For the first time, the world’s top-ranked female cross-country skier is an American.
Sadie Maubet Bjornsen claimed the yellow bib awarded to the World Cup overall standings leader by placing third and fourth in the opening races of the season in Finland the last two days.
No American woman previously led the standings at any point in a World Cup season, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard. Bill Koch won the men’s title in 1982.
Maubet Bjornsen, a two-time Olympian who got married in July, finished third in a classic sprint (by one hundredth of a second) on Friday. Then she was fourth in a 10km classic race on Saturday, missing the podium by 1.3 seconds.
She earned 83 World Cup points for those results, eight better than Russian Natalya Nepryaeva, last season’s No. 2 skier in the overall standings. There are still more than 30 races left this season, which runs through March. Maubet Bjornsen is better at classic races, and seven of the next eight races are freestyle.
Maubet Bjornsen was 14th in last season’s standings, 1,069 points behind champion Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg of Norway. Four different Norwegians combined to win the last six World Cup overall titles.
Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins, who teamed to win the U.S.’ first Olympic cross-country title in PyeongChang, are the only American women to finish a season in the top three of the standings. Randall was third in 2013; Diggins second in 2018.
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Missed the podium by 1 painfully close second, but walked away with the yellow @fiscrosscountry World Cup overall leader bib, so no complaints. The season is still young, but I will save this bib forever, and hope to meet it again one day. I have also been told I’m the first American to wear the overall yellow bib since Bill Koch in 1982, so cheers to setting new highs for even more exciting times to come 💃🏻 📸: @nordicfocus