U.S. skier Gus Schumacher makes history with World Cup win in Minnesota

The only thing U.S. skier Gus Schumacher could do was wait.

After crossing the finish line with a time of 20 minutes, 52.7 seconds on Sunday at Theodore Wirth Park, Schumacher took his rightful place in the leader’s chair. Still, the staggered start in the men’s 10-kilometer freestyle race, with competitors going off every 30 seconds, made it so Schumacher wouldn’t know his fate until the distance race was over.

The reality of the situation started to hit Schumacher the longer he remained in the leader’s chair. As soon as the final racer crossed the finish line, Schumacher burst into tears. He had just become the first man from the U.S. to win a World Cup distance race since 1983.

“I’ve spent like a total of 30 seconds total in the leader’s chair before today,” said Schumacher, 23, who hails from Anchorage, Alaska. “To see that time keep holding up, I was like, ‘Oh my god. I really did ski a crazy race.'”

As he praised the crowd for willing him to a gold medal for the first time in his career, the loud “USA! USA! USA!” chants near the podium morphed into even louder “GUS! GUS! GUS!” chants. Meanwhile, as Schumacher realized what he he had just done, Harald Oestberg Amundsen of Norway and Paal Golberg of Norway officially rounded out the podium.

“I didn’t think I was going to win the race,” Schumacher said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

It’s been well documented that this was the first time a World Cup has been hosted in the U.S. in more than 20 years. Though the crowd in Minnesota certainly gravitated toward Afton native Jessie Diggins, it showed love for everybody involved this weekend.

The noise seemed to propel Schumacher down the stretch.

“I couldn’t even hear my own breathing, ” Schumacher said. “That’s normally how I can tell how hard I’m going. Maybe that helped. I felt pretty unstoppable out there.”

If Schumacher has his way, this won’t be the last time he stands atop the podium. He has been trending in the right direction as of late and is hoping this can serve as a launching pad for his career. That said, Schumacher emphasized that he will never forget his first win.

“I’m so grateful to everybody who made this the best atmosphere of any World Cup I’ve ever skied,” he said. “This means so much to me.”

Related Articles