Our new ambassador, U.S. Olympic Skier Rosie Brennan, truly embodies what it means to be a strong female athlete. From the time Brennan started Nordic skiing at the young age of 14, it was clear she was something special. By the time she graduated from high school she had won multiple races at Junior Nationals and was named to the U.S. Ski Team. Rosie continued her ski career at Dartmouth College, a school that stood out to her because not only is it known for its academics, but they also granted her the ability to participate in international races and other higher-level domestic races.
Brennan’s collegiate career for the Big Green was impressive. Despite multiple injuries, she was one of Dartmouth’s top cross-country skiers, was named an eight-time NCAA All-American, and competed in multiple World Cup races as well as the Junior World Championships.
After Dartmouth, Brennan moved to Alaska, where she currently resides, to attend Alaska Pacific University where she earned a Master of Education and began training at APU’s Nordic Ski Center. Brennan’s career has not been without obstacles, facing her first cut from the National Team in 2009 and a long string of injuries that plagued her well into her post-collegiate career. Although this was discouraging at the time, it only served to motivate her to train harder, making her both physically and mentally stronger. Her hard work, dedication and grittiness paid off in 2015 when Brennan made her first World Championships team. By 2018 she raced in her first Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. After suffering a battle with mononucleosis at the Games, Rosie once again found herself off the roster of the National Team. This was a turning point of her career in which she had to decide if it was time to hang up the skis or give it one last effort. She decided to double down on her efforts and was rewarded with her best season to date and another opportunity to race at the 2019 World Championships. Not long afterwards, she was presented with the Inga Award for her perseverance at the 2019 World Cup Final in Quebec City by a group of U.S. women Olympic cross-country skiers.
Brennan is still chasing her dreams and preparing to compete in Beijing at the Winter Olympics in February 2022. Her experience and endurance serve her well as she appears to be coming into her own. She earned the first World Cup win of her career in Davos, Switzerland in December 2020 in the freestyle sprint and the next day took her second World Cup win in the 10K. In doing so, she became the first American to hold the overall World Cup leader's bib, World Cup sprint leader's bib, and World Cup distance leader's bib at the same time. About these monumental victories, Rosie said, “I know I am in really good shape and my skate skiing has improved so much so I am just so excited to have these opportunities to race. I am just racing with the utter joy of being able to race and the fighting spirit to get through these tough times.”
In a nod to all that skiing has given her, Brennan is also an ambassador for various nonprofit organizations in her community, including Fast and Female, Skiku, and Healthy Futures. Through this work, Brennan hopes to empower young women and help them develop athletic skills, healthy habits, and a life-long love of sport. She is also deeply involved in the cross-country skiing community and a member of the Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center. She feels fortunate for both these communities, where she can surround herself with strong, empowering women who encourage her every day to challenge the boundaries society sets on female athletes. Brennan’s relentless drive and perseverance, combined with her love for skiing, have allowed her to achieve a remarkable comeback in her sport. We are certainly going to be cheering her on at this winter’s Olympic Games. Go Rosie and Team USA!
Photos: Tom Horrocks, US Ski & Snowboard @usskiteam