Winter Olympics 2018: U.S. women win historic gold medal in cross-country skiing
Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins barely defeated Sweden and Norway
Team USA may not have the added a first to the U.S. trophy case, winning gold in cross-country skiing's team sprint. It's the first time that the U.S. has medaled in cross-country skiing since Bill Koch did it in 1976, when he won silver -- the only other cross-country skiing medal in U.S. history.at the Pyeongchang Winter Games, but it does have a few meaningful ones. Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins
Randall and Diggins beat Sweden by .19 seconds, with Norway taking bronze. It took a terrific final stretch, but when Diggins crossed the finish line Randall immediately jumped on her teammate to celebrate the USA victory.
"I just felt unstoppable, I am in the best shape of my life right now for sure," Diggins, 26, said, via USA Today. "That feeling of crossing the line and having Kikkan tackle me was the coolest thing ever."
The U.S. women were nearly dead even with Sweden and Norway all race, and Diggins fell into third before making her surge.
"On Kikkan's last lap I saw there was three of them and I was like 'a medal is not enough any more, I want to win this,'" she said.
Randall and Diggins have been working toward this moment since 2013, when they won the team sprint world championship together. Randall is a decorated skier, hitting the World Cup podium 29 times and medaling in world championships three times. This is the icing on a fantastic career for the 35-year-old mother.
Diggins is incredibly prolific herself; she has most world championship medals in U.S. history with four. She took silver in the individual sprint (Randall took bronze) and bronze in the team sprint in 2017 at the world championships. She also has a silver medal in 2015's 10 km freestyle to add to her gold medal with Randall from 2013. Diggins is already building herself one of the best resumes of any Team USA cross country skier ... Ever. Now she can add that she snapped a 42-year medal drought for Team USA in cross-country skiing.
It's a gold medal from an unexpected place, and that makes it all the sweeter. Withcoming from snowboarding and the fifth coming from Mikaela Shiffrin, these Winter Games haven't had a lot of surprises for American competitors. And although anyone that's been following Randall and Diggins likely isn't surprised by this win, it's still a heck of a drought to snap together.
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