Jessie Diggins has one more chance to win Olympic hardware at the 2022 Winter Olympics in the 30km women’s freestyle mass start on Feb. 19 at 10 p.m. ET. Diggins will go up against some of the biggest stars of the cross-country skiing competition including Norway’s Therese Johaug and ROC’s Natalya Nepryayeva.
Diggins made herself a household name at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, winning gold in the team sprint. She and her teammate, Kikkan Randall, catapulted into the Olympic spotlight and made history as the only U.S. athletes to ever win an Olympic gold medal in cross-country skiing.
She kept her momentum going at the 2022 Games and authored history for the second time with a monumental bronze-medal finish in the women’s individual sprint free final. It was her first individual Olympic medal and the United States’ first-ever women’s individual cross-country sprint medal. She crossed the finish line with a time of 3:12.84, ahead of compatriot Rosie Brennan.
As she tries for her second individual medal in the upcoming 30km mass start, she described her recipe for maintaining an upbeat demeanor while competing. After winning bronze in the sprint free, she said what it comes down to is having fun.
"Especially when there's a lot of pressure and nerves, I just want to have fun. And that's when I race my best, when I let myself enjoy it and just try to go super speed. And so I was just trying to say 'Hey, you know what? I'm just out here to try and do my very best and that's the only thing I have control over and so why not smile, you're at the Olympics.'”
Diggins’ recipe for a positive mentality on the course also comes from the ability to focus on the process of her goals in relation to her overall career rather than individual wins. She said finding her voice was one of her biggest goals she was able to achieve prior to the Games and helped her find her “purpose.”
“Like win, lose or draw, it's just focusing on the process and executing those process goals to the very best of my ability, because then I'm always proud of how I finish… it's just about making sure that I can do every single thing that I can.”
The Minnesota native will have to finish with nothing left in the 30km mass start to secure her third medal. To Diggins’ advantage, she gets to ski in her preferred technique of freestyle.
The women’s 30km mass start is her final appearance at the 2022 Winter Olympics and is the last event of the cross-country competition. It was pushed ahead from Feb. 20 at 1:30 a.m. ET to Feb. 19th at 10 p.m. ET.