U.S. Wins First Cross-Country Gold Ever

U.S. Wins First Cross-Country Gold Ever

In the final at Alpensia Cross-Country Skiing Center in Pyeongchang, they crossed the line in 15:56.47 to claim their medal.

Randall and Diggins have made cross-country history together for the United States before. In 2013, they won a world championship gold medal — the first for the United States — taking the women’s team sprint by almost eight seconds. They both won individual medals in the 2017 world championships. Diggins won the silver in the sprint and Randall won the bronze. Diggins also won the bronze in the team sprint with Sadie Bjornsen.

Those achievements produced high pressure and expectations for the American women. A book has been written about them, and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association promoted them extensively heading into the Games. But American women have arrived at the Olympics with a decent shot at a medal before, only to be stymied by their rivals from Europe.

That scenario seemed to be repeating itself through the first 11 days of these Olympics. Diggins finished in fifth in the women’s skiathlon, the highest Olympic finish ever for an American women’s cross-country skier, but out of the medals.

Then she finished sixth in the sprint, running out of gas in the finals.

Then came the three-second miss in the 10 kilometer race.

Sprinting — especially uphill — is her specialty, though, and the course that included a nasty ascent gave her a golden opportunity for a prize that had eluded American skiers for more than four decades.

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