As far as the United States' Winter Olympics medal tally is concerned, cross-country skiing has been a wasteland for a generation of athletes. The Americans hadn't clinched a single medal in the event since 1976, when Bill Koch notched the silver, his dashing '70s sideburns a glaring reminder of the epic drought leading up to the 2018 PyeongChang Games. But the Olympic hardware finally returned on Wednesday, when American Jessica Diggins mounted a resilient comeback against Sweden's Stina Nilsson, edging her out for the gold in a dramatic climb up the course's final hill.
NBC announcer Chad Salmela, a cross country diehard painfully aware of the prolonged medal dearth, was stunned when Diggins crossed the finish line to claim gold in the women's team sprint freestyle event, collapsing in a crumpled heap of exhaustion immediately afterwards.
"Here comes Diggins! Here comes Diggins!," he screamed, his voice going hoarse. Finally, after it became apparent Diggins would clinch an upset victory, the cries became more emphatic: "Yes! Yes! Yes!" he roared.