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Integrity & Team - A Recap of the Minneapolis World Cup

This past weekend, the Bivo crew headed out to the Minneapolis World Cup. We have attended World Cups in the past, but this was unlike anything we have witnessed. It had been over two decades since the United States hosted a Cross Country Ski World Cup, and the fans were buzzing with excitement. Our travels from Burlington, VT on Friday morning felt like a reunion as I felt like I knew half the airport. Our flight was delayed out of Burlington into Chicago and we were worried we’d miss our connection until our flight attendant announced with disbelief, “For those of you heading to Minneapolis, you will not miss your connection. I’m not sure what y’all are doing there, but over half of this plane is on the flight to Minneapolis, so they are going to wait for you.” Over half of that flight was joining the other 20,000+ fans from across the world to watch the races.

Saturday was the sprint day and the crowd made their excitement known. The course was lined with enthusiastic spectators. Each time Jessie Diggins skied by, the crowd erupted in cheers. Witnessing her warm-up on Sunday, I remarked to Robby, "I'm not sure how she can focus through all this cheering; it's insane." There wasn't a calm or quiet moment during her warm-up.

Sunday featured a 10 km individual skate race, where each athlete raced against the clock. The men kicked the day off and Gus Schumacher started in the middle of the pack with bib number 35. I watched him float by in what looked like an effortless little climb around a corner and I thought, “damn, he looks good.” With the starting position he had, all the top racers such as Johannes Klaebo, Harald Amundsen and Pal Golberg were all racing behind him. When Gus took the leader’s chair as he crossed the finish line, we knew he had popped a crazy good race, but with all the seasoned athletes behind him, it felt unlikely that he’d hold onto the lead. One by one, though, his times were beating each one of the guys behind him. In true astonishment, the crowd was cheering louder and louder as our excitement built at the chance that he might win. And when the last contender came across the line, Gus won. He won! The 23 year old American with long locks from Alaska shocked us all. The crowd was full of tears, laughter, screams and joy. 

What stood out to me beyond the sheer amazement of Gus winning was how excited the other skiers were for him. Here they were, all the way in from Sweden, Norway and Italy, all vying for the top spot. Yet their joy for Gus was contagious. They were PUMPED. They gave him big hugs with huge smiles and shook him at the shoulders with excitement. How cool is that?! They just got beat and I don’t know if they would have been happier if they had won themselves. That is integrity and positive spirit. And it’s refreshing to see. 

I was a cross country ski racer through 2008 and at that time, Kikkan Randall started proving that Americans could compete internationally. Back then, a top 30 finish was considered exciting. Fast forward to today, and we have a roster of athletes achieving top 10, podium finishes, and even victories on the World Cup circuit – case in point; Gus. The American women have been a true force with Jessie Diggins leading the charge. Rosie Brennen, Sophie Caldwell, Liz Stephen, Ida Sargent, Katharine Ogden, Julia Kern, Sophia Laukli – they have and are paving the way and they are all really freaking impressive.

Team is the second thing that stood out to me this weekend. The women’s team has given us all confidence that winning is possible. This season, that confidence has spread to the men. With the young crew of Gus Schumacher, Ben Ogden and JC Schoonmaker (all 24 and under, all with their first podium this year) moving up, we have many years ahead of us of exciting racing. Success is indeed contagious when you have a strong team, making them a joy to watch. I'm certainly excited for it! 

Cheers, Carina

*For those interested in digging deeper into the theme of team dynamics, I recommend Peggy Shinn's book, World Class: The Making Of the U.S. Women’s Cross-Country Ski Team.  Whether you're a coach or involved in team-building at your company, it's an inspirational read.

2 Responses

Tammy Ringer

Tammy Ringer

March 01, 2024

Carina…with reading this blog about your weekend at the World Cup I felt your enthusiasm at being a part of an incredible event! Glad Bivo could be a part of this💦

Peggy Shinn

Peggy Shinn

February 29, 2024

Thanks for the shout-out! … A rising tide raises all boats.

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