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Two Minnesotans Ski at Sochi Olympics

Which state is sending the most athletes to the Winter Olympics? Nope, Colorado is only second (behind California), and it’s tied with … Minnesota. At least 23 athletes at Sochi spent some of their formative years in Minnesota or another state in the Midwest.

Here’s how the states break out: Indiana (1); Illinois (10); Michigan (13); and Wisconsin (15). Minnesota leads the pack with 19. Most of the 23 compete on ice—11 current or former Minnesotans play hockey, for example—but the list does not lack for skiers and snowboarders.

Speaking of Minnesota, it is sending two skiers to Sochi. Leif Nordgren (biathlon) lived his first 10 years in Colorado before moving to, as he puts it, “the ski crazy state of snowy Minnesota.” He attended high school in suburban St. Paul (Forest Lake) and trained with Nordicwerks Ski Club.

Jessie Diggins also grew up in suburban St. Paul (Stillwater), and learned some of her skills with the Minnesota Youth Ski League. She says, “what I love about skiing is the chance to push my body to the limit, to be training outside on beautiful trails, and the chance to find something new about myself with every race.” Her best result this season was placing second at the World Championships skate sprint at Val di Fiemme in Italy.

Continue reading at Twin Cities Ski and Ride.