Jessie Diggins fourth at world champs; Therese Johaug wins by historic margin


American cross-country skier Jessie Diggins took fourth in the world championships 10km freestyle, her best individual event, behind historically dominant Norwegian Therese Johaug on Tuesday in Oberstdorf, Germany.

Johaug, now a 12-time world champion, prevailed by 54.2 seconds over Swede Frida Karlsson in near-60-degree conditions.

“I think I had the day of my season this year,” Johaug said, according to the International Ski Federation.

Another Swede, Ebba Andersson, took bronze, 5.1 seconds faster than Diggins in the interval-start race.

Johaug, a 32-year-old who missed the 2018 Olympics due to a ban over lip cream, won seven golds in her last eight world championships races (with a silver in the other) dating to 2015.

Her winning margin on Tuesday was greater than the margin separating second place from 11th place. It marked the largest margin in a world championships women’s 10km since 1962, according to Gracenote.

Diggins, who in 2018 won the U.S.’ first Olympic cross-country skiing title with now-retired Kikkan Randall in the team sprint, came into Tuesday as a medal contender.

“It’s no secret that I really struggle, and these are not my temperatures. I’m more of a Minnesota winter athlete,” the Afton native Diggins said, according to U.S. Ski and Snowboard, after racing in a suit that had short sleeves and cut off above her knee. “I kept pushing, even when I felt like I was going to fold in half and pass out.”

In the most recent World Cup 10km freestyle on Jan. 29, Diggins handed Johaug her first straight-up defeat in an international distance freestyle race in nearly five years.

Diggins took silver in the 10km freestyle the last time it was contested at worlds in 2015.

She owns four world championships medals overall, most by an American, heading into Thursday’s relay, where the U.S. looks for its first-ever medal in the event.

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Saudi Arabia to host 2029 Asian Winter Games

Olympic Council of Asia

Saudi Arabia will host the Asian Winter Games in 2029 in mountains near the $500 billion futuristic city project Neom.

The Olympic Council of Asia on Tuesday picked the Saudi candidacy that centers on Trojena that is planned to be a year-round ski resort by 2026.

“The deserts & mountains of Saudi Arabia will soon be a playground for Winter sports!” the OCA said in a statement announcing its decision.

Saudi sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal said the kingdom’s winter sports project “challenges perception” in a presentation of the plan to OCA members.

“Trojena is the future of mountain living,” the minister said of a region described as an area of about 60 square kilometers at altitude ranging from 1,500 to 2,600 meters.

The Neom megaproject is being fund by the Saudi sovereign wealth vehicle, the Public Investment Fund.

Saudi Arabia also will host the Asian Games in 2034 in Riyadh as part of aggressive moves to build a sports hosting portfolio and help diversify the economy from reliance on oil.

A campaign to host soccer’s 2030 World Cup is expected with an unprecedented three-continent bid including Egypt and Greece.

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Jim Redmond, who helped son Derek finish 1992 Olympic race, dies


Jim Redmond, who helped his injured son, Derek, finish his 1992 Olympic 400m semifinal, died at age 81 on Sunday, according to the British Olympic Association, citing family members.

At the 1992 Barcelona Games, Derek pulled his right hamstring 15 seconds into his 400m semifinal, falling to the track in anguish.

He brushed off help from officials, got up and began limping around the track. About 120 meters from the finish line, he felt the presence of an uncredentialed man who rushed down the stadium stairs, dodged officials and said, “We started this together, and we’re going to finish this together,” according to

“As I turned into the home straight, I could sense this person was about to try and stop me,” Derek said in an NBC Olympics profile interview before the 2012 London Games. “I was just about to get ready to sort of fend them off, and then I heard a familiar voice of my dad. He said, ‘Derek, it’s me. You don’t need to do this.'”

Derek said he shouted to his dad that he wanted to finish the race.

“He was sort of saying things like, ‘You’ve got nothing to prove. You’re a champion. You’ll come back. You’re one of the best guys in the world. You’re a true champion. You’ve got heart. You’re going to get over this. We’ll conquer the world together,'” Derek remembered. “I’m just sort of saying, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.'”

At one point, Derek noticed stadium security, not knowing who Jim was, having removed guns from their holsters.

“It’s the only time I’ve ever heard my dad use bad language,” Derek said. “He just goes, ‘Leave him alone, I’m his father.'”

Derek told himself in that moment, “I’m going to finish this race if it’s the last race I ever run.” It turned out to be the last 400m race of his career, after surgery and 18 months of rehab were not enough to yield a competitive comeback, according to Sports Illustrated.

Derek had missed the 1988 Seoul Games after tearing an Achilles, reportedly while warming up for his opening race. He looked strong in Barcelona, winning his first-round heat and quarterfinal.

“I’d rather be seen to be coming last in the semifinal than not finish in the semifinal,” he said, “because at least I can say I gave it my best.”