Jessie Diggins is first U.S. cross-country skier to win individual world title


As Jessie Diggins skied to the first individual world title in U.S. cross-country skiing history on Tuesday, she noticed all of the American wax technicians dart out to the course to cheer for her. There were so many that she didn’t recognize at least one of the voices.

“I remember at one point thinking, I don’t even know who that was,” Diggins, who did interview after interview in tears of joy afterward, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK. “They were just going crazy, and it was just such a good feeling. When you’re in really good shape, it still hurts, but you feel like you can just push so hard.”

In her trademark style, Diggins skied an all-guts race for 23 minutes, 40 seconds to win the world championships 10km freestyle in Planica, Slovenia. She prevailed by 14 seconds over Swede Frida Karlsson. Another Swede, Ebba Andersson, took bronze in an event where skiers went out at 30-second intervals, making it an individual test against the clock.

Diggins, two days after dragging Norwegian and Sweden skiers behind her in the team sprint, where she earned bronze with Julia Kern, began her 10km one minute after Karlsson, who took silver at the last worlds in 2021.

Within the first four minutes, Diggins had opened up a three-second lead on Karlsson. Diggins held a similar lead at each split through 7.7 kilometers, keeping it suspenseful. But in the final six minutes, she put the hammer down, leaving no doubt as she skied to the finish and collapsed onto the snow, gasping for breath right next to Karlsson.

“I couldn’t stop crying after the race,” said Diggins, who over 6.25 miles climbed 1,263 feet, roughly the height of the Empire State Building. “I was like, ‘I can’t even enjoy this because I can’t even see. I’m crying the whole time.’ But it was so special.”

U.S. cross-country skiers previously won 13 Olympic or world championships medals dating to 1976, but Tuesday marked the first gold medal in an individual event.

Diggins, already the U.S. cross-country skiing record holder for Olympic medals (one of every color), world championships medals (now six) and individual World Cup wins (14), added another feather to her cap.

“It’s wonderful to have a monkey off your back, even for an athlete as decorated as Jessie,” U.S. coach Matt Whitcomb told NRK. “She probably couldn’t tell you all the stats about herself. All she can tell you is that you give her a course like this, and she knows she can at least be tied for the lead with regards to going the hardest. That’s really the attribute of Jessie that’s most admirable. She can just go out there and suffer.”

It was historic. It was also emotional.

Diggins attributed the tears not only to the team effort of wax techs, coaches, physios, nutritionists and massage therapists. But also because she has been away from home, and largely away from her newlywed husband, all season.

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t love to do what I do because it’s not easy,” she said.

Diggins called this a season of ups and downs. In December, she tied and broke retired Olympic champion teammate Kikkan Randall‘s U.S. record for World Cup wins.

But before the World Cup circuit began, teammates woke to find her curled up in a ball on the bathroom floor in November. Diggins believed she caught a 24-hour flu bug after traveling to Europe.

Then at the Tour de Ski, a Tour de France-like stage race that wraps around New Year’s, she had finishes of 40th, 30th and 40th. Scandinavian media recommended she withdraw from the Tour, which she won in 2021.

Diggins kept racing, skiing the fastest time in a pursuit and then capping the Tour with a fifth-place result in the grueling final stage, a 10km climb up Alpe Cermis in Italy.

“I knew I was in good shape, especially because of [the pursuit],” Diggins said Tuesday. “But, to be honest, we struggled with the wax on my skis, and you have to have everything to have a competitive race. That’s why when we win, we win as a team.”

Diggins continued building with three podiums in her last five individual races before worlds, then an impressive display in Sunday’s team sprint.

Next, she bids for more history, looking to help the U.S. to its first medal in a relay on Thursday. Diggins was part of U.S. relays that finished fourth or fifth at each of the last five world championships.

Tuesday “might have been” the perfect race, she said.

“All the pieces came together — your body and your brain and your pacing and your technique and the skis and the weather,” she said. “That was very special.”

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Faith Kipyegon breaks second world record in eight days; three WRs fall in Paris


Kenyan Faith Kipyegon broke her second world record in as many Fridays as three world records fell at a Diamond League meet in Paris.

Kipyegon, a 29-year-old mom, followed her 1500m record from last week by running the fastest 5000m in history.

She clocked 14 minutes, 5.20 seconds, pulling away from now former world record holder Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia, who ran 14:07.94 for the third-fastest time in history. Gidey’s world record was 14:06.62.

“When I saw that it was a world record, I was so surprised,” Kipyegon said, according to meet organizers. “The world record was not my plan. I just ran after Gidey.”

Kipyegon, a two-time Olympic 1500m champion, ran her first 5000m in eight years. In the 1500m, her primary event, she broke an eight-year-old world record at the last Diamond League meet in Italy last Friday.

Kipyegon said she will have to talk with her team to decide if she will add the 5000m to her slate for August’s world championships in Budapest.

Next year in the 1500m, she can bid to become the second person to win the same individual Olympic track and field event three times (joining Usain Bolt). After that, she has said she may move up to the 5000m full-time en route to the marathon.

Kipyegon is the first woman to break world records in both the 1500m and the 5000m since Italian Paola Pigni, who reset them in the 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m over a nine-month stretch in 1969 and 1970.

