Olympic Weekend Preview

By Paul D. Bowker | April 13, 2012, 12:56 p.m. (ET)

Canoe/Kayak rapids 

As we approach the 100-day countdown to London on April 18, TeamUSA.org keeps track of all of the action for athletes trying to make the 2012 Games as well as athletes who have their eyes set on the Winter Games. This week’s edition includes the Women’s World Championship in hockey, Olympic Trials in canoe/kayak and more.

CANOE/KAYAK

Olympic Trials for Whitewater Slalom, April 13-15, Charlotte, N.C.

Benn Fraker, a 2008 Olympian, had the two fastest runs in the one-man canoe competition Thursday, as the Olympic Trials for Whitewater Slalom opened at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, N.C. Fraker had a first run of 105.91.

The Trials continue through Saturday in men’s single (C-1) and doubles (C-2) canoe, and women’s and men’s kayak (K-1). The best four runs over three days will be used to compile the rankings of the athletes. The trials are the third of four selection events that will determine the U.S. Olympic Team. The fourth is a World Cup event in June in England. Only the leaders in the rankings will make the Olympic team.

In addition to Fraker’s solid performance, Eric Hurd and Jeff Larimer had the two best scores in the men’s C-2, and two-time Olympian Scott Parsons was No. 1 and 3 in men’s K-1. Casey Eichfeld was No. 3 and 4 in men’s C-1.

“There was a lot of pressure and great racing today,” Parsons said, “and I feel fortunate to have performed the way I did. My focus is now on preparing for Day 2.”

Caroline Queen, a sophomore at nearby Davidson College, led the women’s K-1 with a run of 124.28.

Catch Saturday’s action via live video stream on Universal Sports. Coverage begins at 3pm EDT. Click on the link below to access the live stream:

http://universalsports.com/video/saturday-april-14th-canoe-and-kayak-olympic-trials/

ICE HOCKEY

IIHF Women’s World Championship, April 7-14, Burlington, Vt.

The U.S. Women’s National Team is just two wins away from claiming its fourth consecutive world title.

Following three dominating wins in group play during which the United States outscored its opponents 29-2, Team USA takes on Switzerland in a semifinal game Friday night at Gutterson Field House in Burlington, Vt. Team USA has blown away its opponents with an explosive offense that has struck early in all of its games.

“If you can get on the board early and get going right away it’s hard for the other team to get out of the hole,” U.S. forward Jillian Dempsey said. “So if we come out firing, we hope to get only better from there.”

A victory Friday would send the United States to the gold-medal game Saturday, possibly against Canada, the gold-medal winner at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Team USA defeated Canada, 9-2, in the opening game of the tournament.

TV: 7 p.m. ET Saturday, Universal Sports

IIHF Men’s World Under-18 Championships, April 12-22, Czech Republic

The U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Team opened the World U-18 Championships with a 4-0 win Thursday over Finland and will play the Czech Republic on Saturday in Breclav, Czech Republic. Team USA will also play Denmark on Sunday and Canada on Tuesday. Nicolas Kerdiles, Matthew Lane, Quentin Shore and Connor Carrick each scored goals in the win over Finland.

FENCING

USA Fencing Division I National Championships, April 14-15, Virginia Beach, Va.

The U.S. men’s and women’s foil, women’s epee and men’s sabre teams for the London 2012 Olympic Games will be decided at the USA Fencing Division I National Championships. The event will be held Saturday and Sunday at the Virginia Beach (Va.) Convention Center.

Once the competition is over Sunday, USA Fencing will announce all of its nominees for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team. The top three athletes in each discipline in the USA Fencing National Point Standings will earn Olympic nominations. The fourth athlete will be an alternate. The No. 1 fencers entering the weekend are Lee Kiefer, women’s foil; Alexander Massialas, men’s foil; Courtney Hurley, women’s epee; Daryl Homer, men’s sabre.

Mariel Zagunis, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, and Dagmara Wozniak, women’s sabre, and Soren Thompson and Seth Kelsey, men’s epee, have already won Olympic nominations.

