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Countdown to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games

Talent-Stacked Team Kicks Off World Champs Thursday In Oberstdorf

By Tom Horrocks
February, 24 2021
XC Team
Members of the Davis U.S. Cross Country Team are headed out for a morning training session in nearby Balderschwang before the World Championships open Thursday in Oberstdorf, Germany. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard - Tom Horrocks)

The Davis U.S. Cross Country Ski Team heads into Thursday’s kickoff of the 2021 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships with a talent-stacked team that has experienced one of its best seasons ever with 15 World Cup podiums, numerous breakout performances, and a current World Cup leader in Jessie Diggins.

The 42nd annual World Championships open the six-race event with the classic sprint Thursday, followed by the 15k skiathlon for the women and 30k skiathlon for the men Saturday. NBC will provide same-day broadcast coverage for both events with the classic sprint on NBCSN and the skiathlon on the Olympic Channel - Home of Team USA. All six cross country events, including all nordic combined and ski jumping events, will be streamed live on Peacock, NBC’s live streaming platform.

In addition to Diggins, the U.S. Team features numerous veteran athletes with Olympic and World Championships experience, plus a solid core of younger athletes with numerous Junior and U23 World Championship medals who are all rising to the occasion this season with either World Cup podiums, or breakout performances.

“I think it's really a super cool time for those young athletes to be here because right now we don't just have one person doing well,” noted 10-year U.S. Cross Country Team member Sadie Maubet Bjornsen, who is competing in her sixth World Championships, and who teamed up with Diggins to win the team sprint bronze medal at the 2017 World Championships. Maubet Bjornsen, along with her teammates Simi Hamilton, Sophie Caldwell Hamilton, Rosie Brennan, and Diggins are all making a huge impact on these younger athletes, in addition to competing directly with them. “It's been really cool to have these young people around to see so many different examples of what people are good at, or where they came from, or what their story looked like, or what kind of nerves they have before the race,” she added. “And so, yeah, it's one of the neatest times to be part of this team.”

2020 Junior World Champion Gus Schumacher leads the way for the younger group of athletes that also include Hailey Swirbul, a two-time Junior World Championships medalist; Katharine Ogden, a 2017 Junior World Championships bronze medalist; Julia Kern, a 2020 U23 World Championships bronze medalist; and Sophia Laukl, a 2020 Junior World Championships silver medalist. While each of these athletes come from different parts of the country, they come together during the competition season to form a tight support group, almost family-like during the long season on the road in Europe. 

For example, Schumacher is racing his first full season at the World Cup level and has continued to climb the results later in numerous races, including a career-best result in eighth in the 15k classic mass start at the FIS Tour de Ski in Val di Fiemme, Italy. But after four months on the road bouncing between Scandinavia and Central Europe a couple of times, he is thankful for his teammates and the staff for all the support and the overall team environment that during normal times is challenging enough.

“I've been really thankful to race and...I think the biggest part is having such a good, supportive - like family - team that I can be around for so much of the year,” he said.  

That supportive, family atmosphere, will be on full display during the 2021 World Championships as this team shows its all-around strength. “I have a lot of confidence in the team this year, I think the results thus far speak for themselves,” noted Davis U.S. Cross Country Team Coach Matt Whitcomb. “What's new this year and I think, will be seen as just the tip of the iceberg, is the direction that men’s skiing is taking right now.”

In the opening classic sprint, Diggins, Brennan, Caldwell Hamilton, and Kern will start for the women. For the men, speedsters Logan Hanneman, Kevin Bolger, JC Schoonmaker, and Ben Ogden will represent the U.S. In the first distance race, Saturday’s skiathlon, Diggins, Brennan, Laukli, and Katharine Ogden start for the women, while David Norris, Scott Patterson, Wonders, and Ben Ogden will start for the men.

For Diggins and Brennan, kicking off Thursday’s sprint may be the first of five or six events they both compete at these World Championships. And, as both have proven throughout the season, they have podium potential.

“(Jessie) does extremely well and head to head competitions, but I think what people are starting to understand is that there is no race that she can be counted out in any longer,” Whitcomb said. Indeed, Diggins has spent the past few years honing her classic technique to become an all-around threat. “I think everyone can agree that Jessie's technique, and particularly classic skiing over the last several years, has been one of just great progress, and she's a much more efficient skier now. And if Jessie's in the pack with a kilometer to go, people are in trouble.”

Heading into Sunday with the team sprint, and the second week of the championships both the men's and women’s team relay are potential opportunities for the U.S. Team to shine. But regardless of the outcome at these World Championships and the remaining World Cup races, the support and camaraderie are cornerstones of this team that will carry on to the next generation.

