USA's Jessica Diggins, left, and Kikkan Randall react after winning gold in the women's cross country team sprint free final during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 21, 2018.
The 37-year-old previously took gold in the women's 4x5km relay, silver in the 15km skiathlon and bronze in the 10km freestyle at Pyeongchang.
It's a medal more than a decade in the making, the fruit of a team culture that has raised every team member's level of skiing. Sweden's Charlotte Kalla and Stina Nilsson earned silver, 0.19 seconds back in a battle to the line between Diggins and Nilsson.
She was a Minnesota state champion as a high school freshman, then won two more state titles before she graduated in 2010.
"It's time to start dropping people", Diggins said. "What really kept me going over the last four years was trying to contribute toward a team medal".
The United States waited a long, long time to celebrate like this, and on Wednesday Olympians Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall made it happen, ending a 42-year medal drought in cross-country skiing. With plans firmly in place to retire and make a new home with her family after the 2018 Games, it seemed possible that Randall, 35, might see her career end without an Olympic medal.
Koch picked up a silver medal in the men's 30km in Innsbruck, Austria, in 1976.
At the six-and-a-quarter-kilometer mark, the last exchange, the USA was in third place, 0.75 seconds behind Norway. She has been through all of the tough times, competing with the American cross-country ski team since the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. Diggins and Randall are enormously accomplished cross-country racers. Her American teammates were jumping and hugging each other along the fence line that guarded the track. A year later, in January 2012, in only her third world cup race, Diggins finished on a world cup podium in the team sprint, with Randall. "I can't believe it just happened".
She passed Falla and set her sights on leader Nilsson, who won gold in the individual sprint, as they rounded the final bend to set up an electrifying finish. The finals race was even closer, but the Americans prevailed.
Team USA's Erik Bjornsen and Simi Hamilton took 3rd in the men's cross-country sprint relay semifinals, qualifying for the team sprint finals. "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".
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