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Diggins Leads U.S. in Otepaa Sprints

By Reese Brown
January, 19 2019
Jessie Diggins
Jessie Diggins was 12th in Saturday's Classic Sprint.

Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) led the U.S. Cross Country Team on Saturday in Otepaa, Estonia, with a 12th-place finish in the FIS Cross Country World Cup classic sprint. The race saw several falls and crashes that shook up the final results and most notably took out several of the strong Swedes.

“Today was a lot of fun, and I was really happy with how I skied,” said Diggins. “I ran out of gas a little in the second half of my semifinal, but given how stacked the semifinal one was, I’m taking a lot of confidence from today and in my classic sprinting. The steep herringbone technique on the big climb has always been a challenge for me, and I still have some work to do.”

The U.S. qualified five athletes for the finals, in part due to some fast skis from the wax techs. In addition to Diggins, the qualifiers included Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.), Ida Sargent (Craftsbury, Vt.), Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) and Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, Vt.).

“A bittersweet ‘day one’ of the classic weekend,” said Bjornsen. “After a qualifier that seemed a bit off, I went into the heats excited to find a better place and tried to hang in a smart position through the whole heat. As I came into the final corner, the tails of my skis got a little clicked by the Slovenian, which caused me to lose balance and find myself on the ground...not the way I had expected it.”

World Cup overall sprint leader Stina Nilsson of Sweden did not start the finals due to a potential injury opening the door for race winner Maiken Caspersen Falla of Norway. Russian Natalia Nepryaeva was second with third going to Sweden’s Maja Dahlqvist.

In the men’s race, neither Bjornsen or Newell advanced past the quarterfinals. The men’s race was dominated by the Norwegians who held five of the six start positions in the finals. World Cup overall leader Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo of Norway took the victory, followed by Alexander Bolshunov of Russia in second, and Norway’s Paal Golberg in third.

Men’s Sprint Finals
Women’s Sprint Finals

All times EST
Preliminary schedule, subject to change
*Same-day delayed broadcast

Saturday, Jan. 19
3:00 p.m. - Men and women’s sprint - Otepaa, EST - Olympic Channel-TV*

Sunday, Jan. 20
3:30 a.m. - Women’s 10k interval - Otepaa, EST - & NBC Sports Gold
7:00 a.m. - Men’s 15k interval - Otepaa, EST - & NBC Sports Gold
1:30 p.m. - Women’s 10k interval - Otepaa, EST - Olympic Channel-TV*

All streams are available via desktop (, as well as mobile, tablet and connected television platforms. The NBC Sports app, NBC Sports Gold app and Olympic Channel app are available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV and Amazon Fire. Exclusive commercial-free coverage will be available for subscribers of the NBC Sports Gold Pass.