Cross-country athletes will take the starting line for the first time at the 2022 Winter Olympics Saturday at 2:45 a.m. ET. United States superstar Jessie Diggins is gearing up for the women’s 15km skiathlon alongside teammate Rosie Brennan, who is also a medal contender. Athletes competing in the skiathlon will race the first 7.5km using the classical technique and the last 7.5km freestyle.
After winning her first gold medal during the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics in the team sprint freestyle race, Diggins returns to the track in hopes of earning a U.S.-first individual gold and/or women's individual podium. The 2022 Winter Olympics will be her third time on the Olympic stage. She'll be joined by Brennan in the women's skiathlon for her second appearance. At the 2021 Davos Nordic World Cup, Brennan held off Slovenian Anamarija Lampic to win her first career cross-country skiing World Cup. Brennan has yet to win Olympic hardware and will also appear in the women’s individual sprint on Feb. 8 at 3:00 a.m. ET.
Some of the largest competitors in this event will be Norway’s Therese Johaug and Sweden’s Frida Karlsson. Johaug is a 14-time world champion and took home gold at the Vancouver 2010 Games as well as individual silver and bronze medals in Sochi. During the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in 2021, Johaug took first place in the women’s 15km skiathlon and Karlsson followed close in second. Previously disqualified after a lane-switch maneuver caused Diggins to crash during the Stage 4 spring quarterfinals, Karlsson will meet Diggins on the track again.
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