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Olympic medalist Jessie Diggins talks nutrition, training and pressure with Dave Calabro

At the last Olympic Games, Diggins made history as the first American cross country skier to win gold in Team Sprint.

PARK CITY, Utah — On a picture perfect fall day, we watched some of the best skiers in the world work their magic.

The snow arrived late, so members of Team USA used roller skis to get their workouts in. It didn’t take long to figure out who was the fastest on the hill – 5-foot-4-inch Jessie Diggins.

At the last Olympic Games, Diggins made history as the first American cross country skier to win gold in Team Sprint.

"It did change my life in big ways. But everyday ... it didn’t change my life at all, which is really cool. It changed my life in that it helped me become better advocating for causes I really care about. So I started talking about my eating disorder more and started trying to change the culture of how coaches communicate to their athletes about nutrition and their bodies," Diggins said. "But day to day, I am still out here getting my butt kicked. I am still working hard to improve even by just and inch. I love this team to pieces. I think in some ways the Olympics can change your life, but you don't have to let it change who you actually are."

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Her win caught the attention of many young skiers. The sport has seen an amazing growth that is fueled by Diggins' win

"What is cool for me is looking around, I see these young juniors and they are so fast and so motivated and dedicated. And they are working hard and they are miles ahead of where I was when I was their age. So I think its cool to see where the sport is going and the resources we are finally getting," Diggins said.

Credit: AP
Jessie Diggins competes during the women's sprint free cross-country skiing competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, in Zhangjiakou, China. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

She also hopes the attention will attract the casual athlete to give cross country skiing a try.

"We race really hard to the point you feel the lactic acid in your teeth. I mean, it is incredibly painful, but it doesn’t have to be. Kinda like running. You can choose to run a marathon or you can enjoy a social run with your friend. It can be whatever you want it to be," Diggins said.

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Now she has the eyes of the world focused on her and whether she can repeat her gold medal performance.

"There is a lot of pressure coming into the Olympics as the defending gold medalist and overall World Cup champ. There will never be more pressure for me than right now. If I can figure out a way to constructively, in a healthy way, absorb that pressure and let go and not feel like I have to hold onto it. I am here doing my best every day. So I am going to go to the Olympics and will give it my best and then feel good about my effort. Any other challenge in my life will go a little easier," Diggins said.

Diggins has already made more U.S. Olympic history by skiing to a bronze medal in the freestyle sprint in Beijing.

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