2018 Olympic Games: Historic Gold for U.S. Women
Americans Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins made history on Feb. 21, as the dynamic duo claimed the U.S.A.'S first Olympic gold medal in cross-country skiing, winning the women's Team Sprint at Pyeongchang 2018. The victory capped Diggins' fabulous Games
American Jessie Diggins claimed a historic fifth-place finish on the opening day of competition for cross-country skiing at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games. This result in the 15km Skiathlon was the best-ever finish for the American women’s team at the Olympics.
Early on, Diggins settled into the front pack led by the Norwegian team, but was gapped by six seconds just before the transition zone. She nailed her exchange with the fastest transition time of the day and battled to stay with the leaders over the second leg.
Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla launched a bold move two kilometres from the finish line, shattering the front pack of 10 skiers to win the gold. Yet Diggins kept charging, rapidly making up time on her competitors, but ran out of snow before she could reach the podium. Norwegian Marit Bjoergen finished 7.8 seconds down to claim the silver medal, as Finnish athlete Krista Parmakoski crossed the line close behind for the bronze.
Cendrine Browne was the highest-placed Canadian, finishing 33rd, with American Caitlin Patterson was right behind in 34th. Other Americans Kikkan Randall and Dahria Beatty were 40th and 52nd, while their Canadian neigh-
bours Emily Nishikawa and Anne-marie Comeau placed 44th and 48th.
Feb. 11 – Men's 30km Skiathlon
Canadian Alex Harvey started off his Olympic campaign with an eighth-place finish at the Alpensia Cross-country Center. He battled cold, blustery conditions during the men’s 30km Skiathlon for the best Olympic performance of his career, yet was disappointed. He explained in a post-race interview that he was in the perfect place to challenge for the silver medal, but did not have the legs to follow through.
The Norwegian team dominated early, setting up Simen Hegstad Krueger for the race-winning move. He took off with three kilometres to go and never looked back, claiming the gold medal. His teammates Martin Johnsrud Sundby and Hans Christer Holund raced home for the silver and bronze, securing the podium sweep for Norway.
Scott Patterson was the top American, placing 18th, just over a minute back, while his teammate Erik Bjornsen was 42nd. Canadians Devon Kershaw and Graeme Killick came in 36th and 45th.
Feb. 13 – Men's Classic Sprint
Another windy, cold day met the skiers, but that did not stop Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo from Norway becoming the youngest Olympic champion, winning the men’s Classic sprint. The 21-year-old qualified 0.19 seconds behind Ristomatti Hakola of Finland, but that was the last time he finished second, winning the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals to take home the gold medal. Italy’s Frederico Pellegrino and Olympic Athletes of Russia’s (OAR) Alexander Bolshunov settled for silver and bronze.
Canada’s Len Valjas originally qualified 26th, but delivered a stellar seventh-place finish. The 29-year-old placed third in the fourth quarterfinal heat, but was deemed the “Lucky Loser” and moved onto the semifinals. In the next round, he finished third again, but was not as lucky and was knocked out of the competition.
Simi Hamilton led the U.S. men, finishing 20th after a quarterfinal crash; his teammate Erik Bjornsen made the heats as well, but did not advance past the quarterfinals. Canada’s Har- vey missed qualifying by less than a half-second and placed 32nd, followed by fellow Canuck Jesse Cockney in 35th. The U.S.A.’S Andy Newell was 37th, his teammate Reese Hanneman finished 51st, followed Canada’s Russell Kennedy in 55th.
Feb. 13 – Women's Classic Sprint
The U.S. had a fantastic day in the women’s Classic sprint, placing three athletes inside the top-12. Diggins led the way, finishing sixth, while Sophie Caldwell and Sadie Bjornsen placed eighth and 12th.
In the final, Sweden’s Stina Nilsson escaped the front group and gained some serious time on the descent and solo’ed away for the win. Maiken Caspersen Falla of Norway and OAR’S Yulia Belorukova sprinted it out for the final podium spots, with Falla taking the silver.
Diggins’ day started well after she set the seventh-best qualifying time, advancing to the heats. She then finished second in both the quarterfinals and semifinals, earning her place in the final. Although not challenging for a podium, Diggins was still stoked on her improvement from the previous season.
“If you had told me a year ago that ti I would ld make k the th Olympic Ol i Classic Cl i fifi nals, I never would have believed you,” said Diggins in a post-race interview.
