Jessie Diggins made it to the podium and into the Olympics history books! The 30-year-old skier came in third in the women’s cross-country individual sprint (an event I must admit I was not aware existed until this moment). This makes her the first American to medal in the event ever. Congrats, Jessie!
It was a tight race between Team USA and Team Sweden, reports People. Sweden’s Jonna Sundling and Maja Dahlqvist came in first and second, respectively, followed by Diggins in third place and fellow American Rosie Brennan in fourth.
This isn’t Diggins’s first time breaking (or, uh, skiing) new ground; in 2018, she and Kikkan Randall took home the gold in the women’s cross-country team sprint, the first time Team USA had come in first in that event.
Jessie Diggins’s latest medal comes after a long journey, both physical and mental. In a recent interview, per People, the athlete opened up about her history with disordered eating, saying, “I think eating disorders thrive in stigma and shame…and that’s why I’m talking about it right now. It shouldn’t be a shameful thing. If you can make it out of the other side of an eating disorder, nothing else will be that hard in your entire life.”
She credits treatment for saving her skiing career, and her life, saying that, without it, “I wouldn’t be skiing, that’s for sure. But also I don’t know if I’d be around if I’m totally honest.”
She emphasized that her athletic skill comes from nurturing her body, not punishing it: “If we do have a chance to stand on the podium, and see the flag get raised, I think it’s a very cool testament for me that you can do this the right way…. You can do it by honoring what your body needs and listening to that and having a body that’s unique to you.”