Hamilton at the Vancouver Olympics     Photo: Simi Hamilton/Facebook

U.S. Nordic Skier Nabs Gold

First men's World Cup win in 30 years

American nordic skier Simi Hamilton is ringing in the new year by making history. On Tuesday, the 2010 Olympian became the first American male in decades to win a World Cup race—a 1.5-kilometer freestyle sprint, held in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, as part of the Tour de Ski stage race.

The last time a win like this happened was 30 years ago by American hero Bill Koch. In a sport historically dominated by europeans, the U.S. men's nordic program owns only one Olympic medal—Koch‘s silver in 1976.

Hamilton, 26, a Colorado native, has never finished better than seventh in a World Cup race, NBCsports reports. During Tuesday’s race, though, Hamilton came back from behind, taking the men’s final in 2:37.02,  a mere 0.32 seconds ahead of Canadian Alex Harvey in second. The win is particularly exciting given that the Sochi Winter Games are just weeks away.

“I didn’t think I had it until I was, like, five feet across the line,” Hamilton said, according to Faster Skier. “I just focused on skiing through the finish and sticking to my guns.”