The Canadian contingent did not qualify for the heats, with Nishikawa, Beatty and Browne finishing 34th, 42nd and 51st respectively. U.S.A.’S Sargent placed 33rd.
Feb. 15 – Women's 10km Freestyle
Perfect weather conditions met the athletes on the sixth day of competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Norway’s Ragnhild Haga put 20 seconds on Sweden’s Kalla to win the gold medal in the women’s 10km Freestyle. Two bronze medals were awarded to Parmakoski of Finland and Bjoergen of Norway after their photo finish was deemed a tie. This was Bjoergen’s 12th Nordic-skiing Olympic medal, putting her in all-time second place.
American Diggins had another fantastic race, finishing fifth, under four seconds behind the podium. She skied amongst the top skiers for most of the day and was only distanced in the closing kilometres. In the end, she was ecstatic with her performance, knowing she skied her best, and was not disappointed for being so close to an Olympic medal.
Fellow Americans Sadie Bjornsen and Randall were 15th and 16th, with Liz Stephen in 30th. Nishikawa was the top Canadian in 32nd, followed by Beatty in 37th, Browne in 43rd and Comeau in 61st.
Feb. 16 – Men's 15km Freestyle
Dario Cologna of Switzerland made history in the men’s 15km Freestyle, becoming the first man to win three Olympic titles in same event. He finished 18.3 seconds ahead of Krueger of Norway, who took his second medal of the Games after winning gold in the men’s Skiathlon. OAR’S Denis Spitsov rounded out the podium in third.
Canadian Harvey nailed his second top-10 of the Pyeongchang Winter Games, finishing seventh. The Quebec native crossed the line 35 seconds behind Cologna and just 12 off the podium, but had no regrets. He believes that he left everything out there and was happy with the result. After two great races in the Endurance events, Harvey continued his medal search in the upcoming relay and 50km race.
Harvey was especially excited for Cologna, complimenting his consistency and technical ability. The Swiss skier also joined an exclusive club of four-time Olympic gold medalists from Switzerland after he won the men’s 15km Freestyle.
The U.S.A.’S Scott Patterson had a strong day, finishing 21st, followed by Canada’s Killick in 38th, with U.S.A.’S Erik Bjornsen 41st and Noah Hoffman 48th, Canada’s Knute Johnsgaard 69th and Kershaw 71st and U.S.A.’S Tyler Kornfield in 74th.
Feb. 17 – Women's 4x5km Relay
Team USA finished fifth in the women’s 4x5km relay for their best-ever Olympic relay result, but the day belonged to Norway. Sweden took home the silver, hitting the line exactly two seconds behind Norway, while the OAR earned the bronze medal at the Alpensia Cross Country Skiing Centre. Team Canada ended up 13th.
The U.S. team composed of Randall, Caldwell, Diggins and Sadie Bjornsen finished 1:20.5 off Norway’s gold-medal time.
Caldwell led off for the Americans, but the pace was brutal, as the OAR, Slovenia and Norway quickly gapped the field, with Sweden and Finland chasing hard.
Randall picked up the pace in the third leg and moved Team USA into sixth with strong skiing, but the gap to the leaders was unassailable. On the final leg, Diggins dug deep and moved the U.S.A. into fifth, as Canada’s Comeau took over for Browne to finish 13th. At the front, Sweden’s Nilsson was no match for Norway’s veteran Bjoergen, who put the hammer down on the finishing straight for the gold.
Feb. 18 – Men's 4x10km Relay
Team Canada rallied to a ninth-place finish in the men’s 4x10km relay, as Norway claimed the gold. The OAR took home the silver, with France celebrating a hard-earned bronze. Team USA struggled, finishing 14th.
Kazakhstan’s Alexey Poltoranin set the fastest time on the opening leg, with OAR in second and Italy third. Canadian Valjas handed off to Killick in 10th, while U.S.A.’S Newell tagged Hanneman in 12th.
The OAR built up a 24-second lead as Italy, France and Norway chased. Killick put Canada in seventh, while Hanneman struggled, dropping the U.S.A. to 14th.
Kennedy put Canada in ninth over the third leg, handing off to Johnsgaard for the finale. Norway and France were leading with Klaebo and Adrien Backsheider, but were soon caught by OAR’S Spitsov. Backsheider was quickly dropped, as Klaebo made the winning move with just a little more than one kilometre to go. Spitsov took the silver and Backsheider the bronze. Johnsgaard crossed the line in ninth for Canada.
