Kikkan Randall, Jessie Diggins Win Historic Gold Medal in Cross Country Skiing

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"We talked a lot about if we won a medal at the Olympics, it was going to be a team medal - whether you were on the snow that day or not - because everybody had worked together and pushed each other and believed in this", said Randall, her cheeks painted with the letters United States of America and red, white, and blue stars.

The United States has won its first Olympic gold medal in women's cross-country skiing.

Team USA finally won their first medal for women's cross-country skiing Wednesday.

Diggins, of Afton, completed the come-from-behind win, passing Sweden in the home stretch to take the top spot.

Diggins held off the challenge of Sweden's Stina Nilsson in a furious sprint for the line to win gold and Norway's Marit Bjoergen became the most successful winter Olympian of all time with 14 medals after taking bronze with Maiken Caspersen Falla.

Then it was a matter of putting all of her own energy into the finish - and Diggins said that when she saw Randall at the finish line, "I was so excited and so happy, and also I couldn't feel my legs". The two American women won a cross-country skiing world championship gold medal in the team sprint.

"It was disappointing to not make that medal happen in Sochi", said Randall.

After Diggins reached out her foot to cross the line ahead of Nilsson, she fell to the ground and was tackled by Randall, which she called the most incredible feeling in the world.

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"I just felt unstoppable", she said.

After the race, Bjoergen, who like Randall started her Olympic career in 2002, said she might not fully comprehend her medal total until she is retired.

"It's time to start dropping people", Diggins said. What do you say when you've just won your team's first gold medal? Diggins and Randall are enormously accomplished cross-country racers. "I feel that it's also special that Kikkan is there, who also started her Olympic [career] in Salt Lake with me". Spending months together racing in Europe every year means they're closer than most teams.

Women's cross country has been an Olympic sport for 66 years.

As she headed up the steepest, most grueling hill of her life in third place, Jessica Diggins thought to herself just winning an Olympic medal was no longer good enough.

Her new book, World Class: The Making of the U.S. Women's Cross-Country Ski Team, depicts the rise of the American women, including Jessie Diggins.

Olympic Athlete from Russia's Denis Spitsov and Alexander Bolshunov finished second in 15:57.97.

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