Afton skier Jessie Diggins crowned World Cup overall champion

Afton native Jessie Diggins has reached the proverbial mountaintop in Nordic ski racing.

On Tuesday, the 29-year-old cross country skier was crowned World Cup overall champion, winning the biggest annual prize in cross-country skiing.

Diggins joins Bill Koch as the only Americans ever to win a World Cup overall title. Koch won the men’s title in 1982.

Diggins is the only American woman to accomplish the feat. She is also the first woman who is not from Norway to win the title since 2013, when Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland won the season title.

After an impressive season, Diggins officially clinched the title when the International Ski Federation decided to cancel next week’s World Cup Finals races. She leads the overall standings by 342 points over second-place Yuliya Stupak of Russia, and it’s mathematically impossible for her to get caught. Two races remain on the season schedule — on Saturday and Sunday in Engadin, Switzerland.— and the winner of each race gets 100 points.

This is the third time this year the World Cup Finals have been cancelled. The event originally was scheduled to be held in Beijing, then it was moved to Lillehammer, Norway, before one last move to March. But that, too, now has been called off.

Diggins won four World Cup races and had nine podium finishes over the course of the season. The World Cup championship is decided by results of all races over the course of the season in different styles and distances.

Diggins finished second in the World Cup standings during the 2017-18 season.

She is coming off a pair of fourth-place finishes at the World Championships in late February.

This is the latest accomplishment for Diggins, who rose to stardom at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. That’s where Diggins teamed with Kikkan Randall to win a gold medal in the team sprint race, marking the first time Team USA captured a gold medal in cross country skiing.

A couple of months ago, Diggins became the first American to win the prestigious Tour de Ski, a week-long event of multiple races patterned after cycling’s Tour de France.

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