Feb. 21 – Women's Team Sprint
Diggins from Aton, Minn. and Randall from Anchorage, Alaska made history at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games, winning Team Sprint gold and bringing home the U.S.A.’S first-ever Olympic women’s cross-country-ski medal.
The dynamic duo repeated their historic gold-medal performance from the Nordic World Championships at Val di Fiemme, Italy back in 2013 – another first – as they made history again, only this time on the Olympic stage.
In the heats, Norway won the opening semifinal, with Switzerland in second. Diggins and Randall won their heat ahead of Sweden.
In the gold-medal event, Norway, Sweden and the U.S. gapped the rest of the field by 20 seconds. The race came down to a final sprint to the line between Nilsson and Diggins, with the American catching and passing the Swede just before the line for the historic victory. Sweden’s Kalla and Nilsson won the silver, with Norway’s Bjoergen and Falla taking the bronze. The Canadian pairing of Nishikawa and Beatty did not qualify, finishing seventh in their first heat.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the US Team camp when the celebrations erupted. The win capped an amazing Games for Diggins with two fifth-place finishes and it was icing on the cake of Randall’s amazing career, as the triple Sprint Cup globe winner retired at the season’s end.
Feb. 21 – Men's Team Sprint
Team USA’S Erik Bjornsen and Hamilton raced to a strong sixth-place finish, claiming the best Olympic result ever for the U.S. in men’s cross-country skiing. Canada’s Valjas and Harvey finished eighth.
The gold medal was taken by Norway’s Sundby and Klaebo over OAR’S Bolshunov and Spitsov. France’s Maurice Manificat and Richard Jouve won bronze.
In the final, the Americans were in contention, but a mishap by Erik Bjornsen saw him hit the snow, though he recovered quickly and tagged Hamilton in fifth for the final leg. Norway’s Klaebo attacked on the final lap, and by then, it was a three-horse race, with Hamilton battling Italy behind.
Canada fared well through the first half of the final, but couldn’t maintain the pace as things heated up. The Canucks battled with Finland and prevailed for eighth on the day.
Klaebo dominated his first Olympic Winter Games, taking three gold medals in Pyeongchang 2018. At only 21 years of age, the Norwegian has a long career ahead of him.
Feb. 24 – Men's 50km Classic
Canada’s Harvey took home his best Olympic result, finishing fourth in the men’s epic 50km Classic, but it was bittersweet for the Canuck, who hoped to secure a historic medal at his final Olympic Winter Games.
American Scott Patterson delivered a stellar result for the U.S.A., claiming 11th, the best-ever finish for Team USA in the men’s 50km, but the day belonged to Finland’s Iivo Niskanen. The skier delivered his country’s first Olympic gold at the Pyeongchang 2018.
He took charge, setting a challenging pace with an early breakaway that proved to be the winning move. OAR’S Bolshunov bridged up to Finland’s Niskanen, who was being chased by Kazakhstan’s Poltoranin. Bolshunov passed Poltoranin and took the lead from Niskanen, but in the end, he settled for the silver, as Niskanen regained the lead on a long downhill.
Bolshunov’s teammate Andrey Larkov escaped from the chasing group that included Canada’s Harvey and Norway’s Sundby to claim the bronze. Harvey outsprinted Sundby for fourth.
Canada’s Kershaw broke a pole early on, but recovered to finish 26th in the points, followed by teammate Killick in 27th. American Hoffman was 33rd, Kornfield was 48th and Canada’s Kennedy finished 49th.
Feb. 25 – Women's 30km Classic
The U.S.A.’S Diggins wrapped up her stellar Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang with a strong seventh-place finish in the Olympic women’s 30km Classic Mass Start in warm conditions. Norway’s Bjoergen took a decisive victory to secure a record eighth gold medal at the Games. In doing so, Bjoergen tied countrymen cross-country skier Bjorn Dahlie and biathlete Ole Einar Bjorndalen for most gold medals won at the Olympic Winter Games, and has also earned a record 15 Games medals.
American Sadie Bjornsen finished 17th, while Anchorage natives Rosie Frankowski and Caitlin Patterson were 21st and 26th. The top Canadian was Nishikawa in 30th, with Browne 43rd, while Comeau did not finish.
Diggins suffered a first-lap crash, but recovered quickly, fighting back to the top-10 and finishing off a historic Winter Olympics for the U.S. women’s squad.