Full Paris meet results are here. The Diamond League moves to Oslo next Thursday, live on Peacock.

Also Friday, Ethiopian Lamecha Girma broke the men’s 3000m steeplechase world record by 1.52 seconds, running 7:52.11. Qatar’s Saif Saaeed Shaheen set the previous record in 2004. Girma is the Olympic and world silver medalist.

Olympic 1500m champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway ran the fastest two-mile race in history, clocking 7:54.10. Kenyan Daniel Komen previously had the fastest time of 7:58.61 from 1997 in an event that’s not on the Olympic program and is rarely contested at top meets. Ingebrigtsen, 22, is sixth-fastest in history in the mile and eighth-fastest in the 1500m.

Olympic and world silver medalist Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic won the 400m in 49.12 seconds, chasing down Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, who ran her first serious flat 400m in four years. McLaughlin-Levrone clocked a personal best 49.71 seconds, a time that would have earned bronze at last year’s world championships.

“I’m really happy with the season opener, PR, obviously things to clean up,” said McLaughlin-Levrone, who went out faster than world record pace through 150 meters. “My coach wanted me to take it out and see how I felt. I can’t complain with that first 200m.”

And the end of the race?

“Not enough racing,” she said. “Obviously, after a few races, you kind of get the feel for that lactic acid. So, first race, I knew it was to be expected.”

McLaughlin-Levrone is expected to race the flat 400m at July’s USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, where the top three are in line to make the world team in the individual 400m. She also has a bye into August’s worlds in the 400m hurdles and is expected to announce after USATF Outdoors which race she will contest at worlds.

Noah Lyles, the world 200m champion, won the 100m in 9.97 seconds into a headwind. Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs of Italy was seventh in 10.21 in his first 100m since August after struggling through health issues since the Tokyo Games.

Lyles wants to race both the 100m and the 200m at August’s worlds. He has a bye into the 200m. The top three at USATF Outdoors join reigning world champion Fred Kerley on the world championships team. Lyles is the fifth-fastest American in the 100m this year, not counting Kerley, who is undefeated in three meets at 100m in 2023.

Olympic and world silver medalist Keely Hodgkinson won the 800m in 1:55.77, a British record. American Athing Mu, the Olympic and world champion with a personal best of 1:55.04, is expected to make her season debut later this month.

World champion Grant Holloway won the 110m hurdles in 12.98 seconds, becoming the first man to break 13 seconds this year. Holloway has the world’s four best times in 2023.

American Valarie Allman won the discus over Czech Sandra Perkovic in a meeting of the last two Olympic champions. Allman threw 69.04 meters and has the world’s 12 best throws this year.

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Iga Swiatek sweeps into French Open final, where she faces a surprise


Iga Swiatek marched into the French Open final without dropping a set in six matches. All that stands between her and a third Roland Garros title is an unseeded foe.

Swiatek plays 43rd-ranked Czech Karolina Muchova in the women’s singles final, live Saturday at 9 a.m. ET on NBC,, the NBC Sports app and Peacock.

Swiatek, the top-ranked Pole, swept 14th seed Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 6-2, 7-6 (7) in Thursday’s semifinal in her toughest test all tournament. Haddad Maia squandered three break points at 4-all in the second set.

Swiatek dropped just 23 games thus far, matching her total en route to her first French Open final in 2020 (which she won for her first WTA Tour title of any kind). After her semifinal, she signed a courtside camera with the hashtag #stepbystep.

“For sure I feel like I’m a better player,” than in 2020, she said. “Mentally, tactically, physically, just having the experience, everything. So, yeah, my whole life basically.”

Swiatek can become the third woman since 2000 to win three French Opens after Serena Williams and Justine Henin and, at 22, the youngest woman to win four total majors since Williams in 2002.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

Muchova upset No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus to reach her first major final.

Muchova, a 26-year-old into the second week of the French Open for the first time, became the first player to take a set off the powerful Belarusian all tournament, then rallied from down 5-2 in the third set to prevail 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 7-5.

Sabalenka, who overcame previous erratic serving to win the Australian Open in January, had back-to-back double faults in her last service game.

“Lost my rhythm,” she said. “I wasn’t there.”

Muchova broke up what many expected would be a Sabalenka-Swiatek final, which would have been the first No. 1 vs. No. 2 match at the French Open since Williams beat Maria Sharapova in the 2013 final.

Muchova is unseeded, but was considered dangerous going into the tournament.

In 2021, she beat then-No. 1 Ash Barty to make the Australian Open semifinals, then reached a career-high ranking of 19. She dropped out of the top 200 last year while struggling through injuries.

“Some doctors told me maybe you’ll not do sport anymore,” Muchova said. “It’s up and downs in life all the time. Now I’m enjoying that I’m on the upper part now.”

Muchova has won all five of her matches against players ranked in the top three. She also beat Swiatek in their lone head-to-head, but that was back in 2019 when both players were unaccomplished young pros. They have since practiced together many times.

“I really like her game, honestly,” Swiatek said. “I really respect her, and she’s I feel like a player who can do anything. She has great touch. She can also speed up the game. She plays with that kind of freedom in her movements. And she has a great technique. So I watched her matches, and I feel like I know her game pretty well.”

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