Another first for Minnesotan Diggins — and the U.S. — in cross-country skiing

A cross country skier holds up a U.S. flag in celebration.
Gold medalist Jessie Diggins, from Minnesota, celebrates victory in the women's 10-kilometer individual start freestyle race at the FIS Nordic Skiing World Championships on Tuesday in Planica, Slovenia.
Maja Hitij | Getty Images

Minnesota's Jessie Diggins won the women's 10-kilometer freestyle race Tuesday at the Nordic Skiing World Championships in Planica, Slovenia, becoming the first American cross-country skier to claim an individual title at that event.

Diggins finished the course in 23 minutes, 40.8 seconds — 14 seconds ahead of runner-up Frida Karlsson of Sweden.

Speaking after the race on a livestream broadcast by Ski and Snowboard Live, Diggins said the course conditions were perfect, and she thanked her teammates and ski technicians for helping her win the gold medal.

“That was one of the best races of my whole life,” she said. “I knew I felt good and I knew I was in good shape, but you also have to have great skis and you have to have good wax and I had everything I needed today, and they worked so hard to make this possible. I'm just so happy.”

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“I was so happy about the snow because I could really work the corners, and for me — this was the perfect course for me,” she said. “I tried to just ski with a lot of joy and really attack the downhills and go as hard as I could.”

Diggins had previously won a team sprint race at the world championships in 2013, along with teammate Kikkan Randall. The two also won a gold medal in team sprint at the 2018 Winter Olympics — the first American cross-country skiers to win Olympic gold.

Diggins, a native of Afton, Minn., was also the first U.S. woman to finish atop the World Cup season standings, in 2021.

Randall provided commentary on the broadcast of Tuesday’s race on Ski and Snowboard Live. Afterward she talked about the significance of Diggins’ individual victory.

“It's so exciting to know what this means now for another level of U.S. skiing, because every American skier out there now, coming up through the ranks, goes, ‘You know … we can win relays, we can win individual medals,’” Randall said of her former teammate’s accomplishment. “And to say ‘we can win’ — that is an incredible boost of confidence.”

“The power of confidence and possibility now has never been — that door has never been more wide open. And I hope there’s a lot of skiers that go out and feel inspired.”

World Cup skiers are set to compete in Minnesota next winter, at the Loppet Cup in Minneapolis’ Wirth Park. It’ll be the first World Cup cross-country ski event held in the U.S. in more than two decades.