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Countdown to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games

USA Fifth in World Championships Team Sprint

By Courtney Harkins
February, 28 2021
Sadie Maubet Bjornsen World Championships team sprint
Sadie Maubet Bjornsen sported relay socks and facepaint with her teammate Rosie Brennan to skate to fifth place in the team sprint. (Nordic Focus)

Sporting relay socks and facepaint, Sadie Maubet Bjornsen and Rosie Brennan sprinted for fifth place in the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships freestyle team sprint in Oberstdorf, Germany.

The day started out icy with the semifinals, but the finals were warm, sunny, and sloppy, keeping all skiers on their toes. Maubet Bjornsen and Brennan kept it close in the finals, staying in the lead pack throughout the race and maintaining fourth place going into the final leg. But Maubet Bjornsen was stepped on by a competitor the second-to-last climb, causing her to go down for a second and got her out of the draft. “I didn’t quite find the gear to come back to it, which is a bummer because my skis are incredible,” said Maubet Bjornsen, who won a medal in the 2017 World Championships team sprint. “If I would have been with those girls at the top of the climb, it could have been a medal day, but like Rosie said, you can’t count on that.”

The two women were still ecstatic about the result and having the opportunity to race together. They both call Alaska home, training in Anchorage with Alaska Pacific University, and have been friends for a long time. “It’s been quite literally a career-long dream to do a team sprint with Sadie,” said Brennan. “She’s been a best friend and training partner for the entire of my professional career, so I was just so happy and excited to even get this opportunity. I know we are capable of more on any given day, but that’s ski racing. You go out there and give it your all and some days you win and some days you don’t. It was honestly a really special day for me and I’m really happy to be here right now.”

Maubet Bjornsen reiterated Brennan’s statement. “I think it’s pretty cool that my No. 1 training buddy and I were in a fight for a medal,” she said. “If you had asked us that when we were 14 years old beating on each other, we would have laughed at you. If we brought our 14-year-old selves here, we’d be pretty darn proud.”

Sweden took the gold medal in the women’s team sprint, with Switzerland second and Slovenia third.

Simi Hamilton and Gus Schumacher made up the men’s team and were skiing fast in the sprint semifinals, but missed an exchange and did not qualify for the finals. And while they were disappointed in the overall result, there was something more special at play: a seasoned veteran in his last World Championships passing the torch to a talented rookie.

“We’re clicking—not just Gus and me—but the whole men’s team, in a way that I don’t think I’ve ever seen this men’s team click before,” said Hamilton. “All that contributes to feeling prepared and psyched for a race like this. We did everything we could.”

Hamilton has been on the Davis U.S. Cross Country Ski Team for 10 years, making his World Cup debut in 2010. He has raced in three Olympics, five World Championships and has podiumed in multiple World Cups. With young talented athletes like Schumacher, JC Schoonmaker, Ben Ogden, and others coming up on the team and nailing results, Simi says he wants to let these men shine and help to mentor them into winning medals in the future.

“Obviously I wanted to ski with Gus in that final and possibly win that elusive medal at World Champs,” continued Hamilton. “But it’s just as important for me to feel like what I did today to get on to this team and being able to race with Gus is going to contribute to him being able to win medals in the future with this group of guys coming up. To me, that’s just as important as me potentially winning a medal. I’m still so grateful and humbled to be part of this team and be able to race with Gus and train with him, as well as the other guys.”

In his first career World Championships, 20-year-old Schumacher was equally honored to race with Hamilton. "It was amazing to ski with Simi," he said. "I felt a lot of pressure because it’s his last World Champs and his last team sprint and we knew that we had a lot of potential. I was really proud to have this start and give it my all."

Norway won the men’s team sprint, with Finland in second and the Russian Ski Federation taking the bronze.

The women next race the 10k skate on Tuesday at the World Championships, with the men racing the 15k skate on Wednesday.

RESULTS
Women’s World Championships team sprint
Men’s World Championships team sprint

HOW TO WATCH
All Times EST

Sunday, Feb. 28
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