Diggins, Brennan, Schoonmaker, Ogden Give It Their All
Four Team USA athletes came into Wednesday’s classic team sprint ready to go full-throttle. All four walked away with empty tanks knowing they had left everything out on the course at the Kuyangshu Nordic Center in Zhangjiakou, China.
Jessie Diggins and Rosie Brennan finished fifth in the women’s final. At the same time, JC Schoonmaker and Ben Ogden were ninth in the men’s final - along the way, gaining a ton of experience that will carry them forward in international competition for many years to come.
Diggins and Brennan easily advanced to the women’s final, finishing second in the semi-final heat, while Schoonmaker and Ogden battled in the second men’s semi-final, finishing sixth, but advancing to the finals as one of two lucky losers.
“It was fast,” Ogden said of the semifinal heat. “It felt pretty good the first couple of laps. I think that was where I wasted some energy too because I thought the pace was easy when it was actually faster than it was. So I took the lead a little on my first lap, and then the last one coming into the stadium, then it hit me like a wall. But fortunately, it ended up being pretty fast.
“If we were a little smarter, and with a little bit of experience, we can be a lot better,” he added.
In the women’s race, Germany surprised everyone by winning the gold medal, with Sweden taking the silver and the Russian Olympic Committee taking the bronze. In the men’s race, Norway skied to another gold medal, with Finland taking the silver and the Russian Olympic Committee taking the bronze.
“It was good…a solid day,” Brennan said. “I think it was one of my better classic races this week, so I’m really happy to have put it together by the end of the Olympics. I did what I could to stay in contact to give Jessie her best shot.”
“It was really cool seeing Rosie crushing, and I went as hard as I could and there was no doubt in my mind that I could not have tried harder,” Diggins added. “I finished with zero sugars left, and I was dizzy and sick, and I’m currently wearing all the clothes of Team USA (to stay warm).”
Up next, the men’s 50k freestyle takes place Saturday with Scott Patterson representing Team USA. On Sunday, the women’s 30k freestyle takes place with Diggins, Brenna, Movie McCabe, and Sophia Laukli making her Olympic debut.