Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall make the USA the fastest team on skis in the World, taking the first American World Championships' gold medal in the history of cross-country.
The American sprinters seized this important success in the team sprint event (6x1.2 km in free technique) with a brave and smart race, skied always in front of the group. The decisive action of the day was signed by the young Jessica Diggins (born in 1991), who attacked on her final leg on the steepest climb of the track, breaking even a pole on the top of the hill. Her action took away two other teams, Sweden and Finland, while Norway fell and lost important meters, losing all chances to fight for the medals.
On the final leg, Kikkan Randall had simply to control the competitors to bring the second gold of these World Championships to the United States, leaving the silver to Sweden and the bronze to Finland.
Earlier in the day, the qualification featured 25 teams that had to struggle to conquer the 10 spots available for the final, due at 12:00.
The best teams in qualification were undoubtedly USA (Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall), Sweden (Charlotte Kalla, Ida Ingemarsdotter), Norway (Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg and Maiken Caspersen Falla) and Germany (Hanna Kolb and Denise Herrmann), who conquered the first two position in the two semifinals, while Finland (Riikka Lilja-Sarasoja and Krista Lahteenmaki), Italy (Marina Piller and Ilaria Debertolis), Slovenia (Katja Visnar and Vesna Fabjan), Poland (Sylwia Jaskowiec and Agnieszka Szymanczak), Russia (Natalia Korosteleva) and France (Celia Aymoner and Coraline Hugue) entered the final by signing the best times among the «losing» teams.
Great performances were signed individually by Herrmann and Piller, who brought Germany and Italy to the final with two decisive actions in their last leg. Nevertheless, the teams to beat for the final seemed immediately to be Norway and USA.
The final started right on schedule, at 12:00. During the first laps, Norway and Sweden took turns too keep up the pace, but their action didn’t seem to make the difference. During the fifth leg of the race, Diggins tried to attack on the steepest climb of the track, but right a the top of the hill she broke a pole. Fortunately for her, her coach was right there and immediately gave her a new pole, allowing her to keep pushing hard and ending the leg in first position, right in front of Sweden and Finland.
Behind them, Oestberg for Norway fell down and lost many meters on the leaders, losing all chances to struggle for the medals, while Italy stayed in fourth position thanks to the performance of Marina Piller.
On the last leg, Kikkan Randall controlled her advantage and kept at bay Ida Ingemarsdotter, who settled for silver. The lowest step of the podium was conquered by Finland, who was able to resist the comeback of Norway and Italy.
Team Sprint Ladies (6x1.2 km FT):
1) United States of America 20'24"
2) Sweden 20'32"
3) Finland 20'31"
4) Norway 20'45"
5) Italy 20'45"