In a historic finish for American skiers, U.S. team members Jessie Diggins and Caitlin Gregg finished second and third, respectively, in the 10-kilometer freestyle event at the recent 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun, Sweden.
Gregg is the wife of Methow Valley native Brian Gregg, who was a member of the U.S. Olympic Ski Team for the XXII Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, last year. They live in Minnesota.
According to the fasterskier.com website, it was the first time any American woman had won a distance medal at an international skiing event. Charlotte Kalla of Sweden took first place.
Gregg started third in the interval start race, meaning almost all the other skiers raced after her. Her time stood up throughout most of the race before Diggins and Kalla eclipsed her.
Gregg “skied with the goal of being an early leader. She easily accomplished her objective, but soon realized that her time was much better than she could have expected,” according to the fastskier website. “My goal was to try to come in, be the leader, and put in a good time,” she said. “I think it took maybe another 20 or 30 skiers before I started realizing that it was actually a really, really good time.”
According to the website, 34-year-old Gregg’s best World Cup result was in a 2010 Canmore World Cup, where she place 14th in the 10K freestyle.
Tom Kelly, writing on the U.S. Nordic Ski Team website, said the Americans’ two-three finish was totally unexpected. “No one thought about number three-starting Caitlin Gregg as a medal contender. But she did,” Kelly wrote. “This single day was her sole focus for months.”