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American Jessie Diggins receives silver medal during Closing Ceremony

Team USA's Jessie Diggins got to celebrate her silver medal during a very memorable moment at the Closing Ceremony.

BEIJING, China — The winners of the men's and women's 30-kilometer mass start cross-country ski races, including American Jessie Diggins, received their medals at the Closing Ceremony for the Beijing Olympics.

In the women's race on Sunday, Norwegian great Therese Johaug won her third gold medal of the Beijing Olympics. Jessie Diggins took silver for the best result by an American in an individual cross-country skiing event since 1976. Kerttu Niskanen of Finland won bronze.

The women also had to battle fierce winds and frigid temperatures.

After the race, Diggins revealed she had been sick with food poisoning the day before, spending Saturday in bed and force-feeding herself.

“I was feeling pretty bad 24 hours ago,” the American said. "I was talking to my parents and my mom said, ‘Don’t decide how you feel right now. Just go out there and ski because you love to race.’ And she was right.

Credit: AP
Silver medalist Jessie Diggins, of the United States, reacts on the podium for the women's 30km mass start free cross-country skiing ceremony during the closing ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

“That might have been the best race of my entire life, I’m not going to lie," Diggins said. “It was also maybe the hardest race of my whole life.”

Diggins made cross-country skiing history for the United States at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics when she and Kikkan Randall won the team sprint — the country’s first gold medal in the sport. Diggins set another U.S. Olympic record at the Beijing Games by being the first woman to win an individual medal when she took bronze in the sprint.

Credit: AP
Silver medalist Jessie Diggins, of the United States, poses during the medal ceremony for women's 30km mass start free cross-country skiing at the closing ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

In the men's race, Alexander Bolshunov of the Russian Olympic Committee earned his third gold medal of the Beijing Olympics on Saturday. The race was supposed to be 50 kilometers, but it was delayed by an hour and shortened to 30 kilometers because of frigid temperatures and strong wind.

Russian teammate Ivan Yakimushkin won silver and Simen Hegstad Krueger of Norway took bronze.

Credit: AP
Women's 30km mass start free cross-country skiing gold medalist Therese Johaug, centre, of Norway, reacts on the podium during the medal ceremony with silver medalist Jessie Diggins, left, of the United States, and bronze medalist Kerttu Niskanen, right, of Finland, at the closing ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

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