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

Kikkan Randall and Jessica Diggins claimed the United States' first-ever Olympic gold medal in cross-country skiing after winning a thrilling women's team sprint freestyle event at Pyeongchang 2018.

Just over a year later, Diggins and Randall won the world championship team sprint title - the first ever world title for the Americans.

Norway's Marit Bjørgen and Maiken Caspersen Falla were 2.97 seconds off the pace in third.

BC-OLY-XXC-American History, 2nd Ld-Writethru, 857 Drought over: USA women win 1st Olympic cross-country medalAP Photo OLYCC117, OLYCC116, OLYCC115, OLYCC114, OLYCC105, OLYCC148, OLYCC, OLYCC124, OLYCC123, OLYCC128, OLYCC129Eds: Adds hyperlinks.

Sweden took home the silver medal and Norway walked away with the bronze.

Full report to follow. American cross-country skiing history was made and a 42-year Olympic medal drought ended.

"So the last lap I was just going as hard as I could and I wanted to come behind because downhill is my favorite", Diggins said.

This was Randall's fifth Winter Olympic games.

Randall had never finished higher than sixth place at the Winter Games, dating to her first Olympics back in 2002 in Salt Lake City - a string of 18 attempts, counting Wednesday's start.

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.

The gold medal is the first in USA history in cross country, and you'd need to go back to the Innsbruck Games in 1976 to find a US medal of any kind in cross country skiing.

So when it came down to a three-way sprint for the win tonight, the U.S. team knew it was possible for her to pull through.

"I'm very, very happy for Jessie and Kikkan today taking a gold medal", Bjoergen said.

"It's what I've been working on for 20 years and with this team for the last five years". "But we've been feeling so good these entire Games, and just having it happen as a team event means so much more to me than any individual medal ever would".

"It's time to start dropping people", Diggins said. Diggins had three top-six finishes at the Olympics and Randall was skiing well, too.

"It's hard to understand, actually", Bjørgen, a medallist in all four events she has contested at Pyeongchang 2018, said. Of course, she was bummed, but you could tell she was happy for me.

Bjoergen, who already had won gold, silver and bronze at the Pyeongchang Games, said she was happy to see the Americans win this one.


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