Individually, it was Diggins’ best Games, capped by the Team Sprint gold with Randall, which was the U.S.A.’S first women’s medal in cross-country skiing. She was announced as the Team USA flag-bearer for the Closing Ceremony at the Pyeongchang Olympic stadium. Results on page 49
Feb. 10, 2018 Women’s Skiathlon (7.5km CL + 7.5km FR 1. Charlotte Kalla (SWE) 40:44.9; 2. Marit Bjoergen (NOR) 7.8; 3. Krista Parmakoski (FIN) 10.1; CAN/US 5. Jessie Diggins (USA) 14.7; 33. Cendrine Browne (CAN) 3:17.0; 34. Caitlin Patterson (USA) 3:30.0; 40. Kikkan Randall (USA) 4:02.3; 44. Emily Nishikawa (CAN) 4:31.7; 48. Anne-marie Comeau (CAN) 4:57.9; 52. Dahria Beatty (CAN) 5:32.4; 58. Rosie Brennan (USA) 6:51.1.
Feb. 11, 2018 Men’s Skiathlon (15km CL + 15km FR) 1. Simen Hegstad Krueger (NOR) 1:16:20.0; 2. Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR) 8.0; 3. Hans Christer Holund (NOR) 9.9; CAN/US 8. Alex Harvey (CAN) 33.4; 18. Scott Patterson (USA) 1:07.5; 36. Devon Kershaw (CAN) 3:35.3; 42. Erik Bjornsen (USA) 4:34.7; 45. Graeme Killick (CAN) 5:19.6; 51. Patrick Caldwell (USA) 6:58.1; 54. Noah Hoffman (USA) 7:08.7; 62. Knute Johnsgaard (CAN) lapped.
Feb. 13, 2018 Men’s Sprint Classic1. Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (NOR) 3:05.75; 2. Federico Pellegrino (ITA) 1:34; 3. Alexander Bolshunov (OAR) 1.36; CAN/US 7. Len Valjas (CAN); 20. Simi Hamilton (USA); 25. Erik Bjornsen (USA); 32. Alex Harvey (CAN); 35. Jesse Cockney (CAN); 37. Andy Newell (USA); 42. Logan Hanneman (USA); 54. Russell Kennedy (CAN); Women’s Sprint Classic 1. Stina Nilsson (SWE) 3:03.84; 2. Maiken Caspersen Falla (NOR) 3.03; 3. Yulia Belorukova (OAR) 3.37; CAN/US 6. Jessie Diggins (USA) 11.23; 8. Sophie Caldwell (USA); 14. Sadie Bjornsen (USA); 33. Ida Sargent (USA); 34. Emily Nishikawa (CAN); 42. Dahria Beatty (CAN); 51. Cendrine Browne (CAN).
Feb. 15, 2018 Women’s 10km Free Free 1. Ragnhild Haga (NOR) 25:00.5; 2. Charlotte Kalla (SWE) 20.3; 3. Marit Bjoergen (NOR) 31.9; CAN/US 5. Jessie Diggins (USA) 35.2; 15. Sadie Bjornsen (USA) 1:42.1; 16. Kikkan Randall (USA) 1:49.9; 30. Liz Stephen (USA) 2:35.4; 32. Emily Nishikawa (CAN) 2:41.0; 37. Dahria Beatty (CAN) 2:48.4; 43. Cendrine Browne (CAN) 3:11.9; 62. Anne-marie Comeau (CAN) 4:10.8.
Feb. 16, 2018 Men’s 15km Free 1. Dario Cologna (SUI) 33:43.9; 2. Simen Hegstad Krueger (NOR) 18.3; 3. Denis Spitsov (OAR) 23.0; CAN/USUS 7. Alex Harvey (CAN) 35.5; 21. Scott Patterson (USA) 1:44.1; 38. Graeme Killick (CAN) 2:39.4; 41. Erik Bjornsen (USA) 2:44.7; 48. Noah Hoffman (USA) 3:01.3; 69. Knute Johnsgaard (CAN) 4:04.6; 71. Devon Kershaw (CAN) 4:17.6; 74. Tyler Kornfield (USA) 4:34.0.
