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Diggins claims historic World Cup title for U.S.

News file photo — Justin A. Levine Jessie Diggins, pictured at the High Peaks Cyclery in Lake Placid on Oct. 13, 2019, became the first American to capture the women’s overall World Cup cross country ski title.

With the cancellation of the FIS Cross-Country Ski World Cup finale, this coming weekend’s final event will now be something of a victory lap for overall World Cup champion Jessie Diggins of the United States.

Diggins has officially clinched the historic title, just the second for an American and the first for an American woman, on the basis of her 342-point lead over second-place Yuliya Stupak of Russia. With just two races now left on the calendar and 100 points awarded to first place, Diggins cannot be caught. Diggins is the first overall World Cup champion from Team USA since Bill Koch did it in 1982. She is the first woman not from Norway to win the title since Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland in 2013. 

Diggins enjoyed an outstanding 2020-21 season, winning four events, including becoming the first American to win the prestigious Tour de Ski. Diggins’ previous top finish in the world cup standings was second in 2017-18. In the middle of that campaign, Diggins and teammate Kikkan Randall won the first U.S. Olympic gold medal in cross-country skiing with their team sprint victory. The 29-year-old from Afton, Minnesota, is also a four-time world medalist, including a gold medal in 2013 in team sprint.

The 2020-21 World Cup season concludes next weekend in Engadin, Switzerland. Diggins does have something to ski for as she could still clinch the distance title, which she has also never won. She leads Sweden’s Ebba Andersson by 62 points and Stupak and U.S. teammate Rosie Brennan are tied for third, 108 points behind.

Diggins enjoyed an outstanding 2020-21 season, winning four events, including becoming the first American to win the prestigious Tour de Ski. Diggins’ previous top finish in the world cup standings was second in 2017-18.

In the middle of that campaign, Diggins and teammate Kikkan Randall won the first U.S. Olympic gold medal in cross-country skiing with their team sprint victory in South Korea.

The 29-year-old from Afton, Minnesota, is also a four-time world medalist, including a gold medal in 2013 in team sprint.