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Caldwell Hamilton Second In Dresden Sprint As Eight Americans Score Points

By Tom Horrocks
December, 19 2020
Women's Podium
Sophie Caldwell Hamilton (left), Nadine Fähndrich from Switzerland, and Anamarija Lampic from Slovenia celebrate their podium finish in Dresden Saturday. (Getty Images/dpa-Zentralbild - Sebastian Kahnert)

Sophie Caldwell Hamilton led another huge day for the Davis U.S. Cross Country Ski Team, finishing second in the freestyle sprint in Dresden, Germany, Saturday. 

Eight Americans advanced to the heats, with four advancing to the finals. Sophie took her 10th career individual World Cup podium as Jessie Diggins posted her best result of the season so far, finishing fourth. "Wow! What an incredible day for the team," Sophie said. "Two men and two women in the finals, Julia (Kern) and Logan (Hanneman) in the semis, JC (Schoonmaker) with a near miss to semis, and Hannah (Halvorsen) qualifying for her first World Cup heats!"

In the men’s race, both Simi Hamilton and Kevin Bolger advanced to the finals, with Simi finishing fifth, and Kevin posting a World Cup career-best result in sixth. "So psyched to get to the finals for the first time, and especially racing with Simi," Kevin said. 

Racing under a brilliant blue sky along the banks of the Elbe River at the Robotron Ski Arena in downtown Dresden, the Americans came into Saturday’s individual freestyle sprint fresh, fast, and ready for results. Jessie, Sophie, Julia Kern, and Hannah Halvorsen all qualified for the heats, with Hannah qualifying for the first time and scoring her first career World Cup points. Four U.S. men qualified for the heats, including Simi, Kevin, Logan Hanneman, and JC Schoonmaker. Gus Schumacher finished 43rd and Tyler Kornfield was 52nd.

"What a day!" Jessie said. "For me, the best part was that I really, truly had fun out there! Seeing Hannah make the heats for the first time brought such an adrenaline rush, and seeing so many of our boys in the (semifinals) and then Sim and Kevin in the final, and of course Sophie skiing like a boss!"

In the opening quarterfinals, JC skied an impressive race to finish third in the first heat. He looked to advance to the semifinals as a Lucky Loser, however, in the third heat, Logan snagged one of the two Lucky Losers slots and knocked JC out. Kevin displayed patience and tactics in his quarterfinal heat, coming back from the fifth position to finish second. Simi won his quarterfinal heat. Jessie won her quarterfinal heat as Sophie and Julia each finished second in their respective heats to advance to the semifinals.

In the semifinal round, Sophie was second and Jessie advanced to the finals as one of the Lucky Losers. For the men, Simi and Kevin skied in the faster second semi-final heat, finishing third and fourth respectively with both of them advancing as Lucky Losers.  

In the finals, as is so often the case on the tight Robotron Ski Arena out and back course, it came down to a drag race for the podium with Switzerland’s Nadine Faehndricht taking her first World Cup victory. Sophie was second at 0.32 seconds back, while Anamarija Lampic of Slovenia was third. "I felt better and better as the day went on and was definitely motivated by the success of my teammates throughout the day," Sophie said. "It was a course filled with turns and bumps and broken poles, which made an exciting day and I was thrilled to land on the podium."

In the men’s final, Italy’s Federico Pellegrino took his 15th career individual World Cup sprint victory. Great Britain’s Andrew Young was second, and Russia’s Gleb Retivykh was third.

Rosie Brennan, who is not competing in Dresden in order to continue her preparation for the upcoming FIS Tour de Ski January 1-10, continues to lead the overall World Cup standings. Jessie moved up to eighth in the overall World Cup standings, and Sophie is 16th. 

Up next, all 10 U.S. Ski Team athletes will team up in pairs for the freestyle team sprint Sunday in Dresden. "I’m so proud of this team and the atmosphere we’ve created in our little bubble, and we’re really feeding off one another’s happiness," Jessie said. "My own day was exciting as city sprinting isn’t exactly what I’m known for, but my body felt good, and I’m just so pumped for the team sprint here tomorrow!"

Women’s freestyle sprint
Men’s freestyle sprint

Women’s World Cup overall
Men’s World Cup overall
Women’s World Cup sprint
Men’s World Cup sprint

All Times EST

Sunday, Dec. 20
6:45 a.m. FIS Cross Country World Cup Men and Women's Team Sprint - LIVE, Dresden, GER, Streaming Peacock
5:00 p.m. FIS Cross Country Men and Women's Team Sprint - Same Day Delayed Broadcast, Dresden, GER, Broadcast Olympic Channel
7:00 p.m. FIS Cross Country Men and Women's Team Sprint - Same Day Delayed Broadcast, Dresden, GER, Broadcast NBCSN