With the 2018/2019 season officially in the rearview, FasterSkier is running a series of articles highlighting some of the players and performances from the season. This year, the breakthrough skier is Rosie Brennan.
Rosie Brennan raced her first World Cup pre-Vancouver Olympics. That was 2009. Since then her career has been mercurial. In fact, this is Brennan’s second nod for breakthrough skier of the year.
She was named to the U.S. Ski Team (USST) out of high school only to find herself let go from the team two years later. In 2015 she would be renominated to the USST. She then linked together several years on the World Cup. Last season her energy began to wane as did her results. Brennan qualified for the Olympics but was eventually diagnosed with mono and was not renominated to the national team.
Brennan is no ordinary athlete. Her development path and path to World Cup results reflecting her physical capacity are hers alone. Rather than bow out, Brennan redoubled her focus last year and trained with her APU clan. She was, however, offered Period 1 starts on the World Cup. Brennan capitalized on what many would consider the last of her proverbial “nine lives” on the international ski circuit.
She placed 23rd in the second race of the season, a 10 k classic in Ruka, Finland.
In the next seven individual races, all before the Tour de Ski which she chose to sit out, Brennan placed in the top-30. A closer examination of those results reveal the Park City, Utah native had found her groove.
Lillehammer, Norway: There was a 21st in a skate sprint, an 11th in the 10 k skate, and a 15th in the 10 k classic pursuit.
Beitostølen, Norway: 15th in the 15 k skate.
Davos, Switzerland: 29th in the skate sprint and sixth in the 10 k skate, for a career-best individual World Cup result.
After five distance races, Brennan was the 11th ranked skier on the distance standings list. You can fill in the blank any way you want, but there’s one right answer: holy ____!
“I just really wanted to feel good racing again and to enjoy it again,” Brennan told FasterSkier after her Davos sixth place.“I was just so miserable last year, and it was a hard decision to know if it was even worth it to continue on, if I could find not only fun in racing again but also good form and just good race feelings.”
Five more times during the World Cup season Brennan locked into the top-30.
On the slightly larger stage of the Seefeld, Austria World Championships she did not spiral in the race standings. (At this point we can take a slight pause and mention Brennan should be teaching a master class on self-actualization.)
She placed 10th in the skiathlon, 24th in the 10 k classic, and 16th in the 30 k mass start skate. So utterly solid.
Brennan invested in herself. The U.S. Ski Team will as well. After finishing 27th overall in the distance standings, and meeting the objective criteria for the USST with her Davos sixth place, she has been nominated to the A-Team for 2019/2020.
It has been quite a breakthrough. One that is good for Brennan, good for the USST, and even better for the kids immersed in sport and believing in themselves.