Jessie Diggins becomes 1st American to win XC gold at worlds

PLANICA, Slovenia (AP) — Jessie Diggins became the first American to win world championship gold in an individual cross country ski race, finishing 14 seconds in front of Sweden’s Frida Karlsson on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old Diggins outlasted the competition in the 10-kilometer race, crossing the line in 23 minutes, 40.8 seconds to become the first racer outside of Europe to win gold at a world championships in the sport since 2017.

She also made history at the Winter Olympics last year. Diggins closed the Beijing Games with silver, the best result by an American in an individual cross-country skiing event since 1976, after earning bronze in an event to become the first woman from the U.S. to win an individual cross-country medal.

Diggins, who is from Minnesota, is a rising star at the right time. Minneapolis will host a World Cup cross country ski event next year, the first scheduled stop by the circuit in the U.S. since 2001.

Diggins, a three-time Olympian, won gold in the team sprint five years ago at the Pyeongchang Games and plans to compete at least through the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy.