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U.S cross country skiers make history in Pyeongchang

Diggins+and+Randall+after+winning+gold+at+the+team+sprint+in+Pyeongchang%28Photo+by+Lars+Baron%2FGetty+Images%29
Diggins and Randall after winning gold at the team sprint in Pyeongchang(Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Diggins and Randall after winning gold at the team sprint in Pyeongchang(Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Lars Baron

Lars Baron

Diggins and Randall after winning gold at the team sprint in Pyeongchang(Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Peter Haynes

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History was made in Pyeongchang on Wednesday the 21st when Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall became the first U.S women to medal in a cross country skiing event at the Olympics. They medaled in the team sprint event, beating out team Sweden at the line.

The team sprint consists of six laps around a 1.1 kilometer loop; after every lap there is a tag zone where the skiers tag their partner. Each member of the team skis three laps total. Five-time Olympian Kikkan Randall started the race for the Americans, keeping with the brisk pace set by the Norwegians, Swedes and Olympic athletes from Russia. On the fifth lap, Norway’s Marit Bjorgen put it into high gear dropping the Russian skier and leaving Randall struggling to compete. By the end of the lap, Kikkan had managed to stay with the lead group of Norway and Sweden and left it all up to Jessie Diggins on the final lap.

An even higher pace was put up and kept by Maiken Caspersen Falla of Norway, but close behind her were Diggins and Stina Nilsson of Sweden. On the final downhill into the stadium, Falla was passed and gapped by the U.S and Sweden due to slower skis. Into the final 100 meters, Digging and Nilson sprinted it out to the line, with Diggins stretching and getting the win over Nilson by .19 seconds.

This comes as a huge shock as the U.S women were not expected to medal in this event or at all at these Olympics. This is the first U.S women’s medal in cross country skiing and the first U.S medal in cross country since Bill Koch took silver more than 40 years ago. It a huge accomplishment for these two women and will surely go down in history as one of the greatest U.S victories.

 

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U.S cross country skiers make history in Pyeongchang