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Jessie Diggins wins World Cup overall title in a season where starting was the biggest victory

Diggins secures second XC skiing WC overall title
Thanks to her top-20 result in the women's 20km freestyle in Sweden, Jessie Diggins captured her second cross-country skiing World Cup overall title to punctuate the most successful American season in the sport ever.

Jessie Diggins won a second World Cup overall title to cap the most successful season ever for an American cross-country skier.

Diggins, a 32-year-old Olympic medalist of every color, outlasted Swede Linn Svahn in a competition that lasted to Sunday’s final race of a 34-race season that began in November.

Diggins’ standings lead, which was 340 points on Feb. 10, was trimmed to 75 points going into Sunday’s finale.

That was still plenty comfortable: Diggins would hold off Svahn with a top-20 finish in Sunday’s 20km freestyle in Falun, Sweden, which is an ideal distance and technique for the American.

She did plenty more than that. Diggins won the race, her sixth individual victory of the campaign to break Kikkan Randall’s single-season American record.

“It’s been a hard year, and today my only goal was to have the most fun, and I really did,” she said. “I was smiling at the coaches out there. I just wanted to finish with nothing left. That was really painful.”

Diggins first won the overall title, which crowns the world’s best all-around cross-country skier, in 2021, becoming the first American woman to do so.

The overall standings are determined by all results across sprints and distance races in both classic and freestyle techniques during the November-to-March World Cup season.

Diggins’ 12 individual race podiums this season were also an outright single-season American record.

She also won the Tour de Ski, a Tour de France-like stage race that lasts nine days over the New Year, for a second time.

Diggins also spoke openly about a relapse of her eating disorder before this season began.

“Everyone wants to ask me about the Overall World Cup globe and if I can win it, and that’s a really, really cool position to be in,” was posted on her social media before this weekend’s races. “But the people who know me are asking how I’m doing, because there has been a lot of pressure, a lot of cameras and a lot of eyes watching me as I go though this season. There are so many variables that are outside my control when it comes to ski racing, and all year my focus has simply been to do the best that I can in each moment. And that applies to my life outside the track, too. The biggest victory for me from this whole season has been getting to the start line. Recovering from an eating disorder is a constant battle, and fighting it in the spotlight has been hard on me at times. I don’t regret sharing my story for an instant, because so many of you have shared with me how my words helped you find the courage to ask for help, to not be as hard on yourself, to learn about mental health so you could support someone you love.”

“To help even one person would have been enough. But this…this has been overwhelming in the best possible way.”

Next season is a world championships year.

Worlds in Trondheim, Norway, include two key races for Diggins: the relay, where the U.S. has never won a medal, finishing fourth or fifth at each of the last six worlds.

And the first women’s 50km race in championships history. Women previously skied up to 30km, while the men have raced 50km since 1925.

Norwegian Therese Johaug, who won three individual gold medals at the 2022 Olympics, is planning to end a two-year retirement specifically for the world championships 50km.

At the last worlds in 2023, Diggins won the 10km freestyle to become the first American to win an individual world title in the sport.

The 10km will be in the classic technique at the 2025 Worlds and back to freestyle at the 2026 Olympics, where Diggins could become the first American to win individual Olympic cross-country skiing gold.