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Jessie Diggins takes cross-country skiing World Cup lead with dominant win

Jessie Diggins

Jessie Diggins of USA passes the finish line to win the Women’s 10km event at the FIS Cross-Country World Cup competitions in Gallivare, Sweden, on December 2, 2023. (Photo by Ulf PALM / TT News Agency / AFP) / Sweden OUT (Photo by ULF PALM/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images)

TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images

Jessie Diggins grabbed the cross-country skiing World Cup standings lead with a dominant 10km freestyle victory by 23.1 seconds on Saturday.

Diggins, an Olympic medalist of every color, clocked 24:48.3 in an interval start race in Gällivare, Sweden, where temperatures were in the single digits. Sweden’s Ebba Andersson was runner-up.

Last Feb. 28, Diggins captured the 10km free at the world championships to become the first U.S. cross-country skier to win an individual world title. Andersson was third in that race.

Fellow Swede Frida Karlsson, the world silver medalist, entered this weekend as the World Cup overall leader but did not race Saturday after testing positive for COVID-19.

Diggins owns 15 FIS World Cup wins, the most in U.S. cross-country skiing history. Of those, eight were in 10km free races, and this was her largest margin of victory of the eight.

In 2021, Diggins became the second American -- and first American woman -- to win the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in the sport combining results from the entire season. After four races this season (which lasts into March), she and countrywoman Rosie Brennan are one-two in the standings.

The women’s World Cup continues with a relay on Sunday and next weekend with a classic sprint and another 10km free in Östersund, Sweden.