Rosie Brennan competes in the Cross Country Ladies 15k race during FIS Nordic World Ski Championships on Feb. 23, 2019 in Seefeld, Austria.
Cross-country skier Rosie Brennan first raced in a world cup in 2009, and through more than 100 subsequent starts coming into this season she’d never reached the podium individually.
Now she’s done it three times in a row.
After finishing third in a freestyle pursuit last month in Finland, Brennan recorded not one but two wins this weekend at Davos in the Swiss Alps. The 32-year-old U.S. Olympian started with a win Saturday in the freestyle sprint, then followed that with a dominating victory Sunday in a 10-kilometer freestyle, with U.S. teammate Hailey Swirbul just behind her in third for her first podium finish.
With the victories Brennan is now the series leader across all three disciples: overall, sprint and distance.
Following her third-place finish on Nov. 29 in Ruka, Finland, Brennan came to Switzerland hot.
The Anchorage, Alaska, native began by posting the fastest qualifying time in the sprint contest, and then advanced by finishing second in her quarterfinal group and third in her semifinal, one spot ahead of fellow American Sophie Caldwell Hamilton. Both moved on to the final as lucky losers due to their times.
In the final, Brennan crossed the line in 2:37.36, edging second-place Anamarija Lampic of Slovenia by .28 of a second. Caldwell Hamilton finished fifth, 6.83 seconds behind Brennan.
“It’s wild,” Brennan told U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I have never considered myself a sprinter, so to find myself on the podium in a sprint is something I honestly didn’t even dream of.”
Brennan had previously reached the podium three times in world cup competition, with two coming as part of relays. Prior to Saturday her best finish in a sprint world cup was 15th, which she did in a freestyle competition in 2017.
Brennan and Caldwell Hamilton were among three women to reach the semifinal round, joining Julia Kern. Logan Hanneman was the top U.S. man, also reaching the semis.
With a fresh layer of snow covering the course on Sunday, Brennan came back and outpaced Russia’s Yulia Stupak by 34 seconds to win the 10K. Swirbul, a 22-year-old from El Jebel, Colorado, followed just over six seconds later.
Swirbul made her world cup debut in 2019 and had never recorded a top-10 finish before Sunday.
“I ski behind Rosie every day in training so I know what it takes to be at her level but she just completely inspired our whole team yesterday,” Swirbul told the FIS website. “I am surprised as last year I scored my first world cup points in Davos. So I knew this was a good place for me to come back, but I definitely did not expect to be on the podium. I just raced my heart out so I am very excited.”
Competition in Davos wrapped up with a men’s 15K freestyle on Sunday. Scott Patterson was the top American finisher at 16th.
The cross-country world cup opened in late November in Ruka. After the cancelation of the second stop, scheduled for earlier this month in Lillehammer, Norway, the tour is set to continue next weekend in Germany before the eight-stage Tour de Ski begins on Jan. 1 in Switzerland and Italy.