VAL DI FIEMME, Italy (Feb. 24) - Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) and Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) skied a gutsy race to take gold in the team sprint at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Echoing their World Cup win two months earlier in Quebec, Randall and Diggins dominated to win over Sweden by nearly eight seconds with Finland taking bronze. It was the first ever World Championships gold for USA in cross country.
Kikkan Randall (right) and Jessie Diggins (left) take gold in the team sprint at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme. (U.S. Ski Team - Sarah Brunson)
This is the most incredible day of my ski career so far. We’ve been looking forward to this race all year. We’ve been talking about it and the whole team has been helping us get here. And today the wax was great, the skis were amazing, our coach got Jessie a pole, our teammates were here. It’s just what we imagined it would be.
On entering the stadium at the finish
That was so incredible, just seeing that clean snow in front of me and crossing the line. I tried to be stoic and stand up for a while but my legs were pretty dead. That moment when your teammate comes running out and it starts to sink in that you’re World Champions: it’s incredible.
We both knew that if everything came together just right and we skied really good we had the chance of a medal, but it’s sprint racing, things happen. Your poles come off. People step on your poles. It all came together anyways and that’s a really cool feeling to be able to share with our whole team.
Anytime you’re sprinting with the best sprinter in the world, it’s like, ‘Alright!’ Because I knew that if I could get her to take off in a good position then she’d be able to hold it and improve upon it. So I just tried to get her in the best spot I could and I have absolute confidence in her.