U.S. Cross Country Skier Jessie Diggins Podiums at Historical 50KM Women’s Holmenkollen World Cup Race in Norway

Julia Schneemann | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Jessie Diggins
An elated Jessie Diggins on the podium of the inaugural women’s 50km Holmenkollen race. Picture: | Jessie Diggins Instagram Page

Long gone are the days where women weren’t allowed to run marathons because it was falsely thought to be a cause of infertility. Nevertheless, it took until 2023 for women to have the equal opportunity to compete in the 50 km (31.25 miles) Holmenkollen race in Norway. Up until last year, the 50km race was only open to men, while the women had to concede with a 30 km event. In May 2022, the International Ski Federation ‘FIS’, voted in favor of a proposal to have both men and women race the same distance.

Set up in the city of Oslo, Norway’s capital, the Holmenkollen dates back to 1888. It is considered one of the hardest cross-country races in the world and annually attracts thousands of cross-country skiers.

Going into the event, U.S. cross-country skier Jessie Diggins was quoted as saying: “I am so so excited to finally get to ski a 50km race! I have been waiting my entire career for this race and we finally get a chance at the Holmenkollen. I am just so excited to ski my heart out and finally get a chance to ski this incredible and iconic race.”

Team US cross country
An exhausted Jessie Diggins surrounded by teammates Julia Kern (left) and Lauren Jortberg (right). | Picture: Jessie Diggins Instagram Account

Participants for Team USA aside from Diggins were Rosie Brennan, Hailey Swirburl, and Alayna Sonnesyn

Jessie Diggins was at the front of the leader group from the onset. 18 of the world’s best skiers, including her teammate Rosie Brennan, quickly separated from the majority of the field early on. Diggins briefly dropped back when she swapped skis, but soon reclaimed her spot at the front. Towards the latter part of the race, the leading pack got whittled down to only seven skiers following a sprint led by Norway’s Margrethe Bergane. Rosie Brennan could not keep up and fell behind.

Towards the end of the race, a trio separated: Norway’s Ragnhild Haga and Astrid Slind sprinted alongside Diggins into the stadium for the final 400m. It was a neck-on-neck race, but it was double Olympic Gold medallist Ragnhild Haga who won the sprint, 0.30 seconds ahead of her teammate and 0.50 seconds ahead of Diggins.

Cross country
The podium of the 50km Holmenkollen: 1st Ragnhild Haga, 2nd Astrid Slind, 3rd Jessie Diggins. Picture: Jessie Diggins Instagram Account

The results for Team USA were solid, with 13th for Rosie Brennan, 25th for Hailey Swirburl, and 30th for Alayna Sonnesyn, all earning FIS points.

”It was a beautiful day to make history,” Hailey Swirburl said.

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