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Interview with Sophie Caldwell on her First World Cup Victory

Sophie Caldwell [P] Nordic Focus

January 06, 2016 – We caught up with the USA’s Sophie Caldwell after her massive win yesterday in the Tour de Ski 1.2km CL sprint in Obertsdorf, Germany – her first-ever World Cup victory. Caldwell became the third American woman to win a World Cup and the first to win a classic sprint World Cup. Previously, Alison Owen Spencer won a race in Telemark, WI in the early days of the World Cup, and Kikkan Randall has 14 World Cup wins to her name. Find our race coverage of Caldwell’s memorable day here.

Women's podium 1.2km CL Sprint Obertsdorf [P] Nordic Focus

Sophie, how did you find the course, conditions and your skis ?
Sophie Caldwell: The course was getting a little sloppy because of the weather, but considering how warm and wet it was, it held up great. It was true klister skiing out there. The downhills had some technical corners, but if you picked a good line, they weren’t too difficult. My skis were incredible today. I kicked up every hill and had some of the best glide out there.

Celebrating with her boyfriend's parents [P] Nordic Focus

You nailed your qualifier and quarterfinal… tell us about both.
SC: That was by far the best classic qualifier I’ve ever had. I think the course suited my strengths, and I made a big effort to rest as much as possible on the off day to save some energy for my last two races.

In your semi you seemed to have a similar strategy – ski near the front and then attack on the final climb ?
SC: My goal was to follow Ingvild [Oestberg] and not get dropped and to be confident in my downhill skills.

In the final were you nervous?
SC: Always!

Caldwell (top left) attacks on the final climb [P]

You followed Ingvild Oestberg was that your plan ?
SC: Yes, my plan was to stick on Oestberg on the uphills and follow her stride for stride. She is so strong and I knew if I could stick with her, we would likely spread the pack out a bit.

Sophie Caldwell leads the downhill [P]

Were you surprised to take the lead from her ?
SC: I was surprised to take the lead from her. My skis were running great and I think I skied the downhill well and when I shot by her I surprised myself.

In the finishing straight did you know how close Heidi Weng was behind ?
SC: I wasn’t sure who it was, but I knew someone was coming up hot. I tried not to look back and to just think about getting my hips forward. Matt had been talking to me about lunges between every round, so I focused really hard on having a good lunge at the end and it worked!

Sophie Caldwell lunges for the win [P] Nordic Focus
Caldwell WINS her first-ever WCup in Obertsdorf [P]

How does it feel to win the USA’s first CL Sprint gold ?
SC: It’s still sinking in ;).

Caldwell celebrates her win with coach Whitcomb [P]

Congrats on a huge victory for you, the team and the Caldwell clan.
SC: Thank you!

“Yes that’s great news. But you know she’s wearing the race bib…so you can’t blame it on the grandparents.” – John Caldwell [Sophie’s legendary grandfather].

 “Wow! What can I say? That was awesome! Sophie skied a perfect race, conserving her energy through the heats and attacking where she was stronger in the finals. She is very good at transitions, steep uphills and downhills so it was a good course for her. Pretty cool to see that our ski community can compete with the big guns! Congratulations to everyone who supports the USST skiers, this is a team victory!” – Sverre Caldwell [Sophie’s dad and Head Coach at Stratton Mountain]

“It was great to wake up to the news of Sophie’s win. She’s been a consistent member in the finals many times this season and I had the feeling it was just a matter of time before she reached the top of the podium.  It’s great to see all the girls racing well, they all have podium shots on any given day. I’m so proud of how far this team has come and I can’t wait to see what else they accomplish the rest of this season.” – Kikkan Randall [14 World Cup wins and 3 Sprint Cup crystal globes]

Plus check out this post-race video interview with Caldwell after her win….

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