Feb. 17, 2018 Women’s 4x5km Relay 1. Norway (Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg, Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen, Ragnhild Haga, Marit Bjoergen) 51:24.3; 2. Sweden (Anna Haag, Charlotte Kalla, Ebba Andersson, Stina Nilsson) 2.0; 3. Olympic Athletes from Russia (Natalia Nepryaeva, Yulia Belorukova, Anastasia Sedova, Anna Nechaevskaya) 43.3; CAN/US 5. USA (Sophie Caldwell, Sadie Bjornsen, Kikkan Randall, Jessie Diggins) 1:20.5; 13. Canada (Dahria Beatty, Emily Nishikawa, Cendrine Browne, Anne-marie Comeau) 4:50.3.
Feb. 18, 2018 Men’s 4x10km Relay 1. Norway (Didrik Toenseth, Martin Johnsrud Sundby, Simen Hegstad Krueger, Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo) 1:33:04.9; 2. Olympic Athletes from Russia (Andrey Larkov, Alexander Bolshunov, Alexey Chervotkin, Denis Spitsov) 9.4; 3. France (Jean-marc Gaillard, Maurice Manificat, Clement Parisse, Adrien Backscheider) 36.9; CAN/US 9. Canada (Len Valjas, Graeme Killick, Russell Kennedy, Knute Johnsgaard) 3:41.0; 14. USA (Andy Newell, Reese Hanneman, Scott Patterson, Noah Hoffman) 9:24.2.
Feb. 21, 2018 Men’s Team Sprint Free 1. Norway (Martin Johnsrud Sundby, Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo) 15:56.26; 2. Olympic Athletes from Russia (Denis Spitsov, Alexander Bolshunov) 1.71; 3. France (Maurice Manificat, Richard Jouve) 2.02; CAN/US 6. USA (Erik Bjornsen, Simi Hamilton) 20.72; 8. Canada (Len Valjas, Alex Harvey) 35.60; Women’s Team Sprint Free 1. USA (Kikkan Randall, Jessie Diggins) 15:56.47; 2. Sweden (Charlotte Kalla, Stina Nilsson) 0.19; 3. Norway (Marit Bjoergen, Maiken Caspersen Falla) 2.97; CAN 6. 13. Canada (Emily Nishikawa, Dahria Beatty) 38.98.
Feb. 24, 2018 Men’s 50km Mass-start Classic 1. Iivo Niskanen (FIN) 2:08:22.1; 2. Alexander Bolshunov (OAR) 18.7; 3. Andrey Larkov (OAR) 2:37.5; CAN/US 4. Alex Harvey (CAN) 2:43.6; 11. Scott Patterson (USA) 4:52.1; 26. Devon Kershaw (CAN) 9:27.3; 27. Graeme Killick (CAN) 10:06.7; 33. Noah Hoffman (USA) 10:42.0; 48. Tyler Kornfield (USA) 16:14.4; 49. Russell Kennedy (CAN) 16:54.5.
Feb. 25, 2018 Women’s 30km Mass-start Classic Marit Bjoergen (NOR) 1:22:17.6; 2. Krista Parmakoski (FIN) 1:49.5; 3. Stina Nilsson (SWE) 1:58.9; CAN/US 7. Jessie Diggins (USA) 3:37.2; 17. Sadie Bjornsen (USA) 6:32.6; 21. Rosie Frankowski (USA) 8:53.8; 26. Caitlin Patterson (USA) 10:26.0; 30. Emily Nishikawa (CAN) 12:14.1; 43. Cendrine Browne (CAN) 19:06.3.
Kikkan Randall (l) and Jessie Diggins made history and celebrate the U.S.A.'S first Olympic gold medal in cross-country skiing, winning the women's Team Sprint at Pyeongchang 2018.
The U.S.A.'S Jessie Diggins at the finish women's Team Sprint to claim historic Olympic gold.
Canada's Alex Harvey took home four top-10 results, but fell short of his goal to win an Olympic medal.
Canadian Len Valjas took home a stellar 7th-place finish in the men's Classic sprint.
The U. U.S.A.'S S.A.' s Simi Hamilton took home a record 6th- 6th-place place finish in the men's Team Sprint with Erik Bjornsen.
Amerian Erik Bjornsen battled to a record 6th-place result with Simi Hamilton in the men's Team Sprint. Scott Patterson raced to a best-ever 11th-place finish for Team USA in the men's 50km Classic finale.
Switzerland's Dario Cologna won a historic men's 15km FR, becoming the first man to win three Olympic titles in same event.
Norway's Johannes Hoesflflflot Hoesflot Klaebo dominated his first Olympic Winter Games, claiming three golds.
Norway's Marit Bjoergen won her eighth gold for a record 15 Olympic Games medals.