Patterson Top American in Men’s 15k World Champs Freestyle
On another warm, spring-like day in Oberstdorf, Germany, at the 2021 FIS Nordic Ski World Championships, Scott Patterson led the Davis U.S. Cross Country Team, finishing 27th in the men’s 15k individual start freestyle.
Norway swept the podium with Hans Christer Holund taking his second career World Championships title, with countrymen Simen Hegstad Krueger taking the silver, and Harald Oestberg Amundsen the bronze. Simi Hamilton was 31st for the U.S., followed by David Norris in 34th and Gus Schumacher 51st.
“It was a tough race,” Patterson said. “I started out pretty strong skiing where I wanted to be, but the conditions started to deteriorate on laps two and three and I definitely suffered because of that and bled a lot of time. (Holund) started 30 seconds behind me and just blew by me, definitely wasn’t quite what I wanted, but there are still some good signs for later this week, so I’m looking forward to the (men’s 4x10K) relay and the 50k Sunday - there is a lot more racing.”
With overnight temperatures remaining above freezing, the course conditions deteriorated as the race progressed, leaving some sections soft and sugary, while other shaded areas remained hard and fast. “The course on those last couple of laps was getting softer and softer and wetter and wetter,” Hamilton said. “But the flats were still skiing well...it was hard-packed and you could find fast snow.”
Faced with the challenging snow conditions, once again the U.S. Cross Country Tech crew nailed the ski prep for Wednesday’s race after struggling a bit during last week’s classic sprint and skiathlon events. “My skis were amazing,” Hamilton said. “They felt fast the whole time and our techs did a really awesome job waxing today.”
Prior to Wednesday’s race, the athletes had a limited window to preview the course, but the conditions changed dramatically after the first athlete left the start. “Before there was any traffic on those corners, they skied really well,” Hamilton said. “It was tacky, you could step them all, but then after 65 people start in front of you, and like 180 laps worth of traffic, they were getting really, really soft. So you had to be on your toes. But, it’s fun. You have to expect the unexpected when you come into those things later on in the race, it’s a bummer to not be able to really recover at all, but it’s exciting - it’s a ski race!”
Starting 58th, Norris made the most of the conditions, charging on portions of the course where he could find the time, and trying not to lose time on other portions. “Not exactly what I wanted. But, not a disaster by any means...I fought through it and did my best,” he said. “On the first lap, I was able to find firmer tracks and pick lines that we still holding up and fast, but by the second and third lap every uphill was deep from side to side..by the end, it was all broke down and deep slush.”
Up next at the World Championships is the women’s 4x5k relay Thursday. Starting for the U.S. Team is Hailey Swirbul, Sadie Maubet Bjornsen, Rosie Brennan, and Jessie Diggins. The race will be broadcast live on the Olympic Channel, and streamed live on NBC’s Peacock platform.
HOW TO WATCH
Thursday, March 4
7:15 a.m. FIS World Cross Country Championships Women’s 4x5k relay - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Broadcast Olympic Channel, Streaming Olympic Channel and Peacock
Friday, March 5
7:30 a.m. FIS World Cross Country Championships Men’s 4x10k relay - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Broadcast Olympic Channel, Streaming Olympic Channel and Peacock
11:30 p.m. FIS World Cross Country Championships Men’s 4x10k relay - same-day broadcast, Oberstdorf, GER, Broadcast NBCSN
Saturday, March 6
6:30 a.m. FIS World Cross Country Championships Women’s 30k classic mass start - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock
10:00 a.m. FIS World Cross Country Championships Women’s 30k classic mass start - same-day broadcast, Oberstdorf, GER, Broadcast Olympic Channel
Sunday, March 7
7:00 a.m. FIS World Cross Country Championships Men’s 50k classic mass start - LIVE, Oberstdorf, GER, Streaming Peacock
9:00 a.m. FIS World Cross Country Championships Men’s 50k classic mass start - same-day broadcast, Oberstdorf, GER, Broadcast Olympic Channel