skiathlon, and less than two weeks later Diggins finished seventh in a 10K free in Toblach, Italy.

Diggins last season became the most decorated U.S. cross-country skier, male or female, in world championship history. She is a world champion and four-time world medalist, claiming gold in team sprint free in 2013, silver in the 10K free in 2015 and sprint free in 2017, and bronze in the team sprint classic in 2017. She is currently ranked sixth overall in current world cup standings.

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Bjornsen, a three-time national champion, won bronze at the 2017 world championships with Diggins for Team USA’s first world medal in a classic event. She earned a second-place finish in the sprint classic at the Ruka, Finland world cup on Nov. 24, 2017 and finished third in the sprint classic at the Lillehammer World Cup on Dec. 2, 2017.

She is ranked seventh overall in world cup standings. Her brother Erik, also a 2014 Olympian, is also slated to qualify for PyeongChang based on his world cup standings.

Caldwell placed eighth in the sprint classic at the Ruka World Cup on Nov. 24. She is the granddaughter of U.S. Olympic cross-country skiing legend John Caldwell, who wrote the first U.S. guide to cross-country skiing.

More U.S. women will qualify for the Olympic Winter Games based on world cup rankings in mid-January. Discretionary picks will be awarded by Jan. 25.

Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.