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And Wednesday night, another one of Randall's dreams came true: She and teammate Jessie Diggins won the first-ever Olympic medal for USA women's cross-country skiing - and the first for the country since Bill Koch's silver in 1976. Norway's Marit Bjoergen and Maiken Caspersen Falla took bronze, coming across the finish line in 2.97 seconds back from the Americans.

Diggins and Randall won the gold medal in this event at the 2013 World Championships, becoming the first Americans to do so.

The 37-year-old previously took gold in the women's 4x5km relay, silver in the 15km skiathlon and bronze in the 10km freestyle at Pyeongchang. A bubbly kid who did normal kid activities, such as swim team and dance, she got into cross-country skiing because her parents liked the sport.

Diggins and Randall won the Group B heat with the fastest time of the semifinals: 16 minutes, 22.56 seconds, placing them 0.72 seconds ahead of Sweden.

She wanted more. She wanted gold.

Diggins was so dominant that people were not predicting if she would win. "What really kept me going over the last four years was trying to contribute toward a team medal".

She blew by Nilsson in a blur to capture gold in the team sprint, bringing the United States its first gold medal ever in cross-country skiing.


So move over Bill Koch, you have company - finally. Each skier goes three times.

Randall, 35, competing at her fifth Olympics, added: "Hearing it out loud, it still doesn't feel real".

Koch was the only other American to win a medal in cross-country, taking home silver at the 1976 Innsbruck Games. A year later, in January 2012, in only her third world cup race, Diggins finished on a world cup podium in the team sprint, with Randall. That moment put Diggins and Randall in the record books.

Diggins sealed America's victory after holding off the challenge of Nilsson, the individual sprint gold medallist, in a frantic race for the line.

Even their fellow competitors were happy to see the US duo finally capture this elusive prize.

When she crossed the line, all the coaches' radios went silent. "I can't believe it just happened".

"I remember Kikkan having to walk out of the [media] mix zone after her quarter with tears in her eyes", recalls Sophie Caldwell, who was in her first season with the team and surprised many by qualifying for the sprint final herself. "But it's probably been a blessing in disguise because it's made us work harder over the last four years and it makes today even more special".


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