United States women win historic Olympic gold in cross-country skiing

US Wins First Cross-Country Gold Ever

US Wins First Cross-Country Gold Ever

Five years ago, Team USA won gold in the women's team sprint at the world championships with Diggins and Randall.

Randall is also the only mother on Team USA competing at Pyeongchang.

"Now I finally got to ski on the same team as her in the Olympics as she is becoming the most-successful Winter Olympian".

The medal is the first for a U.S. Olympic cross-country team since Vermont's Bill Koch won a silver in 1976.

Diggins, in an unbelievable 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.

As she crossed the line she collapsed in exhaustion as teammate Kikkan Randall tackled her in the snow. Her ninth-place finish in the sprint at Torino in 2006 was the highest an American woman had finished at the Olympics - but reaching the podium had eluded her for 16 years.

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It was a fitting race for two gritty and strong racers whose lives and careers have always been lived in parallel - from making their debuts in Salt Lake City, to having children within months of each other around two years ago.

Randall and Diggins snared gold by a nose, with Diggins sprinting to the finish 0.19 seconds ahead of the Swedish team of Charlotte Kalla and Stina Nilsson, with whom they had been dueling for the entire race.

"In the final stretch, I was just thinking, 'Go, go, go, '" Diggins said. That broke her tie with Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen for the most medals at the Winter Olympics.

Diggins' father, Clay, said he had a feeling this was the day the drought would end.

"Both of us have been very nervous today and I did not sleep good today also". Diggins had three top-six finishes at the Olympics and Randall was skiing well, too.

Diggins sealed America's victory after holding off the challenge of Nilsson, the individual sprint gold medallist, in a frantic race for the line.

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This is Randall's 5th, and according to her, last, Olympic Games. "It's what I've been working on for 20 years and with this team for the last five years and, wow, it's just so fun to put it together tonight - finally".

"It's hard to understand, actually", Bjørgen, a medallist in all four events she has contested at Pyeongchang 2018, said.

Falla claimed it was her childhood dream to race in the same team as Bjørgen.

The women of Team USA have long talked about the positive effects of a strong team.

Diggins, of Minnesota, made her Olympic debut in Sochi four years ago, placing eight in the individual skiathon.

Bjoergen, who already had won gold, silver and bronze at the Pyeongchang Games, said she was happy to see the Americans win this one.

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Auburn wouldn't get any closer however, as the Gamecocks quickly responded with a 7-0 run to stretch the lead back to 12. Auburn was led by Mustapha Heron with 16 points, but he did most of his damage at the free throw line.

Bjorgen and Falla secured Norway's 12th cross-country medal of these Games, and 30 minutes later, Norway got its 13th medal with its sixth cross-country gold in the men's team sprint.

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