Four in the Top 30 in 15km Skiathlon
Four U.S. women were in the top 30 for the 15kmsSkiathlon at the 2023 World Championships. With 7.5km of classic to start the race and 7.5km of skate to bring it home, the field of 50 women skied a fast-paced race on the third race of the championships.
The forecasted rain and wind held off for race day and instead the glaring sun came out to play, creating a spring skiing-esque feel. Instead of dealing with the rain, athletes and support staff were seen cutting their race suits to t-shirts and shorts to deal with the heat.
With a mass start, the strong field of women descended onto the first half of the course, which features a long downhill into a technical 180-degree turn at the lowest part of the track. Three classic tracks span the narrow course and, as it goes in mass starts, there was carnage. Unfortunately, on the second lap of the classic course, Rosie Brennan who was leading the entire field of skiers got caught up in the deep, powdery snow and lost a ski, sending her back nearly a minute from the leader.
"I have never had that happen before," Brennan said. "I had a moment of not knowing what to do. At first I thought maybe my boot just came off the binding, but then I went to pick up my ski and I realized it was the binding. Luckily one of my coaches was there with one of my skis."
Brennan pushed on with a spare ski. Throughout the next several kilometers and through the transition zone she continued to pick athletes off and move up the ranks to 19th place.
"I feel like... I am at the World Championships representing my country and I have to give it my best until the very end," said Brennan.
A highlight of the day was young athlete Sydney Palmer-Leger skiing to a top 20 in her first ever World Championships race. Palmer-Leger has a few World Cup starts to her resume but this was her first time on the World Championships stage. Nerves aside, Palmer Leger led the pack of four U.S. women throughout the entire race and ended the day in 20th place. Aside from a top 20 in her first World Champs, this was her first ever skiathlon for the 21 year old, making her result even more impressive.
“Getting top 20 at my first World Championships was pretty amazing," she said. "I didn’t have any expectations how it was going to go and I just went out there to have some fun and I definitely succeeded!”
Hailey Swirbul skied a consistent race and crossed the finish line in 26th and Sophia Laukli was in the top 30 in 29th. Among the crashes in the first few kilometers, Laukli broke a pole and skied with a reserve pole until lapping through the stadium where a staff member was there with a new one. Despite the broken pole, Laukli skied strong and added another top 30 to her resume.
Winning the day was Ebba Andersson of Sweden and in second was teammate Frida Karlsson. Astrid Oeyre Slind of Norway was third.
Now, the women will reset and look forward to the next races. Tomorrow, the men and women will race the team sprint. Watch LIVE on skiandsnowboard.live.
HOW TO WATCH
Sunday, Feb. 26 - skiandsnowboard.live
5:30 a.m. ET - Team Sprint, Skate, Men’s and Women’s
Tuesday, Feb. 28 - skiandsnowboard.live
6:30 a.m. ET - 10k, Skate, Women’s
Wednesday, March 1 - skiandsnowboard.live
6:30 a.m. ET - 15k, Skate, Men’s
Thursday, March 2 - skiandsnowboard.live
6:30 a.m. ET - 4x5k Relay, Classic/Skate, Women’s
Friday, March 3 - skiandsnowboard.live
6:30 a.m. ET - 4x10k Relay, Classic/Skate, Men’s
Saturday, March 4 - skiandsnowboard.live
6:00 a.m. ET - 30k, Classic, Women’s
Sunday, March 5 - skiandsnowboard.live
6:00 a.m. ET - 50k, Classic, Men’s