Jessie Diggins competes at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships Oberstdorf at on Feb. 27, 2021 in Oberstdorf, Germany.
Jessie Diggins has more on her mind this year than defending her historic Tour de Ski title from last season, but why not do that and qualify for the Olympic Games Beijing 2022?
Diggins got off to a great start on both fronts with her stage win Tuesday in the opening round of the Tour de Ski in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, topping the freestyle sprint field in a time of 3:00.12. Norway’s Mathilde Myhrvold ran second in 3:00.25 and Anamarija Lampic of Slovenia was third at 3:00.42. Team USA’s Julia Kern finished just off the podium in fourth, .59 seconds back.
“I'm so proud of our team,” Diggins said to U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “(We) had really amazing skis…they were flying out there and we had a great day as a team.”
The win was the 12th career world cup victory for Diggins and her first on the circuit this season. She now has three total podium finishes and ranks third in the overall standings. Diggins, who last season became the first North American to win the Tour de Ski, ranks second in the Tour de Ski standings after finishing 16th in the second stage on Wednesday. Diggins was 1:07.90 off the pace in the 10-kilometer classic race won by Finland’s Kerttu Niskanen, who now leads the Tour de Ski. The six-stage event next moves to Oberstdorf, Germany for distance and sprint races on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, respectively.
In addition to battling for the Tour de Ski title, Diggins is in good shape for Olympic qualification as she is the only American to place in the top two at a world cup this season. Diggins is seeking to qualify for her third Olympic Winter Games, where she will look to defend her gold medal from 2018. She and teammate Kikkan Randall won the team sprint in PyeongChang to become the first Americans to win a cross-country skiing gold medal.