U.S. women won the last two World Cup cross-country skiing races before the Olympics. Now, can they carry that momentum to PyeongChang to capture the program’s first Olympic medal since 1976?
One day after Sophie Caldwell tied for a win in a photo finish, Jessie Diggins left no doubt by skiing away from a batch of Norwegians to win a 10km freestyle in Austria on Sunday.
Diggins won by seven tenths of a second in the mass-start race over World Cup overall leader Heidi Weng.
Marit Bjoergen, a 10-time Olympic medalist who came back from childbirth to dominate last season’s world championships, was fifth.
Full results are here.
Diggins and Caldwell have combined to win six World Cup races over the last three seasons.
Diggins also owns a U.S. record four world championships medals, including a pair of silvers last year.
The only U.S. Olympic cross-country skiing medal was Bill Koch‘s 30km silver in 1976.
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With a bronze medal in Lake Placid earlier today, Kendall Wesenberg became the first American to reach the World Cup podium in skeleton in two years.
Wesenberg, who finished 17th at her first Olympics in PyeongChang, had a combined time of 1:51.10 in Lake Placid. Prior to today, her last podium finish at the World Cup was in St. Moritz in January 2017.
“This has never been my strongest track, so we really broke it down piece by piece, and I think it paid off,” Wesenberg said, according to USA Bobsled and Skeleton. “The second run, I kind of tried to throw it away at the top there. By the time I made it to corner 10, I was just thinking ‘build speed, build speed.”
Wesenberg, 28, grew up in California’s Central Valley, but her interest in sliding sports piqued while watching the 2010 Vancouver Games. When the commentators discussed the athletic backgrounds of the athletes, Wesenberg realized she played some of the same sports growing up. A quick Google search brought her to the USA Bobsled and Skeleton page. She told her siblings she was thinking of trying skeleton. They said she’d never do it. Challenge accepted.
Wesenberg emailed a U.S. coach and signed up for a combine and driving training in January 2011. Seven years later, she was sliding on Olympic ice.
Sliding coverage continues today on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, with women’s bobsled live at 3:15 p.m. ET and men’s bobsled live at 4:15.