BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Skiing has officially become mainstream. Members of Team Gregg were on site Wednesday at the official unveiling of two 20-foot statues depicting Jessie Diggins and Caitlin Gregg, American women with Midwest ties who earned silver and bronze at 2015 Nordic World Ski Championships, in front of the Mall of America.
The “silver and bronze” statues, made of aluminum and a bronze-and-aluminum mixture and created by artist Tara Gregg, will be up until the end of August. Mall of America CEO Maureen Bausch, an avid cross-country skier and fan, commissioned the pieces of early last month.
“These statues are designed to honor two remarkable women, who achieved the unthinkable in treacherous conditions at World Championships,” said Bausch, referring to the wet blizzard Diggins and Gregg skated through to notch two historic medals for the U.S. in February.
“They truly embody the American dream,” she added at the morning ceremony in front of Minnesota’s biggest tourist destination.
About a dozen Midwest families woke up early to see the curtain drawn from the statues and get their picture with larger-than-life versions of Diggins, of Afton, Minn., and Gregg, who lives in Minneapolis. Neither of the skiers were present as they are recovering from a long season in undisclosed vacation destinations.
“I am so honored. The Mall is my favorite place to go between training sessions,” Gregg wrote in an email.
“As soon as these tributes were ready, we wanted — and needed — to get them out their to the public,” Bausch explained. Despite the mall’s four-level size, there was no place to store them.
“We will be having two mall officials on guard around the clock to make sure nobody tampers with Jessie or Caitlin,” Bausch said of the statues. “But I’m confident nobody will.”
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