LILLEHAMMER, Norway – World Champion Jessie Diggins anchored a strong U.S. team made up of Kikkan Randall, Sadie Bjornsen, and Liz Stephen to take third in the 4x5k relay and match the best-ever World Cup result for any U.S. cross country relay team. Heavy snow hammered the 1994 Olympic course, but Randall was able to give the team a solid start in the podium hunt. Norway I took the relay. Next weekend the World Cup moves to Davos, Switzerland where the men and women will race a 15k/30k freestyle distance race and a freestyle sprint.
“I pushed hard over the top in the big hill and I was opening up a gap on Finland. I got in the track on the downhill because it was fastest, but then it got really sketchy and powdery pretty quickly,” said Diggins. “I just was tired and caught my tip in the powder and went down hard. I lost all my momentum, broke my pole, had to ski over a bridge that you normally glide over with one pole. But on the downhill the Norwegian team actually gave me a pole, which saved me because I was able to hold our third place spot.”
Last November in Gaellivare, Sweden, Diggins, Randall and Stephen made history with a third-place finish in the team relay.
“It was extra fun today because it’s the first time I’ve been on the podium with this team. It was fun with all the snow today. It was a different day,” said Bjornsen. “It was not the perfect conditions and you knew that some things were going to be happening out there, maybe falls or maybe something in the snow that you can’t see from the stadium. It’s just really fun to not have perfect conditions and still be able to ski with those girls and really be in the fight with them.”
Also on Sunday, the U.S. men’s relay team finished 17th with the Russia I team taking the win.
Release courtesy of USSA