Andy Newell (right) kicks off the men’s relay, where Team USA came up from the back of the pack Sunday to finish 11th. (Getty Images/Harry How)
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (Feb. 16) – Team USA came up from the back of the pack after a rough start Sunday to finish 11th in the men’s 4x10k relay event of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games. Simi Hamilton (Aspen, CO) anchored the U.S. team’s final freestyle leg at the Laura Cross Country Ski Center, where Team Sweden took home the gold. The relay will be featured on NBC’s Daytime Olympic coverage Sunday at 3:00 p.m. EST and can be streamed in its entirety on NBCOlympics.com. Next up are the men’s and women’s team classic sprints scheduled for Wednesday Feb. 19.
Team USA came up from the back of the pack after a rough start Sunday to finish 11th in the men’s 4x10k relay event of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) kicked off of the relay with the first classic leg, but blew up on the final climb. He used his last reserves to complete his leg, and Team USA was 15th at the first exchange.
Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) took the second classic leg and began the chase, gaining two positions before he passed off the race to Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) for the first freestyle leg. Hoffman skated up to 10th in the third 10k before the final exchange, when Simi Hamilton (Aspen, CO) took the final freestyle 10k and finished off the relay in 11th.
In the end Team Sweden won the gold medal, Russia silver and France bronze.
The relay will be featured on NBC’s Daytime Olympic coverage Sunday at 3:00 p.m. EST and can be streamed in its entirety on NBCOlympics.com.
Next up are the men’s and women’s team classic sprints scheduled for Wednesday Feb. 19.
QUOTES Simi Hamilton It’s hard. It’s a deceivingly hard course for sure. There’s nothing crazy on it, but you’re kind of working the transitions the whole time and there’s not a lot of recovery. The one big downhill in the sprint course you’re just on your feet the whole time and it goes by so fast that you don’t really get a breath of air. It was fun and it’s always good to get a distance start. I wish I had felt a little bit better. I’ve definitely had good distance races on courses like this before that are really rolling and cornery and transitiony. Today didn’t feel awesome but I fought hard.
Erik Bjornsen I was just warming up and it seemed like he (Newell) was in the mix so I was expecting to be right with them. I got out there and he was a little ways back, but it’s a tough competition. I’m sure the pace just picked up and he maybe wasn’t able to go with it.
I felt great. I just tried to ski smooth and strong. The last classic race I maybe went out a little too hard, so I was feeling great and I was able to just pop some of those hills, but also trying to be realistic and stay smooth so I could ski a smart race. I think I did. I was able to pick off a couple spots so I was happy with it.
Noah Hoffman What we discussed was top eight. That was our goal at World Championships last year and we ended up tenth. Today, again, we’re not too far from it, time-wise we’re quite a ways from it, but Andy just had a tough goal. We’re not that far away from being in there.