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Brennan Wins Again; Takes World Cup Lead

By Tom Horrocks
December, 13 2020
Hailey and Rosie
Hailey Swirbul and Rosie Brennan celebrate after finishing third and first in Sunday's 10k freestyle in Davos, Switzerland. It was Hailey's first World Cup podium and Rosie's second-straight World Cup victory. (Modica/NordicFocus)

Saturday Rosie Brennan proved she was a sprinter. Sunday, she proved she is one of the best cross country skiers in the world after taking her second-straight FIS Cross Country World Cup victory and moving into the overall World Cup lead. 

“That is quite honestly something I'm not sure I've ever even dreamed of,” Rosie said of taking the overall World Cup lead, in addition to the overall World Cup sprint and distance leader bibs. “Obviously, we have only had a few races, but it's something I'm proud of nonetheless and while I'm not sure I expect to keep them all the whole season, I hope to do them proud while I have them and put up as good a fight as I can!”

So how do you make back-to-back victories even better? By sharing the podium with a teammate!  Hailey Swirbul landed on her first World Cup podium, finishing third in Sunday’s 10k freestyle, just 6.5 seconds back from second-place finisher Yulia Stupak from Russia.

“When I crossed the line, Hailey was keeping the leader’s chair warm for me and so I knew she must have had a good race too,” Rosie said. “Then when I finally sat down and saw she was going to get a podium, I was just beside myself. Sharing the podium with a teammate is something special. She's been the one pushing me all summer and keeping me on my toes and really forcing me to broaden my skills so I am just so excited to share this with her.”

"A really exciting and surprising day (for me at least, but I had a feeling Rosie would crush it!!)," Hailey said. "I had a split with about 2.5k to go that I was in the running for a podium, so I dug REALLY deep to fight for it. All I could do was give my best and I truly left it all out there. The techs and coaches have really helped set our team up for success this weekend and I am truly honored to be part of it."

Even without the teams from Norway, Sweden, and Finland competing in Davos, Switzerland, due to concerns from the COVID-19 virus, Rosie’s 34-second margin of victory was impressive as she is now the second U.S. woman to wear the overall World Cup Leader’s bib. Her teammate Sadie Maubet Bjornsen wore the overall leader’s bib last season in Ruka, Finland. However, the leader’s bib wasn’t the goal of the day - winning was.

“I set out as smooth and controlled as possible and quickly learned my pace was good enough for the win so I just kept chugging along and trying to stay focused on good strong skiing. With about 3k to go, I got a split that someone who started behind me was only 10 seconds back after 5k and that sounded a bit too close for comfort for me so I really doubled down and tried to just carry all the speed I could through the rolling last 2k. I had great skis all weekend and cannot thank the techs enough for all their effort to make the most of this weekend.”

Indeed, fitness and fast skis propelled five U.S. women into the points Sunday. In addition to Rosie and Hailey on the podium, Jessie Diggins was seventh; Katharine Ogden scored her first World Cup points of the season, finishing 22nd; and Caitlin Patterson also scored her first World Cup points of the season in 30th. Julia Kern finished 33rd.

In the men’s 15k freestyle, Scott Patterson continued to climb the results sheet, leading the American men in 16th place - his best result of the season so far. Kevin Bolger was 33rd; Gus Schumacher 35th; Simi Hamilton 38th; Adam Martin 44th; and Ian Torchia 49th.

"In four years of racing in Davos, this was the first time I really felt like I had something to give," Scott said. "I focused on lots of little items like skiing certain hills well and I think it served me well. I’m pretty psyched with today and looking forward to more fast racing after a little holiday break."

Russia swept the podium with Alexander Bolshunov taking a commanding 32.2-second victory over countryman Andrey Melnichenko in second, and Artem Maltsev in third. 

Up next, the FIS Cross Country World Cup moves to Dresden, Germany, Dec. 19-20 with an individual freestyle sprint, and team freestyle sprint. The athletes then enjoy a holiday break before kicking off the FIS Tour de Ski Jan. 1-10 in Switzerland and Italy.

Women’s 10k freestyle
Men’s 15k freestyle

Women’s World Cup Overall
Men’s World Cup Overall

Sunday, Dec. 13

10:00 p.m. FIS Cross Country World Cup Women's 10k - Same Day Broadcast, Davos, SUI, Broadcast Olympic Channel

Monday, Dec. 14
12:00 a.m. FIS Cross Country World Cup Women's 10k - Same Day Broadcast, Davos, SUI, Broadcast NBCSN

Saturday, Dec. 19
8:00 a.m. FIS Cross Country World Cup Men and Women’s Sprint - LIVE, Dresden, GER, Broadcast Olympic Channel

Sunday, Dec. 20
11:00 a.m. FIS Cross Country World Cup Men and Women’s Sprint - Same-day delayed broadcast, Dresden, GER, Broadcast Olympic Channel
7:00 p.m. FIS Cross Country World Cup Men and Women’s Sprint - Same-day delayed broadcast, Dresden, GER, Broadcast NBCSN


Brennan wins, Swirbul 3rd