Jesse Diggins named Team USA flag bearer for PyeongChang closing ceremonies


Earlier in her career, Diggins was part of the first American team to win a world cup team sprint event, and she and Randall became the first USA cross-country skiers to win a world championship gold medal.

Twelve years ago, U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association official Tom Kelly promised cross-country skier Kikkan Randall that he would dye his beard pink if she ever won an Olympic medal.

Luger Erin Hamlin carried the American flag into the Opening Ceremony at the 2018 Winter Games.

With the racers taking turns to speed around the 1,176-meter long track, Randall and Diggins fought to stay in touch with the leaders as the rest of the pack fell away after the halfway point.

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"In the final stretch I was just thinking, "Go, go, go, I'm giving it everything I had and I've got someone who I really love and care about waiting for me at the finishing line and I just want to make her proud", she said of Randall. It's so inspiring to feel the support and cheering from everyone.

Diggins was chosen by a vote from fellow members of Team USA. "I have so much respect and admiration for everybody here and am beyond honored to be able to lead us out of these Games".

It's the first time women have been picked as US flagbearers for both the opening and closing of an Olympics since 2004, when basketball's Dawn Staley led the Americans into the Athens Games and soccer's Mia Hamm carried the flag out.

And it seems fitting that US women were tabbed twice in Pyeongchang. The first was a silver medal that came in 1976.

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On Wednesday, the 35-year-old and teammate Jessica Diggins took home the gold in the women's sprint free relay.

The two-time Olympian joins a list of former closing ceremony flag-bearers that includes Dan Jansen, Bonnie Blair and Eric Heiden.

American women have clearly led their country's gold rush in Pyeongchang.

The 2018 Winter Olympics are beginning to wind down.

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