KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (Feb. 3) - The U.S. Ski Team wrapped up a very successful weekend of Olympic test events with benchmark results in a team sprint at the Laura Cross Country Ski Center. Both the men's team of Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) and Simi Hamilton (Aspen, CO) as well as women's duo of Ida Sargent (Orelans, VT) and Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) won their semifinal heat to move into the finals. Sargent/Bjornsen went on to finish fifth in finals, Newell/Hamilton were seventh.
Kikkan Randall, Holly Brooks, Liz Stephen and Jessie Diggins wave the flag to cheer on their teammates in the team sprint at the Laura Cross Country Center outside Sochi. (USSA-Margo Christiansen)
- Ida Sargent (Orleans, VT) and Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) were fifth with Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) and Simi Hamilton (Aspen, CO) seventh in a team sprint to wrapup a weekend of Olympic test events at the Laura Cross Country Ski Center outside Sochi.
- It was another solid jump for Sargent/Bjornsen, moving up two spots from the earlier team sprint in Liberec last month.
- Both teams won their respective semi-finals to move into the final heat.
- The three days of competition were a success both from a results perspective and learning the Olympic trails at the Laura venue. Friday, Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) won the freestyle sprint and Saturday Liz Stephen (E. Montpelier, VT) had a career best eighth in the skiathlon.
- The World Cup now heads to Davos, Switzerland for a final weekend of racing before the World Championships in Italy.
Each team sprint Sadie and I do together, we move up a little more. We were 7th a few weeks ago in Liberec and so 5th is moving up a couple more spots - you have to be happy with that. It was tough because we were so close to the podium. That's the goal. It's so close- we can totally do it. I had great skis in the final. It was tricky waxing out there.
We stayed out of all the crashes. There were some really tight corners. Some sections were tough to pass and especially with the changing conditions. Out of the tracks was a lot slower and certain tracks were a lot slower so it wasn't easy to get by people out there. You had to keep fighting and take those opportunities when you could. This is our best result – you have to be happy about that!
I really like the sprint course here in Sochi. It's been good for me this week. The classic distance course is also good. The skate course is brutally hard but it's really nice to have some sun today and see the mountains!
This was a really good day for us. It was historic in that we've never had our men and women both win their semi final to go through to the final. Credit to great athletes and also great skis today too, and all week, which has been a great part of our success here. It was really exciting that the men were in the hunt for 4th there in the end before the crash as well. I think when we come back here next year we're going to be in the hunt for medals at this event.
We're really enjoying the venue. Athletes are enjoying the skiing. The sprint course is quite fun to ski and we couldn't ask for more. It was a beautiful day with tons of snow.