Afton gold medalist Jessie Diggins makes Nordic skiing history once again

Afton native Jessie Diggins has said that she feels most dangerous in a World Cup cross country ski race when she’s happy stepping to the start line. She prioritized that emotion in particular heading into this season after revealing in the fall that she had experienced a relapse with her eating disorder.

She spoke publicly with the goal of helping others who might be struggling with something similar. She vowed to put her mental health at the forefront regardless of circumstance. She was willing to skip stuff along the way if she felt she wasn’t in a good head space.

All of those things helped Diggins stay happy each time she stepped to the start line, so maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise that she just put the finishing touches on the most historic stretch of her career. After winning the 20-kilometer freestyle in Falun, Sweden over the weekend, Diggins has officially clinched the World Cup Nordic skiing overall title.

“I just wanted to leave it all out there,” she said during her post-race interview. “I know when I do that, I can walk away proud. To me, if I’m first, if I’m last, it doesn’t matter. If I give it everything I have. I’m going to be proud of what I put out there.”

This is actually the second time that Diggins has won the World Cup overall title and hoisted the Crystal Globe that goes to the winner. That has never been done by a U.S. cross country skier. She was dominant this season and won six races. That also has never been done by a U.S. cross country skier.

It’s fitting that Diggins ended this season with a victory.

“I wanted to ski a brave race and put my whole heart out there, and that’s what I did,” Diggins told reporters in Falun. “I’m really proud of how the season ended; I’m even more proud of my team for being there for me. It’s been a lot of ups and downs, and it hasn’t been easy. It’s been a hard year, and that’s why it’s so special that we did it together.”

This accomplishment for Diggins came about a month after she finally got to compete in a World Cup race on home snow. She called the Loppet Cup at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis the highlight of her career. It’s safe to say finishing this season with another World Cup overall title is right up there with it.

The biggest thing Diggins can be proud of this season, however, is the fact that she remained true to herself through it all.

She was happy each time she stepped to the start line. She was happy each time she was on the course. She was happy each time she crossed the finish line.

Just like she promised.

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