The U.S. Olympic Cross Country Ski Team made a stop in Bend on Wednesday to host a clinic for young skiers.
The team, led by three-time Olympic medalist Jessie Diggins and head coach Matt Whitcomb, aimed to inspire young skiers to challenge themselves while also having fun and being good teammates.
“We want people to see that, yes, you have to work hard and challenge yourself if you want to go to the Olympics, but you can also have fun and love what you’re doing and be a good teammate. And those are equally important things,” said Diggins. She won the first-ever U.S. Cross Country Olympic gold medal with teammate Kikkan Randall in 2018.
The clinic kicked off Wednesday with an event at Riverbend Park. That was followed up Thursday morning with a 4-hour training session at Mt. Bachelor.
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The team visits Bend every May to take advantage of the world-class skiing at Bachelor.
“We’ve had 30 kilometers for the last two weeks, and we still have two more days to go,” said U.S. Cross Country Ski Team head coach Matt Whitcomb.
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Kids at the clinic were separated into groups and had the opportunity to learn from Diggins and other members of the team.
The clinic included games aimed at improving agility and core strength, as well as getting to know each other and introducing themselves to the local community.
The U.S. Olympic Cross Country Ski Team has been visiting Bend for the last 20 years, and Diggins has been coming for over a decade.
“The local ski community has been so welcoming. Every single year they open their arms to us and their trail systems, and we just feel so at home here. We love being here and we love interacting with the skiers,” said Diggins.