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Jessie Diggins Wins Bronze within the Particular person Dash, Her Second Olympic Medal

Jessie Diggins, the U.S. cross-country star, confirmed she shouldn’t be a one-Olympics surprise Tuesday when she captured the bronze medal within the ladies’s freestyle dash on the Zhangjiakou Nationwide Cross-Nation Snowboarding Heart.

Her medal was her second in two Video games, however the first particular person Olympic medal for an American lady in cross-country snowboarding. The unquestioned leader of the American men’s and women’s teams, Diggins, 30, collapsed on the snow on the end then collected a collection bear hugs from her teammates. They wrapped her in an American flag as tears dripped down her glitter-covered cheeks, Diggins’s signature look in massive races.

“I simply stored attempting to ski as onerous as I might,” Diggins stated. “And I simply instructed myself, similar to each race, ‘I need to end with nothing left.’ And I did try this.”

Jonna Sundling of Sweden, who had dominated her three qualifying races earlier than the ultimate, received the gold by practically three seconds. Her teammate Maja Dahlqvist took the silver, beating Diggins by a stride.

Diggins’s United States teammate Rosie Brennan, a 33-year-old who has solely lately damaged into the highest echelon of racers, was a shocking fourth because the Individuals put two ladies within the six-competitor last in a sport lengthy dominated by northern Europeans. Like Kikkan Randall earlier than her, Diggins has begun to alter that.

On the 2018 Winter Olympics, Diggins and Randall received gold within the ladies’s crew dash, producing a seminal moment from those Games and the primary American medal in cross-country snowboarding since 1976.

A person medal had lengthy been past the attain of the U.S. ladies, nevertheless. However Tuesday’s race supplied a uncommon alternative that suited Diggins, the reigning World Cup general champion. The freestyle dash is a livid, three-minute tear round a 1.5-kilometer loop on a course constructed into the aspect of a hill that features a lung-busting climb, a dicey descent and a last burst down the flat straightaway to the end.

It’s a distinctive take a look at, requiring skiers to outlive a collection of heats to get to the ultimate, making it a puzzle of pace and vitality conservation. Diggins received off to a flying begin, successful her quarterfinal by greater than two seconds after which advancing once more regardless of practically crashing on the finish of her semifinal.

In a sport that has so many ladies with large shoulders and thighs, Diggins seems like a sprite in her racing swimsuit, and it’s not clear precisely the place she will get her energy. However the energy is there, as she flies up hills, and comes off climactic turns with a burst. On the downhills, she tucks low and cuts by the air.

She began slowly within the last and as she fought to maintain tempo discovered herself boxed in by three Swedish skiers for a lot of the race. However on the ultimate climb Diggins put herself in place to flee and make a move close to the final flip. There, she surged forward of Brennan, Nadine Fähndrich of Switzerland and Emma Ribom of Sweden.

The person dash represented her greatest likelihood for Diggins to seize a medal this yr. A flexible all-around skier, Diggins excels in sprinting and freestyle snowboarding. Her largest wins have principally been within the dash races, and whereas she has received at longer distances, she has not often received whereas snowboarding classical model, which requires racers to maintain their skis in a straight line.

That put the freestyle dash, completely timed, proper in her wheelhouse.

Olympic races alternate between freestyle and classical each 4 years, so the person dash is not going to be a freestyle race for one more eight years, when Diggins shall be 38, older than most elite cross nation skiers. That elevated the stress to ship now on a girl who has emerged from an obscure sport to grace journal covers and turn into one of many faces of America’s Olympic crew, though the nation has had little worldwide success in her sport, particularly on the Olympics.

Over practically 100 years, the U.S. had received solely a single silver medal in cross nation on the Olympics: Invoice Koch’s silver within the 30-kilometer race in 1976 in Innsbruck. Now it has two in 4 years, with Diggins and Brennan instantly wanting like potential medal contenders once more within the crew dash subsequent week.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/07/sports activities/olympics/jessie-diggins-bronze-sprint-cross-country.html Jessie Diggins Wins Bronze within the Particular person Dash, Her Second Olympic Medal

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