On the Hunt

The biggest underdogs at PyeongChang are the US Women's Nordic Team members.

It’s been 42 years since the U.S. Cross Country team brought home an Olympic medal (Bill Koch’s silver in the 30K at the 1976 Innsbruck games), but the dry spell may be over. Three members of the women’s team—Kikkan Randall, Sadie Bjornson, and Jessie Diggins—are medal contenders in the sprint, 10K, and 15K, and the coaches are feeling optimistic.

Jessie Diggins
Jessie Diggins and her teammates have come a long way in Nordic skiing competition.Photo courtesy of US Ski and Snowboard

“We’ve been growing in strength over the last couple of years,” says U.S. Cross Country team press officer Reese Brown. “The athletes have had some great results at World Cup competitions, and they’ve been working hard at training camp. This could be our year.”

Indeed, Randall, who took some time off when her son was born in 2016, took bronze in the sprint last fall at the Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti, Finland. Diggins skied her way to the silver medal in the same event. Diggins and Bjornson placed third in the team sprint.

While none of them are new to the scene—they all competed in Sochi, including a ninth-place finish in 4x5K relay—they have changed up some routines and have seen good results. Look for this trio in any combo of the sprint, 10K, and 15K, plus team events such as the relays and team sprints. Says Brown: “All three of them have the potential to medal.” 

You can find the entire Team USA roster for PyeongChang here.

See more 2018 Winter Olympic Coverage here.