U.S. Women Fifth in World Championships Team Relay
The U.S. women’s relay team skied to a fifth-place finish at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Seefeld, Austria, Thursday. The team of Sadie Bjornsen (Anchorage, Alaska), Rosie Brennan (Park City, Utah), and Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) welcomed newcomer Julia Kern (Waltham, Mass.) to her first World Championship relay with an exciting and challenging finish down the stretch.
“It was hot and hard, really tough skiing out there,” said Kern, who skied the lead-off classic leg. “I had the most epic blow-up of my life, but I have no regrets, I put it all out there.”
“It is so challenging to be tagged off behind a group as you just want to close the gap as fast as you can,” said Brennan, who skied the second leg before tagging of to Bjornsen. “I tried to take the first kilometer and just breath and then hammer after that. The hills are running hills and those are my strength, but it’s crazy how hard it is to catch a group that is working together. As soon as I caught that group I told myself just don’t sit behind, keep making every second.”
Brennan, skiing the first freestyle leg posted the third-fastest time of the day at the 2.5k mark, and the fourth-fastest 5k total time of the day.
“My strategy was to make sure that any of those guys behind me weren’t getting a free ride, then I started to focus on pulling in time on Finland,” Brennan added. “I tried to ski as relaxed and strong as I could.”
The atmosphere was truly phenomenal as almost 15,000 spectators cheered on the athletes on a warm, sunny day.
“That was a ton of fun out there and so awesome to cross that finish line and have all my teammates there,” said Diggins, the final skier of the relay team. “I am so proud of this group because relay days need a little magic for the results to come in and we did the best we could.”
Team Sweden took the gold, with Norway in the silver-medal position, and Russia taking the bronze.
“It was definitely an exciting day and one of those classic relays where how things are in the beginning is so different in the end,” said U.S., Cross Country Ski Team World Cup Coach Matt Whitcomb. ”We had a new team today with the addition of Julia Kern. She skied to our expectations and really skied her heart out today, she will be one for the future. The girls, one after the next, slowly and steadily started working their way up the ranks and got to within 20 seconds of fourth place. I know we can do better, but I am very proud of these women today.”
The Championships continue Friday with the men’s relay team of Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) and Scott Patterson (Anchorage, Alaska) both skiing classic legs with, David Norris (Fairbanks, Alaska) and Simi Hamilton (Aspen, Co.) skiing the skate legs.
Women’s team relay
HOW TO WATCH
Thursday, Feb. 28
1:00 a.m. - FIS World Cross Country Skiing Championships men’s 15k - Seefeld, AUT - NBCSN**
7:00 a.m. - FIS World Cross Country Skiing Championships women’s 4x5k relay - Seefeld, AUT - Olympic Channel-TV, OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
Friday, March 1
7:15 a.m. - FIS World Cross Country Skiing Championships men’s 4x10k relay - Seefeld, AUT - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. - FIS World Cross Country Skiing Championships men’s 4x10k relay - Seefeld, AUT - Olympic Channel-TV*
Saturday, March 2
6:15 a.m. - FIS World Cross Country Skiing Championships women’s 30k - Seefeld, AUT - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. - FIS World Cross Country Skiing Championships women’s 30k - Seefeld, AUT - Olympic Channel-TV*
All streams are available via desktop (NBCSports.com/Live, NBCSports.com/Gold andOlympicChannel.com) as well as mobile, tablet and connected television platforms. The NBC Sports app, NBC Sports Gold app and Olympic Channel app are available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV and Amazon Fire. Exclusive commercial-free coverage will be available for subscribers of the NBC Sports Gold Pass.