With the cancellation of next week's FIS Cross-Country Ski World Cup Finals, this coming weekend's final event will now be something of a victory lap for overall World Cup champion Jessie Diggins of Afton.
She has officially clinched the title, only the second American and the first American woman, on the basis of her 342-point lead over second-place Yuliya Stupak of Russia. With two races left on the calendar and 100 points awarded to first place, Diggins can't be caught. She is the first overall World Cup champion from Team USA since Bill Koch in 1982. She is the first woman not from Norway to win the title since Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland in 2013.
"It's always been a big dream of mine to be able to show up ready to play, no matter what it is: distance, sprint, classic [style], skate [style], skiathlon," Diggins told NBC Sports last month. "Whatever it is, I want to show up and be ready to give it my best fight. I'm finally getting to that place in my career."
Diggins, 29, 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. Diggins 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 also has never won. She leads Sweden's Ebba Andersson by 62 points while Stupak and U.S. teammate Rosie Brennan are tied for third, 108 points behind.