Cross-country: What to know for women’s 10km individual

Cross-Country Skiing - Winter Olympics Day 4

Tuesday’s women’s individual sprint offered Team USA their first real opportunity of ending their 42-year cross-country Olympic medal drought and also earning their first women’s medal in the sport.

Unfortunately for the U.S., Jessie Diggins ran out of steam in the sprint finals, but her effort created excitement for Team USA.

Diggins will be part of Thursday’s women’s 15km individual event at the Alpensia Cross-Country Centre in PyeongChang, South Korea.

It’s another opportunity for the U.S. to get its first Olympic medal in cross-country since 1976 and another chance to get its first women’s medal.

Here are a few things to know about both the women’s individual event.

What it is
The individual event uses the freestyle skiing technique, and skiers depart from the starting gate individually in 30 seconds intervals. The gold medalist is determined by the top finishing time, not by who crosses the finishing line first.

How to watch
The individual begins at 1:30 a.m. EST and you can watch it live right here.

Team USA
Diggins cruised through the quarterfinals of the women’s individual sprint Tuesday, then advanced to the finals in a photo finish during her semifinals heat.

It had the making of Diggins making America cross-country skiing history, but it appeared she ran out of gas in the final.

The 26-year-old ended up finishing last in the finals of the sprint but advancing to finals presented American cross-country skiing fans something to keep a close eye on.

Anyways, Diggins will join Kikkan Randall, Sadie Bjornsen and Liz Stephen in the women’s individual event.

Stephen will start at 3:38 p.m., Randall at 3:41 p.m., Bjornsen at 3:52 p.m. and Diggins at 3:58 p.m.

Bjorgen watch
After making Olympic history in Saturday’s women’s 15km skiathlon, Norwegian skier Marit Bjorgen is entered in the individual event and has a chance to tie fellow Norwegian Bjoern Daehlie for most Olympic cross-country medals (12) all-time.

Bjorgen’s next gold medal (if she gets one) will make her the first woman to net seven Olympic gold medals in any sport.

A medal would move Bjorgen one medal behind the King of Biathlon Ole Einar Bjoerndalen as the most decorated Winter Olympian ever. She already is the most decorated female Winter Olympian with 11 medals.

What else to watch
Charlotte Kalla, who won gold in the women’s skiathlon, can equal the Swedish record of two individual golds in a single Winter Olympics by winning the individual event Thursday.

The previous two women’s cross-country events have been won by Swedes. Kalla with the skiathlon and Stina Nilsson in the women’s individual sprint.

One more gold medal by Sweden in cross-country would equal its record in a single Olympics. Sweden has won three golds in 1948, 1984, 2006 and 2010.

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