From Minnesota State Champion to World Champion in just a few years, Jessie Diggins has had a mercurial rise to the top, one that she’ll look to continue at the 2014 Olympics. (Sarah Brunson/U.S. Ski Team)
With nine U.S. Junior titles and three Minnesota State Championships titles, Jessie Diggins decided to take a year off between high school and college to focus on racing. That leap of faith continues to pay dividends today, as she landed a spot on the U.S. Ski Team and has become one of the best female skiers the U.S. has ever seen. The 2013 season was a monster for Diggins. The five-time U.S. Champion teamed up with teammate Kikkan Randall to win the USA’s first-ever World Championships gold medal in the team sprint as well as the first-ever victory in a World Cup team sprint. When she wasn’t making history, Diggins was putting up more impressive results, finishing 8th in the skate prologue of the World Cup finals and placing 21st in her first-ever Tour de Ski.
Name: Jessie Diggins
Sport: Cross country skiing
How/when did you decide you wanted to compete: In 7th grade, I joined the high school nordic team and decided racing could be almost as fun as training!
Biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Winning the skate team sprint World Cup in Quebec with Kikkan.
Goals for next season: To represent the red, white and blue as best I can in Sochi, consistently finish in the top-30 overall in World Cup and be a part of both relay teams.
Favorite snow destination: There are so many beautiful places to ski! Ramsau, Austria, is definitely one of them, as is Praz de Lys, France.
Favorite non-snow destination: A beach in Maui. Who am I kidding? A beach...anywhere!
If you weren't a professional athlete what would you be: A dance teacher. Tap, jazz and ballet.
Time you've been most scared in your life: Cliff jumping - I had to sprint over the edge to clear the rocks.
Biggest vice: Never answering my emails on time...or keeping my phone with me.
Biggest pet peeve: When adventure time gets shot down and we have to sit in the hotel.
Advice to others who want to follow in your footsteps: If competition and training are what you truly love, then just keep doing it day after day! But you have to love the training as much as the racing.