“What I'm going to look back on and be the most grateful is how we really held it tight together as a team and really trusted one another and that's pretty cool,” Diggins said.

HOW TO WATCH
All Times EST

Thursday, Feb 25
5:30 a.m. FIS World Cross Country Championships Men's and Women's Sprint Finals - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Broadcast Olympic Channel
5:30 a.m. FIS World Cross Country Championships Men and Women’s Classic Sprint - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock
11:00 a.m. FIS World Ski Jumping Championships Women’s HS106 - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock
12:30 p.m. FIS World Ski Jumping Championships Women’s HS106 - same-day broadcast, Oberstdorf, GER, Olympic Channel
2:30 p.m. FIS World Nordic Championships Men's and Women's Sprint Finals - same-day broadcast, Oberstdorf, GER, Broadcast NBCSN

Friday, Feb. 26
4:15 a.m. FIS World Nordic Combined Championships Men’s HS106 - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock
9:00 a.m. FIS World Nordic Combined Championships Men’s HS106 - same-day broadcast, Oberstdorf, GER, Broadcast Olympic Channel
10:00 a.m. FIS World Nordic Combined Championships Men’s 10k - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Broadcast Olympic Channel
10:00 a.m. FIS World Nordic Combined Championships Men’s 10k - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock

Saturday, Feb. 27
4:00 a.m. FIS World Nordic Combined Championships Women’s HS106 - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock
5:45 a.m. FIS World Cross Country Championships Women’s 15k Skiathlon - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock
7:30 a.m. FIS World Cross Country Championships Men’s 30k Skiathlon - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock
9:30 a.m. FIS World Nordic Combined Championships Women’s 5k - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock
10:30 a.m. FIS World Ski Jumping Championships Men’s HS106 - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock
9:00 p.m.
FIS World Nordic Combined Championships Women’s HS106 and 5k - same-day broadcast, Oberstdorf, GER, Broadcast Olympic Channel
10:00 p.m. FIS World Ski Jumping Championships Men’s HS106 - same-day broadcast, Oberstdorf, GER, Olympic Channel

Sunday, Feb. 28
4:00 a.m. FIS World Nordic Combined Championships Men’s HS106 team event - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock
7:00 a.m. FIS World Cross Country Championships Men and Women’s Team Sprint Finals - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock
8:00 a.m. FIS World Nordic Combined Championships Men’s HS106 team event - same-day broadcast, Oberstdorf, GER, Olympic Channel
9:00 a.m. FIS World Nordic Combined Championships Men’s 4x5k team event - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Broadcast Olympic Channel
9:00 a.m. FIS World Nordic Combined Championships Men’s 4x5k team event - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock
10:30 a.m. FIS World Nordic Championships Men's and Women's Team Sprint Finals - same-day broadcast, Oberstdorf, GER, Broadcast Olympic Channel
11:00 a.m. FIS World Ski Jumping Championships Mixed Team HS106 - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock
10:00 p.m. FIS World Ski Jumping Championships Mixed Team HS106 - same-day broadcast, Oberstdorf, GER, Broadcast Olympic Channel

Tuesday, March 2
7:15 a.m. FIS World Cross Country Championships Women’s 10k freestyle - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Broadcast Olympic Channel
7:15 a.m. FIS World Cross Country Championships Women’s 10k freestyle - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock
1:00 p.m. FIS World Cross Country Championships Women’s 10k freestyle - same-day broadcast, Oberstdorf, GER, Broadcast NBCSN

Wednesday, March 3
7:15 a.m. FIS World Cross Country Championships Men’s 15k freestyle - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock
11:15 a.m. FIS World Ski Jumping Championships Women’s HS137 - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock

Thursday, March 4
7:00 a.m. FIS World Nordic Combined Championships Men’s HS137 - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock
7:15 a.m. FIS World Cross Country Championships Women’s 4x5k relay - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock
9:15 a.m. FIS World Nordic Combined Championships Men’s 10k - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock

Friday, March 5
7:15 a.m. FIS World Cross Country Championships Men’s 4x7.5k relay - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock
11:00 a.m. FIS World Ski Jumping Championships Men’s HS137 - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock

Saturday, March 6
4:00 a.m. FIS World Nordic Combined Championships Men’s HS137 team sprint - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock
6:30 a.m. FIS World Cross Country Championships Women’s 30k classic mass start - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock
9:00 a.m. FIS World Nordic Combined Championships Men’s 2x7.5k team event - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock
11:00 a.m. FIS World Ski Jumping Championships Men’s Team HS137 - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock

Sunday, March 7
7:00 a.m. FIS World Cross Country Championships Men’s 50k classic mass start - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock