Caldwell Third, Hamilton Sixth in Davos Sprint
Sophie Caldwell landed another podium performance for the Davis U.S. Cross Country Ski Team, finishing third in the FIS Cross Country World Cup freestyle sprint in Davos, Switzerland, Saturday. On the men’s side, Simi Hamilton, who was in the podium hunt in the finals, posted the best result of the season in sixth.
‘It’s nice to get a good day in this early in the season,” Simi said. “It gives me a lot of confidence in my fitness, speed and race hunger going forward into this long and busy season. I was pretty tanked after those fast quarter and semifinals, but I’m psyched with a solid sixth.”
The U.S. Team qualified seven athletes for the sprint heats Saturday. In addition to Sophie and Simi, Jessie Diggins, Sadie Maubet Bjornsen, Julia Kern, Hailey Swirbul and Kevin Bolger qualified. Kevin and Logan Hanneman tied for 30th in qualifying. However, Kevin won the tiebreaker to advance to the heats by way of being ranked higher in the World Cup standings. For Hailey, it was the first time in her career she has qualified for the sprint heats and scored World Cup points.
“It was a really exciting day, and extra special to have the team and coaches with me and celebrating this small victory,” Hailey said. “The level sure is high here, but I think I'm slowly closing the gap, and have teammates to show me how it's done.”
I scored my first World Cup point ever today!!!! But you know what was the greatest part of this day? How dang STOKED my team was for me. I swear, I’ll never find a group of people more caring, encouraging, and all around inspiring. Thank you team (coaches and techs included of course) for all that you do. These small victories wouldn’t be possible without you ❤️ 📸 @sbjornsen #bestteam
In the women’s quarterfinals, Sophie was the lone U.S. athlete to move on to the semifinals, and then on to the finals. In the finals, she worked to grab the outside line on the second of two laps heading into the final climb, but Sweden’s Linn Svann moved into the line, forcing Sadie up the final climb behind Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Fallen, who had a slight stumble, which broke Sophie’s momentum. In the final 100 meters, Svann skied away for her first World Cup victory. Sophie and Maiken sprinted to a photo finish, with Maiken just getting ahead of Sophie for second place. Sophie is now the third American to score an individual podium finish this season.
“I was really happy with the day,” Sophie said. “I felt strong throughout the whole day, had very fast skis, and any day ending up on the podium is a great day! It was also really cool to see Simi in the final, have Hailey score her first World Cup points, and see Julia post a really strong top 15 result!”
In the men’s race, Simi, who qualified eighth, and looked strong throughout the heats. In the opening quarterfinal, Simi finished third but advanced as the lucky loser as he was in the fastest heat. Similar story in the semifinals, as Simi was again in the fastest heat, finishing third to advance to the finals. In the finals, he was hunting for a podium position, but on the second of two laps, he got caught up in the second to last corner and dropped back to sixth.
In the World Cup standings, Jessie moved up to third overall, Sadie is fifth, Rosie Brennan is 11th, and Sophie is 22nd. For the men, Simi is the top American in 27th.
Up next, the women compete in a 10k freestyle, and the men in a 15k freestyle Sunday in Davos.
HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Sunday, Dec. 15
4:35 a.m. - Women’s 10k, Davos, SUI - Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
8:45 a.m. - Men’s 15k, Davos, SUI - Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
9:00 a.m. - Women’s 10k, Davos, SUI - Olympic Channel*
Note: All televised events to stream across NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app, OlympicChannel.com, and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA app.
Exclusive commercial-free coverage will be available for subscribers of the NBC Sports Gold Pass, available here: https://www.nbcsports.com/gold/snow.