Sophie Caldwell had a flair for the dramatic this weekend in Dresden, Germany, as the 2014 Olympian and 2018 U.S. Olympic Cross-Country Skiing Team qualifier had her second photo finish in two days on Sunday to help the U.S. take third place in the team sprint.
It marked the final team sprint on the world cup calendar prior to next month’s Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
Caldwell turned on the afterburners at the very end to cross the finish line just behind Sweden’s Maja Dahlqvist, who took the win, and next to fellow Swede Stina Nilsson. The photo finish showed Nilsson ahead by just .07 seconds, and Caldwell and teammate Ida Sargent, who on Saturday was also added to the U.S. Olympic Team, secured a podium finish. The Sweden II team of Dahlqvist and Ida Ingemarsdotter won in 13:33.40, followed by the Sweden I team of Nilsson and Hanna Falk, .16 seconds behind. Caldwell and Sargent were just .23 seconds off the lead.
“We’re really happy with today,” Caldwell told reporters. “Team events are a ton of fun and you never know what’s going to happen on a course like this. It was awesome to be right in the mix and we’re always thrilled to earn a spot on the podium.”
It was the second third-place finish of the weekend for Caldwell, who stood on the podium the day before in the women’s freestyle city sprint. After getting into the final with a lucky loser finish in the semifinals, the 27-year-old from Rutland City, Vermont, attacked the short, flat city course in Dresden and took advantage of a crash by Nilsson to push her way toward the front. The finish moved her into third place in the women’s world cup sprint standings