United States skiers Jessie Diggins, Kikkan Randall stun field for historic cross-country gold

Bradie Tennell of the United States performs during the women's short program figure skating in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung South Korea Wednesday Feb. 21 2018

US skiers Jessie Diggins, Kikkan Randall stun field for historic cross-country gold

USA's Jessica Diggins, left, and Kikkan Randall react after winning gold in the women's cross country team sprint free final during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 21, 2018.

Diggins, in an wonderful run, came from the third position on the final lap to pass Norway's Maiken Caspersen Falla on the last big downhill and Sweden's Stina Nilsson on the final sprint to win by less than two-tenths of a second.

The United States waited a long, long time to celebrate like this, and on Wednesday Olympians Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall made it happen, ending a 42-year medal drought in cross-country skiing. The last victor was Bill Koch, who took home silver in the men's 30 km sprint - but gold has constantly been out of the USA's reach in the event, which is routinely dominated by Nordic countries. Diggins lunged at the finish line 0.2 seconds ahead of Sweden's Stina Nilsson.

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Before today, the United States had never won a women's medal in cross country skiing, and had never won a gold medal. It is just the second Olympic cross-country medal won by an American.

The Americans posted the fastest time in the semifinals to start on the front row in the final. I got to see in 2013 when we won the world championships that a team gold is worth far more than any individual accolade, ' Randall said.

"I was so excited and so happy, and also I couldn't feel my legs", Diggins added, upon seeing her teammate at the finish line.

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The finals was Diggins' fifth race of these Olympics.

Randall and Diggins finishing the sprint relay in 15:56.47, becoming the first American women to medal in cross-country skiing.

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