As if winning the first Olympic gold for America in cross-country skiing weren’t already thrilling enough, the tight margin by which Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall won added an extra level of drama to the matter.
Diggins chased down Sweden’s Stina Nilsson and outstretched her to cross the finish line first in the women’s team free sprint by 0.19 seconds:
This is the moment that the U.S. team of Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins won the USA's first Gold Medal in cross-country skiing (Credit: Omega Ltd., 2018, rights holder). pic.twitter.com/ftHb9n8hPx
— SI Olympics (@si_olympics) February 21, 2018
Watching Diggins come from behind to overtake Nilsson was special.
“In the final stretch I was just thinking, Go, go, go, I’m giving it everything I had and I’ve got someone who I really love and care about waiting for me at the finishing line and I just want to make her proud,” Diggins said, via the New York Times.
Diggins and Randall combined for a gold medal-winning time of 15:56.47. They were 0.19 seconds ahead of Sweden and 2.97 seconds ahead of Norway’s team to win gold.
Not only was it the first Olympic gold for the U.S. in cross-country skiing, but it was the first cross-country skiing medal for the country since 1976. And while the finish wasn’t quite as tight as one we saw in speedskating, the comeback victory was one heck of a way to get it done.