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)
Liz Stephen, seen here racing in last week’s 4x5k team relay, led Team USA Saturday when she skied to 24th in the 30k mass start freestyle race, the final women’s cross country event of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
Team USA left it all on the course Saturday but was not able to keep pace and finished ninth at the women’s 4x5k relay of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
Kikkan Randall suffered a heartbreaking loss Tuesday when she was knocked out of the individual freestyle sprint event Tuesday at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games, while rookie Sophie Caldwell (pictured) skied into sixth and the top spot for the USA.
First-time Olympian Jessie Diggins skied into an impressive eighth and secured the top spot for Team USA in the women’s skiathlon Saturday, the opening Olympic cross country event at the Laura Cross Country Ski Center.
World Cup sprint champion Kikkan Randall powered to fifth in the Toblach freestyle sprints, the final World Cup before the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Jessie Diggins skied into second place at U23 World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy. (Photo: Vianney Thibaut/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)
A team of 23 USSA athletes are competing this week in the FIS Junior Nordic World Ski Championships and U23 (under 23) World Championships in Val di Fiemme, site of last year’s FIS Nordic Ski World Championships. (Photo: Sarah Brunson/U.S. Ski Team)
14 athletes, led by World Champion Kikkan Randall, were nominated to the U.S. Olympic team in cross country skiing today. (Photo: Reese Brown)
Liz Stephen, seen here at 2013 World Championships, skied to her career best FIS World Cup finish in sixth in the women’s 10k classic mass start Sunday in Szklarska Poreba, Poland.
World Cup sprint champion Kikkan Randall topped every one of her heats Saturday to take her 10th World Cup victory in the Szlarska Poreba sprints.
Jessie Diggins and Liz Stephen in the finish Sunday in Val di Fiemme, Italy after Stephen posted the USA's best overall Tour de Ski finish in history with seventh, skiing to the third-fastest time of the day up the 9k Alpe Cermis hill climb finale.
World Champion Jessie Diggins earned a career-best World Cup classic result Saturday, skiing into 10th in the Val di Fiemme 5k, the sixth stage of the Tour de Ski.
Liz Stephen posted the fifth-fastest time of the day Friday, starting from 22nd to finish 12th in the 15k pursuit stage of the Tour de Ski.
Liz Stephen led the USA finishing 26th in the 10k classic mass start as the Tour de Ski now leaves the Swiss Alps and heads to Italy.
Jessie Diggins Quick Facts
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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.
Still a young competitor, Diggins’ resume is nothing to shrug at. In 2011, the Minnesotan stormed the competitive ranks, sweeping the four Marriot Junior Championships, winning her first U.S. title and skiing in her first World Championships. She was just getting started, because in 2012 she swept all four titles at U.S. Championships and then scored in eight straight World Cup events, all during her first full season on the circuit.
Diggins has already proved that her chemistry with the team can help land them on the podium, so as Sochi 2014 rolls around, eyes will be on the Diggins-Randall pair to bring home the USA’s first women’s Nordic medals.
World Championships marked another high point in the season with Kikkan [Randall] and I winning the first-ever gold medal for cross country in the team sprint. Earlier in the year we won the first team sprint in a World Cup. Individual highlights for me were an 8th place in the skate prologue at World Cup finals, a 12th place in the 5km skate in Kuusamo and 21st in the Tour de Ski. Racing the Tour de Ski for the first time was such a blast, and completing such a challenging race series was really fun.
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