PYEONG CHANG, South Korea – Cross country skiers Sadie and Erik Bjornsen of Winthrop, much like their Northwest brethren, returned without a medal from the 2018 Winter Olympics.
All the U.S. cross country skiers were there to cheer Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall to a gold medal in team sprint.
That was the first-ever gold for the U.S. cross country ski team and the second medal ever. The other medal came 42 years ago when Bill Koch won silver in 1976.
Best placer otherwise for Northwest Olympians — there were at least 13 — was Ben Ferguson of Bend, Ore., who was fourth in men’s halfpipe.
Sadie Bjornsen’s best finish was on the 4x5K relay team, which finished fifth.
She skied the second leg, starting sixth and 57.6 seconds behind the leaders after handoff from Sophie Caldwell.
Sadie Bjornsen, 28, brought the team to fifth and 57.2 back (she skied even with leaders) before handing off to Randall.
Randall kept the fifth-place position but fell 1:05.6 behind the leaders.
Diggins skied the last leg, finishing fifth and 1:20.5 back.
Sadie Bjornsen also competed in three other events, taking 15th in the 10K freestyle, 14th in classic-style sprint and 17th in the 30K mass start (final event of the Olympics).
“That moment when nobody else in the world can touch your dream,” Sadie Bjornsen posted on Instagram late in her Olympic run. “So proud of these girls, and this team.”
Erik Bjornsen’s best finish was in the team sprint with Simi Hamilton. They finished sixth.
Erik Bjornsen, 26, got the duo into the finals with a huge last lap in the semifinals to set up Hamilton to finish third, just 0.42 second out of second place but fast enough to get into the finals.
In the finals, Erik Bjornsen had someone stick a ski with the point of a pole, which caused him to fall. He got up and fought back but was too far back to contend for a medal.
The team finished 20.72 seconds behind the winner and a little more than 18 seconds out of third.
He also finished 25th in classic-style sprint, 41st in 15K freestyle and42nd in skiathlon, which combines classic and freestyle.
The Bjornsens, who were competing in their second Olympics, will soon return to studies at the Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, Alaska.
Sadie Bjornsen is working toward a master’s degree in business.
Erik Bjornsen is finishing undergraduate studies with a focus on business.
Also at the Olympics were alpine skier Jeffrey Webb, 19, Lake Chelan, and Canada’s Tess Critchlow of Kelowna in snowboard cross.
Webb was the first alpine skier ever to represent Malaysia at the Winter Games. He finished 68th in giant slalom and did not finish the slalom.
A 2017 graduate of Manson High School, he was coached by the Mission Ridge team director.
Webb’s father is from Chelan and his mother is Malaysian.
Critchlow, 22, finished ninth overall in snowboard cross.
She reached the semifinals, finishing fourth and just missing the finals.
In a small final, she finished third for her final ranking, which was the best for Canadian racers.
“Last sleep before the most exciting day of my snowboarding career,” she posted on Instagram the night before her races. “Thanks everyone for all the love and support!”