History in the making
Six native Minnesotans have won Olympic gold medals in the Winter or Summer Games for the United States in individual, two-person or relay sports:
Jessie Diggins (Afton), 2018
Women's team sprint, cross-country skiing
Rachel Bootsma (Eden Prairie), 2012
4x100-meter medley relay team, swimming
Lindsey Vonn (Burnsville), 2010
Women's downhill, Alpine skiing
Tom Malchow (Mendota Heights), 2000
Men's 200-meter butterfly, swimming
Robert Seguso (Minneapolis), 1988
Tracy Caulkins (Winona), 1984
Won three gold medals in swimming
No longer true
Two "nevers" died early Wednesday:
•An American woman had never won a medal in cross-country skiing.
• No American had ever won gold in cross-country skiing. The U.S. had won only one medal, a silver by Bill Koch in 1976.
Inside Team Sprints
It's a 9-kilometer race, with six legs at 1.25k each. With two-person teams, the racers alternate legs. For the U.S. early Wednesday, Kikkan Randall led off and Jessie Diggins closed it out. The former Stillwater state champ crossed the finish line in 15 minutes, 56.47 seconds, only 0.19 seconds ahead of Sweden's Stina Nilsson.
NBC said Randall, nine years older than Diggins at 35, is the only mother on Team USA. Randall, a five-time Olympian from Anchorage, Alaska, was a proud mom after the race. "It was this race in particular that really motivated me to go for one more Olympics, and really pushed me through this comeback after having my son," she told NBC's "Today" show Wednesday. "It's been so fun. This family on this team has been helping me raise Breck. It's just so cool. I hope it gives a lot of inspiration to all the moms out there that you can come back to being active and physical and stronger than you've ever been."
Diggins Day coming soon
Diggins' hometown of Afton is making big plans for her return. A date and details are still in the works, but the town plans to host a "Jessie Diggins Day" soon. "I'm not sure yet what it will all involve," said Ron Moorse, Afton's city administrator. "When she won the gold, I don't think anyone got any sleep."