Jessie Diggins: Making History in Women’s Individual Cross-Country Skiing


Sydney Heckmann

Jessie Diggins getting ready to race at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

In the 2022 Beijing Olympics, Jessie Diggins raced one of the best races in her life. With food poisoning the night and morning before the race, she still skied through to the end. Diggins placed second place in the 30km Freestyle and again in the sprints event taking third place.

Diggins grew up in Afton, Minnesota, the perfect place for her to develop her skill on becoming a professional Cross Country skier. Diggins grew up playing outdoors with her parents, from backpacking in the mountains and skiing to sledding at the park every weekend in the winter.

Diggins attended Stillwater High School and skied for six years. She found most of her friends on the team and made most of it with a positive attitude to the team.

“I race because I love the sport,” Diggins said in her biography website.

According to authors Zach McGill and Doug BeBold of Jessie Diggins Biography, Diggins graduated high school in 2010 and then attended the University of Michigan on an Academic scholarship and raced for the central cross-country elite team as well. As Diggins fell in love with the sport she said to “go all-in.” In 2011, she was added to the USA Ski and Snowboard team.

With Diggins’ adventures to victory, she is also the first American to win the FIS Tour de Ski and the first American woman to win the overall and distance World Cup titles, according to Fisski Biography.

“I’m going to give this absolutely everything I can and play a tactical, smart race and see how it pans out. At that point, you’ve got nothing to lose,” Diggins said in an interview with the US Ski Team.

According to the 2022 Olympics biography, Diggins’ ritual before races is putting sparkles on her cheeks as a reminder that this game is fun and to race her heart out. She can also be seen sporting her braids – a ritual in which the braiding process calms her nerves.

According to the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, Diggins made history for the Women’s Ski and Snowboarding Team by finishing second in the 30 kilometers and becoming the first non-European athlete to bring home a medal in this event. She is also the only American to bring back multiple cross-country medals from the same Olympics.

After the 30 kilometer race for Diggins, she had an interview with Cathy Wurzer from Finland.

“I think that’s what also makes it so special when you do something so hard, just because you think you may be can. Because you want to try to do something that seems impossibly hard. It’s such a cool feeling when you make it to that finish line, because you just find out that you are capable of so much more than you thought you were. It’s such an empowering feeling,” Diggins said.

According to Cathy Wurzer, hours before Diggins’ 30 kilometers freestyle race, she had food poisoning.

“That was a bit of a roller coaster, emotionally and physically. The day before the race, I woke up and was definitely not in a good place. And I felt just really empty and kind of sick, and like the wind might knock me down if I went outside,” Diggins said.

According to Dustin Jones, a reporter at the 2022 Olympics, Diggins finished behind Norway’s gold medalist, Johaug Therese, by about 50 seconds.

Diggins battled in the finishing few seconds to hold her ground in the second place victory. With high winds and frigid temperatures, she made it through to the end of the finish line. At the end she and her team were in tears.