KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (Feb. 8) – First-time Olympian Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) 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. Norwegian powerhouse Marit Bjoergen took her fourth career Olympic gold in the 7.5k classic x 7.5k freestyle race with Swede Charlotte Kalla winning silver and Heidi Weng of Norway bronze. The men are set to take on the skiathlon 15k Sunday. Coverage of the women’s skiathlon will air on NBC at 2:30 p.m. EST and can be streamed at NBCOlympics.com.
I'm on cloud nine right now.
Thanks to an awesome peaking plan from the coaches and fantastic skis, I was able to keep up in the classic part. Usually I lose way too much time in the classic half because I'm a stronger skater, so my plan was to just relax, try to get as much glide as I could, stay out of trouble, stay out of falls or tangles and stay in contact with the group. I came into the exchange zone in the mid-twenties and then from there, I said, okay now I'm going to ramp it up and try to pick people off. Luckily, I was able to have just enough energy to really kick it in at the finish.
It's great to be here on these tracks. They're in perfect condition. The sun has been amazing the last few days. The classic was a bit tough for me today but the skate went well and it was fun to ski with Jessie for a little while.
The fans were amazing. I couldn't even hear my coach yelling something at me at one point. It reminded me of World Championships from Oslo a few years ago. People had white boards out to tell their athletes what they wanted! So, yeah the fans and everyone in Russia has been really great and it's just fun to get the Olympics started again.
It was good practice for getting used to what the Olympics are like. There's a lot more nerves and stuff going on that's underestimated. It was good practice to get ready for some of the races I'm looking forward to more later on in the week – the 10k classic on Thursday and some of the relays.
Official Women’s Results