Jessie Diggins competes at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on Feb. 25, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Jessie Diggins gets to race at home again.
Seven months after the Afton, Minnesota, native secured Team USA’s first Olympic gold medal in cross-country skiing, the FIS announced on Friday that Minneapolis will host a cross-country skiing world cup in March 2020, marking the first time the sport’s top circuit will be held in the U.S. since 2001.
“Hosting a round of the world cup is our chance to show skiers from around the world how Minnesota embraces winter – through sport and through our hospitality,” Diggins said in a press release, adding, “I am so proud to represent Minnesota as one of the first American athletes to win Olympic gold in cross-country, and now to bring the sport I love to the state I call home.”
Diggins, 27, has been a vocal advocate for bringing the world cup circuit back to the U.S., a quest that might have gotten a boost thanks to her dramatic performance this past February in PyeongChang. Partnering with veteran Kikkan Randall, Diggins outlasted Sweden in a dramatic photo finish to win the women’s team sprint.
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“A Minnesotan who brought home a gold medal has now helped us bring home the world cup,” said former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, now a co-chair for the host committee. “Now it’s time for Minnesota to, once again, show we host big events better than anyone.”
The world cup will be held at “The Trailhead,” a new facility in Minneapolis’ Theodore Wirth Park, which is 30 miles west of Diggins’ hometown on the shore of the St. Croix River.
Diggins got her start in the sport at age 3 and eventually became a three-time high school state champion for Stillwater High. She began racing internationally in 2011 and made her Olympic debut in 2014.
“We’re a small sport that is very community based,” Diggins said in a video released by the Loppet Foundation, which will host the event along with U.S. Ski & Snowboard, “and it is going to be so cool to get to finally bring all the action home in front of all the young skiers and give them a chance to watch their heroes up close and personal and be right there along the fences seeing the action and the world cup racing right there in our backyard.”
Chrös McDougall has covered the Olympic movement for TeamUSA.org since 2009 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.