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Jessie Diggins, Julia Kern earn team sprint bronze at cross-country skiing worlds

Jessie Diggins, Julia Kern

PLANICA, SLOVENIA - FEBRUARY 26: Julia Kern and Jessie Diggins of United States celebrate after competing in the Women’s Final during the Cross-Country Team Sprint at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships Planica on February 26, 2023 in Planica, Slovenia. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

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Jessie Diggins and Julia Kern earned team sprint bronze at the world championships, a U.S. cross-country skiing record-extending fifth career world medal for Diggins.

Diggins, skiing the penultimate lap, pulled Sweden and Norway and opened a key eight-second gap on fourth-place Germany in Planica, Slovenia.

She handed off to Kern, her training partner of eight years, who finished five seconds behind Sweden and three seconds behind Norway but 17 seconds ahead of fourth-place Germany.

It marked the first U.S. cross-country skiing medal at worlds since 2017, when Diggins and Sadie Bjornsen took team sprint bronze. The next year, Diggins and Kikkan Randall won the Olympic team sprint, marking the first U.S. Olympic gold medal in cross-country skiing.

Diggins, 31, is the U.S. cross-country skiing record holder for Olympic medals (three, including one of every color), world championships medals (one gold, two silver, two bronze) and individual World Cup wins (14).

Kern, a 25-year-old whose parents are German, earned her first global championships podium to go along with four World Cup podiums (one individual from 2019).

Worlds continue with the women’s 10km freestyle on Tuesday, where Diggins is a medal contender.

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