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Afton native Diggins selected as closing ceremony flag bearer

Afton native Jessie Diggins powers up a hill during the 2017 FIS Cross Country World Cup Finals on March 17, 2017, in Quebec City, Canada. Photo courtesy the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association

Jessie Diggins of Afton will lead the U.S. Olympic Team Sunday during the closing ceremony of the winter games in PyeongChang, becoming the first cross-country skier from Team USA to bear the flag in the closing ceremony.

The 26-year-old was chosen as flag bearer by a vote of fellow Team USA members, according to a news release Friday.

“This is such an incredible honor for me,” Diggins said in the Team USA news release. “I’m really humbled and moved that the athletes voted for me. It’s so inspiring to feel the support and cheering from everyone. The coolest thing for me about the Games has been getting to meet other athletes on Team USA, and getting to cheer them on at their events and learn about what they do. I have so much respect and admiration for everybody here and am beyond honored to be able to lead us out of these Games.”

Diggins and teammate Kikkan Randall won Team USA’s first medal for women in cross-country skiing with a gold medal in team sprint (freestyle). Diggins also posted four top-six finishes in the winter games.

“Jessie’s breakthrough performances here in PyeongChang have been inspirational and historic, and her success is representative of years of teamwork and determination from all our athletes,” USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said.