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Jessie Diggins, America’s cross-country skiing star with New England ties, wins bronze in individual sprint

Jessie Diggins was 3.16 seconds behind gold-medal winner Jonna Sundling of Sweden in the women's individual sprint on Tuesday.Matthias Hangst/Getty

Jessie Diggins, the surprise cross-country skiing star of the 2018 Olympics, won the bronze medal in the women’s individual sprint race Tuesday at the Beijing Olympics.

Diggins, who is from Minnesota but also lives in South Boston and Stratton, Vermont, helped the US win its first cross-country skiing gold in 2018 in the team sprint event, and on Tuesday won the US’s first women’s individual sprint medal.

Sweden’s Jonna Sundling won gold, and Maia Dahlqvist, also of Sweden, won the silver medal.

“This is absolutely wild,” Diggins said. “And I’m just so grateful. That’s the overwhelming emotion because it’s taken so much from so many people. We had amazing skis. We have amazing teammates who have helped me. We have an amazing support staff. This really belongs to everyone.”


Diggins’ teammate, Rosie Brennan, was just behind in fourth on Tuesday. It’s the first time more than one American has been in a sprint final together.

“That was amazing,” Diggins said of racing with her teammate. “She’s skiing so well.”

Sundling went into the final wearing bib No. 1 after qualifying with the fastest time and carried that momentum to the finish line. She won the race in 3:09.68, finishing 2.88 seconds ahead of Dahlqvist and Diggins was 3.16 seconds behind.

Sundling is a first-time Olympian but has two world championship sprint titles, and team sprint titles with Dahlqvist.

“It’s amazing. I don’t think I understand it yet,” Sundling said. “My body was really good and skis were also really good. Everything just went good today, except one thing in the quarterfinal. I’m so happy with the gold today and my performance.”