Afton glowing with hometown pride for Jessie Diggins' Olympic victory
AFTON, Minn. (KMSP) - Half a world away from Jessie Diggins' historic Olympic medal, her hometown of Afton, Minn. is basking in the golden afterglow.
"I was really happy. I felt like she really deserved it," said Diggins' 11-year-old neighbor Amelia Brower.
Brower and her family helped distribute signs cheering Diggins on, but even they were overwhelmed by her signature victory.
"We had tears in our eyes," said Amelia's dad, Jeff Brower. "We were so happy. It was such an awesome sprint to the finish."
With her thrilling come from behind win in the Women's Cross Country Team Sprint, Diggins and her partner Kikkan Randle became the first Americans to ever win an Olympic gold medal in the sport. Doing so, Diggins also put her old stomping grounds in Minnesota on the map.
"People were getting phone calls all night," said Afton City Administrator Ron Morris said. "Nobody got any sleep. It's great. It's just a fun time."
The town of 3,000 is already planning a celebration which could include an official "Jessie Diggins Day" as well as a parade like when she received the skis to the city a couple of years ago.
"Jessie is such a great representative of the city and here she is on the international stage and then what she gets a gold medal," Morris said. "That's unbelievable."
And the scoop at Selma's Ice Cream Parlour is that Diggins will get her own flavor when it reopens for the season next month.
"We're throwing around the flavor combinations that are red, white and blue or possibly gold based," said Selma's owner Rebecca Nickerson. "We haven't finalized anything yet. We want her to be the first to try it, the tribute to her."
But even without her Olympic gold medal, Diggins has already won her hometown's heart.
"I personally I look up to her because she's an amazing female role model," said Amelia Brower. "She's from my community. Just went to the Olympics. Just won gold. I don't know. I'm going to continue to look up to her because she's an amazing woman."