The University of Minnesota Press is pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of Brave Enough, the memoir of 2018 Olympic gold medalist and U.S. Women's National Cross Country Ski Team member Jessie Diggins in Spring 2020.
In Brave Enough, written with journalist Todd Smith, Jessie Diggins shares her own story for the first time. It is an intimate look into the life of an internationally recognized sports star, one filled with her trademark energy, grit, and glitter. The core of Brave Enough traces her amazing journey from her childhood in Afton, Minnesota into the history books of sports. Diggins details her meteoric rise as an elite youth athlete who turned pro straight out of high school, and her dazzling athletic achievements on the world stage (she is a four time World Championship medalist and one of the most decorated women's winter athletes of all time). And, of course, Brave Enough gives readers an unprecedented look inside one of the greatest sports moments in our nation's history—her historic 100-meter sprint to the finish line for gold at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Brave Enough is also more than just the title of Diggins' memoir; it is her mantra. Using her platform as an Olympian and World Cup athlete, Diggins fights for the causes that she is deeply invested in. She addresses the importance of girls' participation in sports, and her fight for positive body messaging for young female athletes. A national spokesperson for The Emily Program, Diggins also shares the gripping story of her personal struggle with bulimia, an eating disorder that almost took her life.
Brave Enough is an engrossing, unique book that features a young woman at the height of her athletic prowess and international popularity who is also calling for societal change. Diggins beautifully intertwines her Olympic gold medal heroics with her effervescent spirit in a candid memoir full of humility and humor that will inspire audiences the world over.
Jessie Diggins was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and grew up in Afton, Minnesota. She has one sister, Mackenzie. Diggins began skiing at age 4. She showed prowess for skiing at age 11 when she started competing against older children. Diggins graduated from Stillwater Area High School.
Diggins won a gold medal with Kikkan Randall in the team sprint in the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2013 in Val di Fiemme. Two years later she won the silver medal in the 10 kilometer free style race in the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2015 in Falun.
Diggins was named to the U.S. team for the 2014 Winter Olympics. In her first event, the 15 kilometer skiathlon, she placed 8th (out of 61 competitors) with a time of 40:05.5.
In the 2015/2016 World Cup, she placed 8th in the overall and sprint rankings and 9th in the distance ranking.
At the 2017 Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti, Finland, Diggins took two medals: in the freestyle sprint, she won her quarter-final and semi-final heats on her way to taking the silver, ahead of team-mate Randall in third. Subsequently in the classic team sprint, Diggins and Sadie Bjornsen finished third, catching and passing the Swedish team in the closing stages of the race to take the bronze by 0.19 seconds. This made Diggins the first American to take four World Championship medals in cross-country skiing.
Diggins finished third overall in the 2017–18 Tour de Ski, becoming the first American to finish on the podium in the overall classification, and beating her previous best of fifth overall in the previous edition. Her teammate Sadie Bjornsen finished ninth overall, also making it the first time that two Americans finished in the overall top ten.
During the 2018 Winter Olympics she and Randall became the first American cross-country skiers to capture a gold medal by winning the women's team sprint at the Alpensia Cross-Country Centre in PyeongChang, South Korea.
At the end of the games she was chosen as the flag bearer for the United States at the closing ceremony.