United States ends 42-year Olympic cross-country medal drought with incredible photo finish

Bradie Tennell of the United States performs during the women's short program figure skating in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung South Korea Wednesday Feb. 21 2018

Diggins passed the Swedes and the Norwegians on the final lap to win the first Olympic gold medal for the United States in the sport. Diggins has won more world championship medals than any USA cross-country skier in history, and Randall is a veteran who returned the US team to relevance after it had languished short of the medal podium for years.

Diggins and Randall also helped the U.S.to a fifth-place finish Saturday in the women's 4x5km relay. The skiers beat the Swedish team (Charlotte Kalla and Stina Nilsson) by 0.19 seconds over the 4.66-miles race, finishing at a brisk 16:22.56. "I feel that it's also special that Kikkan is there, who also started her Olympic [career] in Salt Lake with me".

The race was the fifth of these Olympics for Diggins, 26.

Discussing her strategy, Diggins said that she wanted to push the pace early, to try to take some energy from the sprinters she was up against.

"Being so close to medals so many times this week, I knew I was in good shape and I knew it could happen", Diggins told NBC. The U.S.'s eventual winning time of 15:56:47 was only 0.19 seconds ahead of silver medalists Sweden.

This is Randall's 5th, and according to her, last, Olympic Games.

It was a fitting race for two gritty and strong racers whose lives and careers have always been lived in parallel - from making their debuts in Salt Lake City, to having children within months of each other around two years ago. "America, they have been strong for years and growing a really good team, so they really deserve it".



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