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His sport is to move forward as fast as possible. It should come as no surprise then that Jessie Diggins does not live in the reflected glory of her Olympic gold medal.

The Afton native said she never looked at the medal she won in cross-country skiing at the Pyeongchang 2018 Games. She hid it in the basement of her parents’ house, where it is located. found with other memories. It wasn’t on her mind last summer, as Diggins gearing up for another World Cup season and the Beijing Olympics in 2022, or this week, when she did some final work in preparation for Friday’s season opener in Ruka, Finland.

“I’m trying not to build on the successes of the past,” Diggins said. “I’m proud of them because it reflects a lot of hard work from a lot of different people. But I have to prove myself this year.”

Diggins wears multiple crowns as she begins the World Cup season with three days of racing at Ruka. She is the reigning World Cup champion and distance champion, the first American woman to win these titles. Last winter, she also became the first American athlete to win the Tour de Ski with several stages, one of the flagship events of the circuit.

There is also this historic Olympic gold medal. Diggins will forever be known for her spectacular finish in the team sprint at the Pyeongchang Games, when she and Kikkan Randall won the first US Winter Games gold in cross-country skiing.

Each of those accomplishments ticked a box on their list of lifetime goals. But with a third Olympics in sight, Diggins doesn’t find it productive to dwell on it.

“Each year I feel like I get the chance to prove to myself that I work hard and deserve my place,” said Diggins, 30. [Beijing] Olympic Games. None of us have.

“I think it’s pretty cool that it doesn’t matter where you’re from or what you’ve done. You have to earn your place on the team. I like it in our sport. Nobody gets a pass. free. ” ‘

in his 11e season on the U.S. cross-country team, Diggins is expected to lead a young team at the Beijing Games, which begin Feb. 4. The Olympic team will consist of around 14 athletes, a slightly smaller group than in the past. The roster will be determined by performance on the World Cup circuit and will be announced in mid-January.

Diggins spent the summer training at his base in Vermont, as well as team camps in Germany and Utah. As always, she will enter the season with a carefully calibrated plan.

His goal is not to win medals in this weekend’s races, which include a classic sprint, a 10k classic and a 10k freestyle pursuit. His World Cup events will mainly focus on helping him reach the top of a busy schedule at the Olympics.

“If I’m in good shape I think you’ll see me doing a lot of big jumps in a lot of different races,” Diggins said of the Beijing Games, which includes six women’s events. “This year the focus is mostly on the Olympics, so you’ll really see me working into the season.

“That doesn’t mean you won’t see a good performance [early on], but probably not. You’re going to see me be patient and then slowly work my way up to a big peak. ”

It’s no different from his usual strategy. As she has done in past Olympic years, Diggins will compete in the grueling Tour de Ski, which she sees as an excellent fitness builder for the Games. She will also be counting on her teammates to keep the mood light and fun during a season where she will have high expectations.

Recently, Diggins participated in her first TikTok dance video, an idea dreamed up by her teammate Hailey Swirbul. She said the young athletes on the team inspire her with their work ethic, team spirit and zest for life, while US coach Matt Whitcomb noted that the whole group benefits from the altruism of Diggins.

“She loves to share her successes,” Whitcomb said. “Jessie could win 15 Olympic medals on her own, and she wouldn’t like that. She likes it because of the team around her.”

Since the 2018 Olympics, Diggins has written an autobiography and continued his work to fight eating disorders and climate change. Last summer, she also spent time gardening, cooking and planning her wedding, scheduled for next summer.

Training always came first. When she wrapped up the most successful season of her career last spring, Diggins didn’t spend much time celebrating.

She couldn’t wait to sit down with her trainer and sports psychologist to discuss how to keep improving. In her mind, the only way to follow a dream year is to keep moving forward as fast as she can.

“That’s what is so cool and motivating,” said Diggins. “There is always something that I look forward to, something to pursue and work on. It’s exciting to think about leaving after a new season with a lot of big goals. ”


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