Alaskan Gus Schumacher claims historic win in World Cup cross-country race in Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS — Gus Schumacher, a 23-year-old from Anchorage, won the men’s 10-kilometer freestyle race on Sunday, becoming the first American man to win a World Cup distance event since 1983.

The race, at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis, used a staggered start, with skiers going off every 30 seconds. Schumacher started 35th out of 76 skiers and finished in 20 minutes, 52.7 seconds. Then he waited.

The leaders in the World Cup standings, all Norwegians, were all still on the course. One by one, they finished, and Schumacher remained atop the leaderboard.

Overall points leader Harald Oestberg Amundsen, who is also on top of the distance standings, arrived first, in 20:57.1, good for only second place. Then came Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo, Saturday’s sprint champion, in 20:59.02. The last skier to worry about was Paal Golberg, who started 70th. He crossed the finish line in 20:58.5, in third place.

Chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” filled the stadium. Schumacher was in tears in a post-race interview.

“This has been the best day ever ... Thank you, Minneapolis!,” he said.

The weekend races in Minneapolis were the first World Cup events held in the United States in 23 years. And entering the weekend, the hopes for an American champion in any of the four races rested largely on Jessie Diggins, the Afton native who leads the women’s World Cup standings.


The only other Alaskan to win a World Cup race is Kikkan Randall.

A couple hours after Schumacher’s win, Diggins finished third in the women’s 10K, her signature event.

[Jessie Diggins wraps up hometown World Cup weekend with third place in 10k race]

After Schumacher was done racing, he was ushered to the chair at the finish line reserved for the leader. He said he’s only sat in that seat for 15 or 30 seconds in previous races, because someone faster always came along.

“I’ve spent like a total of 30 seconds total in the leader’s chair before today,” he said.

“To see that time keep holding up, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I really did ski a crazy race,’” he said. “To have this happen today, I couldn’t even imagine. I always try to do my best, but usually my best is not the podium.”

The noise from the crowd 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.”

Schumacher entered the race 22nd in the overall World Cup standings and 18th in distance events. His career-best result before Sunday was a fourth-place finish in a freestyle sprint race in the 2023-24 Tour de Ski.

He skied for Service High School and coach Jan Buron’s Alaska Winter Stars, and later with with the APU Nordic Ski Center. He competed in the 2022 Winter Olympics.

It’s been an outstanding World Cup season for the American men, who have reached the podium twice — marking the first time since 1983 that two U.S. men earned World Cup podium finishes in the same season.

In December, JC Schoonmaker, a 23-year-old Californian who skied for the University of Alaska Anchorage, was third in a sprint race in Östersund, Sweden, the first World Cup podium finish for an American man since 2017. A few weeks later, Ben Ogden, a 24-year-old from Vermont, finished third in the sprint race in the Tour de Ski.

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Other Alaska men on Sunday: Scott Patterson of Anchorage was 22nd; Zanden McMullen of Anchorage, 25th; David Norris of Fairbanks, 35th; Luke Jager of Anchorage, 39th; Hunter Wonders of Anchorage, 47th; Michael Earnhart of Eagle River, 61st.

Other Alaska women: Rosie Brennan of Anchorage was 22nd, Kendall Kramer of Fairbanks was 36th and Novie McCabe of Anchorage was 37th.

[Full results for men and women.]

Star Tribune writer Rachel Blount contributed reporting. Additional information in this story came from Dane Mizutani of the Pioneer Press and the Anchorage Daily News.

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Earlier coverage:


‘The coolest day of my career’: Jessie Diggins basks in glory of Minnesota homecoming (2024)

Alaskans Gus Schumacher and Rosie Brennan thrive at Tour de Ski (2024)

In harsh Olympic glare, Anchorage skier Gus Schumacher shows how to struggle with grace (2022)

Anchorage skier Gus Schumacher blazes to 8th place in World Cup cross-country race (2021)

Anchorage’s Gus Schumacher skis to historic gold medal at World Junior Championships (2020)