Olympic Recap: February 20

Olympics: Cross-Country Skiing-Womens 30km Freestyle

The 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing came to a close on Sunday, with the United States winning a 25th medal. In cross-country skiing, Jessie Diggins of Saint Paul, Minnesota posted a second place time of 1:26:37.3 in winning the silver medal in the women’s 30 kilometre mass start.

Therese Johaug of Norway won the gold medal with a time of 1:24.54.0. Kerttu Niskanen of Finland won the bronze medal with a time of 1:27.27.3. Diggins comfortably earned a medal, as she was 52.1 seconds faster than fourth place finisher Jonna Sundling of Sweden, who had a fourth place time of 1:27.29.4. This was Diggins’ third career Olympic medal as she previously won a gold medal in the women’s team sprint with Kikkan Randall of Salt Lake City, Utah at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, and a bronze medal in the women’s sprint at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.

What Diggins was able to prove on Sunday was the fact she is a great all-around skier who is marvelous in the long distances, and not just the short sprint distances. The 30 kilometer cross country ski race is considered one of the most gruelling races in the entire Olympic Winter Games. Diggins, Johaug, and Niskanen all received their medal during the closing ceremonies of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

Unfortunately, the world’s best female cross country skiers did not have the stage to themselves as initially planned on Sunday. That is because the time of their race was moved up earlier in the day because of poor weather conditions in the forecast. As a result, the women’s 30 kilometer cross country ski race was held at the same time as the final heat of the four-man bobsled competition (won by the great Francesco Friedrich of Germany), and the gold medal game in men’s hockey (which was won by Finland). This was Finland’s first ever gold medal in hockey at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing as they defeated the Russian Olympic Committee 2-1.

Speaking of firsts, Great Britain won their first gold medal at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing on the final day of competition. In the gold medal game in women’s curling, Great Britain defeated Japan 10-3. Meanwhile, Austria won gold in the mixed team parallel alpine skiing competition.

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