Men’s Epee and Women’s Sabre, team world championships, April 14-15, Kiev, Ukraine

Zagunis, Wozniak, Thompson and Kelsey will compete in the team world championships for women’s sabre and men’s epee on Saturday and Sunday in Kiev, Ukraine. Also competing for the United States in women’s sabre on Friday are Daria Schneider and Ibtihaj Muhammad. Competing Saturday in men’s epee are 2004 Olympian Cody Mattern and four-time World Team member Ben Bratton.

DIVING

FINA Diving World Series, April 13-14, Moscow

Kelci Bryant and Abby Johnston, who won a FINA World Series silver medal in synchronized 3-meter diving in March in Beijing, will be among six U.S. athletes competing this weekend at the FINA Diving World Series in Moscow.

Bryant will compete in the women’s 3-meter and synchronized 3-meter with Johnston. David Boudia and Nick McCrory will both compete individually in the men’s 10-meter and also together in the men’s synchronized 10-meter. Troy Dumais will compete in the men’s 3-meter and men’s synchronized 3-meter with Kristian Ipsen.

Also in diving:

Hilton HHonors Junior East National Championships, April 13-15, Rockville, Md.

Hilton HHonors Junior West National Championships, April 13-15, Oklahoma City, Okla.

TRIATHLON

ITU World Triathlon Series, April 13, Sydney,

Olympic qualifiers Sarah Groff and Gwen Jorgensen lead a seven-member U.S. team Friday into the first event of the ITU World Triathlon Series in Sydney. The competition is the 2012 debut for Groff.

Other U.S. athletes include Laura Bennett and Jillian Peterson in the women’s competition, and National Team members Matt Chrabot, Manuel Huerta and Jarrod Shoemaker in the men’s race. Shoemaker won the ITU Pan American Cup in March in Clermont, Fla. The Sydney World Cup is a tune-up for the U.S. athletes who’ll compete in the ITU World Triathlon San Diego next month, which is the final qualifying event for the U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team.

Webcast: 5:30 p.m. ET Friday, triathlonlive.tv

MODERN PENTATHLON

UIPM World Cup, April 12-15, Szazhalombatta, Hungary

Dennis Bowsher, who has qualified for the London 2012 Olympic Games, will be among three U.S. men competing Friday in the qualification round of the World Cup in Hungary. The event is the third World Cup competition of the season and counts toward qualification for the World Cup Final and potentially Olympic qualification.

Also competing for the United States: 2008 Olympians Sam Sacksen and Eli Bremer, plus Will Brady. The men’s finals are Sunday. None of the four U.S. women, including 2012 Olympic nominee Margaux Isaksen, qualified for the women’s finals. Isaksen finished 20th with 3,744 points in the qualification round Thursday.

ARCHERY

World Cup, April 11-14, Shanghai

Reo Wilde was the top qualifier in men’s compound on the opening day of the World Cup event in Shanghai, China. Dave Cousins was third and Braden Gellenthien was fifth, entering team elimination rounds Friday.

Other highly placed U.S. qualifiers included Brady Ellison, the world’s top-ranked archer in men’s recurve, at No. 7; Jamie Van Natta, No. 3 in women’s compound; and Erika Anschutz, the world’s top-ranked archer in women’s compound, at No. 4.

SHOOTING

IPC World Cup, April 12-16, Szeczin, Poland

Eric Hollen, a former member of the U.S. Army Special Forces, will compete Saturday in the men’s air pistol at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Cup in Szeczin, Poland. Also competing for the United States at the event is Josh Olson, who is a nominee for the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

“We’re in our ramp-up phase currently with a focus on being at our very best for London,” said coach Bob Foth, a three-time Olympian. “This will allow us to gauge whether the scores they shoot in competition match the type of hard work and preparation they are putting in on a daily basis.”

Also in shooting:

National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships, April 13-30, Colorado Springs

CYCLING

UCI BMX Supercross World Cup, April 13-15, Randaberg, Norway

Connor Fields, who won the season-opening UCI BMX Supercross World Cup event in Chula Vista, Calif., and Amanda Geving lead a 10-person USA Cycling-funded team and 13 other Americans into the World Cup event this weekend in Randaberg, Norway. At stake are Olympic qualification points. In all, 170 riders from 26 nations are expected.

The time trials and qualifications are Friday, followed by the Supercross main event Saturday.

