For the second time this week, Jessie Diggins finished fourth in a race at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Thursday, the distance between the Afton skier and a medal was agonizingly close.
Finland captured the bronze by 8/10ths of a second over Diggins and her U.S. teammates in the women's 4x5-kilometer relay in Oberstdorf, Germany. Racing the anchor leg, Diggins started in fifth place and quickly engaged Finland's Krista Parmakoski in a fierce battle for third. Diggins edged ahead on the final lap, but Parmakoski regained the lead on the last uphill climb and held on through a mad dash to the finish line.
Diggins skied the second-fastest anchor leg, finishing 2/10ths of a second behind Parmakoski in 12 minutes, 33.9 seconds. Norway won the race with a total time of 53:43.2, followed by Russia (+26.6 seconds), Finland (+46.2) and the U.S. (+47.0).
"It's heartbreaking to come that close to a medal, knowing that fitness-wise, we are so there,'' Diggins told US Ski & Snowboard. "The only part we can really control is coming into the world championships knowing that our fitness is there, our minds are there, our tactics are there. And most importantly, that we are gritty enough.''
Diggins also finished fourth in the 10k freestyle earlier this week. She is seeking her first medal at these world championships with one women's event remaining, the 30k classic mass start on Saturday.