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Jessie Diggins Returns From Astounding Olympic Performance For First Sprint Classic Podium

By Gary R. Blockus | March 07, 2018, 1:23 p.m. (ET)

Jessie Diggins competes in the women's 30-kilometer mass start classic at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on Feb. 25, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea.


Jessie Diggins keeps on making firsts.

Last month, Diggins joined Kikkan Randall in winning the team sprint freestyle in PyeongChang to claim Team USA’s first Olympic gold medal in cross-country skiing,

On Wednesday, the 26-year-old Diggins, who served as the flag bearer for Team USA at the Closing Ceremony in PyeongChang, achieved another first when she finished third in the sprint classic race at the world cup in Drammen, Norway.

Diggins, who has been on the podium for sprint freestyle at previous world cups, had never finished higher than sixth in a sprint competition using the classic racing style.

Diggins reached the final spot on the podium by clocking a 3:12.06 over the 1.2-kilometer course. Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla won in 3:10.18, while Sweden’s Stina Nilsson finished second in 3:11.57. The two have eight Olympic medals between them.

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A two-time Olympian from Afton, Minnesota, Diggins qualified in sixth place on Wednesday and then won her quarterfinal heat in 3:11.79 to make the semifinals, where she finished third behind Falla and Nilsson, going 3:15.99.

In PyeongChang, Diggins and Randall edged Nilsson and her teammate Charlotte Kalla for the gold medal. Falla and her teammate Marit Bjoergen won bronze.

Diggins and Randall are the only women in U.S. history to win an Olympic medal in cross-country skiing. The only other American to make the Olympic podium was Bill Koch, who won silver in the men’s 30-kilometer race at Innsbruck in 1976.

Diggins and Randall had also won a world championship in team sprint freestyle in 2013, while Diggins and Sadie Bjornsen won a bronze at worlds in team sprint classic 2017.

Individually, Diggins has also won world championship silver medals in the 10-kilometer freestyle (2015) and sprint freestyle (2017).

There is one sprint freestyle world cup remaining on March 16 in Falun, Switzerland. Classic was the style for the sprint in PyeongChang, where Diggins was sixth.

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.

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Jessie Diggins

Cross-Country Skiing