Also in cycling:

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, Olympic qualification event, April 13-15, Houffalize, Belgium

FIELD HOCKEY

4-Nations Tournament, April 12-22, Auckland, New Zealand

The U.S. Women’s National Field Hockey Team fell to Australia 4-0 Thursday in its opening match of the 4-Nations Tournament in Auckland, New Zealand.

The loss was the second in a row against Australia. The United States prepared for the tournament in a test series last week in Australia, defeating the Australians in two of three matches, but losing 3-0 on Sunday.

GYMNASTICS

World Acrobatic Gymnastics Championships, April 16-18, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Women’s pairs Beth Landeche and Nicole Barrilleaux will be among seven U.S. gymnasts competing in the World Acrobatic Gymnastics Championships, beginning Monday. The event will be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. USA Gymnastics is hosting the competition for the first time.

Other U.S. gymnasts are Sienna Colbert, Holli Morris and Crystal Johnston in women’s group, and Kelianne Stankus and Dylan Maurer in mixed pair.

Also in gymnastics:

USA Gymnastics Women’s Collegiate National Championships, April 12-14, Bridgeport, Conn.

EQUESTRIAN

WEF Wellington Dressage Nations Cup CDIO3*, April 13-14, Wellington, Fla.

Chris Hickey, Shelly Francis, Devon Kane and Caroline Roffman will ride for the United States in the WEF Wellington Dressage Nations Cup CDIO3*, which begins Friday in Wellington, Fla. The event is a part of the FEI Nations Cup competition, and has drawn riders and horses from eight countries.

The top five teams after competition in the FEI Prix St. Georges on Friday will then compete for the Nations Cup title in the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle on Saturday.

Also in equestrian:

USEF National Single Horse Championship, Selection Trial for 2012 Singles World Driving Championship, April 13-15, Raeford, N.C.

National Reining Breeders Classic, April 16-22, Katy, Texas

MARATHON

Boston Marathon, April 16, Boston

One of the top marathons in the world will be held through the streets of Boston on Monday morning, when the Boston Marathon is held and finishes up in downtown Boston. One notable name in the field is Joan Benoit Samuelson, the 1979 and 1983 Boston Marathon winner and the 1984 Olympic women’s champion. She finished the 2011 Boston Marathon in 2:51.29.

TV: 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET Monday, Universal Sports

WRESTLING

FILA Junior National Championships, April 13-15, Madison, Wis.

Competition begins Saturday in freestyle at the FILA Junior National Championships in Madison, Wis. Competition will be held in Greco-Roman and men’s freestyle. The top six finishers in each weight class advances to the FILA Junior World Team Trials in May.

VOLLEYBALL

USA Volleyball Beach Collegiate Challenge, April 14-15, Hermosa Beach, Calif.

Several current and former USA Volleyball beach high-performance athletes are expected to compete in the USA Volleyball Beach Collegiate Challenge Saturday and Sunday in Hermosa Beach, Calif. The competition will determine the teams that will advance to the inaugural AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championship in late April in Gulf Shores, Fla. Schools competing include the University of Southern California, Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount, Long Beach State and Hawaii.

FIGURE SKATING

ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships, April 13-14, Gothenburg, Sweden

The national champion Haydenettes and the Crystallettes, the U.S. silver medalists, will skate for the United States on Friday and Saturday at the ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships in Sweden.

The two U.S. squads are among 21 teams representing 16 nations at the competition. The Haydenettes, of Lexington, Mass., are at the worlds for the 13th consecutive year. The team won bronze last year. The Crystallettes are from Dearborn, Mich., and are competing at worlds for the second time in three years.

Also in figure skating:

Gardena Spring Trophy, April 12-15, Selva, Italy

CURLING

World Senior Curling Championships, April 14-21, Copenhagen

The USA Curling men’s team will face Finland on Sunday and the women’s squad will face Ireland as both teams begin round-robin play at the World Senior Curling Championships in Denmark. The U.S. men, led by Ian Journeaux, will also play Ireland and Slovakia on Monday, England on Tuesday, Latvia on Wednesday, and Switzerland and Russia on Thursday. The women, skipped by Pam Oleinik, will play Canada and Russia on Monday, Denmark on Tuesday, Scotland on Wednesday and Finland on Thursday.

Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor for teamusa.org. Material from various news services and press releases from National Governing Bodies was used to compile  this report. This story was not subject to the approval of any National Governing Bodies.

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