With less than 100 days remaining until the London 2012 Olympic Games begin, there is plenty of action left for athletes trying to make the U.S. Olympic Team. This week’s edition includes the Penn Relays track meet, more Olympic qualifying for archery and wrestling and more. And the Warrior Games, complete with an appearance from First Lady Michelle Obama, are gearing up for a third time in Colorado Springs.
TRACK AND FIELD
Penn Relays, April 26-28, Philadelphia
U.S. women sprinters Carmelita Jeter, Sanya Richards-Ross and Allyson Felix, and men runners Walter Dix and Justin Gatlin will be among a strong international field competing Saturday in the 13th USA vs. the World competition at the 118th Penn Relays in Philadelphia.
Jeter, a double gold winner at the 2011 World Championships in the 100- and 200-meter races, is the second-fastest woman in world history with a personal best of 10.64 seconds in the 100. Dix is the current world silver medalist in the men’s 100 and 200. The United States will face stiff competition from Jamaica and Great Britain, among others.
USA vs. the World is the first leg of the 2012 Outdoor Visa Championship Series and because this time the event is in an Olympics year, a record 21 nations have sent athletes to compete. Four years ago, the USA vs. the World produced three relay teams that won gold medals at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games: U.S. men’s and women’s 4x400, and Jamaica men’s 4x100.
The men’s 4x100 relay, featuring Jamaica and the United States, is one of the day’s big races. Other events include: men’s and women’s 4x400, women’s sprint medley relay, women’s 4x100 and men’s distance medley relay.
Another name to watch is two-time Olympic 400 hurdles gold medalist Angelo Taylor. Twelve years ago, he teamed up with Michael Johnson, Tyree Washington and the late Antonio Pettigrew to win the 4x400 in what remains the meet record of 2:56.60.
Taylor has run legs on six winning 4x400m teams at the USA vs. the World (‘00-’02, ‘09-’11), which includes wins in each of the last three years. Taylor, a five-time Olympic and World Championships gold medalist in the 4x400m, will have his name among those to give Team USA a shot at winning its seventh consecutive men’s 4x400m title.
TV: 1 p.m.-3 p.m. ET Saturday, NBC
U.S. Olympic Trials for Archery, April 25-28, Chula Vista, Calif.
Brady Ellison, the world’s top-ranked men’s recurve archer and a 2008 Olympian, was the leader of the men’s scoring after three days of the U.S. Olympic Trials for Archery, and Jennifer Nichols, a two-time Olympian, led the women. The tournament field was trimmed to eight men and eight women after competition on Thursday, and those are the 16 who will compete for spots on the U.S. Olympic Team at the third nomination shoot June 1-3 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
Ellison leads the field with 54 points, followed by Jake Kaminski with 46 points. The next six: Jacob Wukie, 39; Butch Johnson and Joe Fanchin, 38.25; Thomas Stanwood and Vic Wunderle, 31.75; Dan Schuller, 31.25.
Nichols leads the women with 51 points, just ahead of Miranda Leek’s 50.75 points. The next six: Khatuna Lorig, 43.5; Kristin Braun, 37; Heather Koehl, 36.75; Lori Cieslinski, 32; Mackenzie Brown, 31.5; Holly Stover, 26.
Paralympic Team Trials for Archery, April 25-28, Chula Vista, Calif.
Leading the open male category was Matt Stutzman with 686; he was followed by Jonathan Mize with 679 and Dugan Denton with 662. In the standing male category, Eric Bennett led with 624, followed by Michael Lukow with 562 and Tim Palumbo with 541.
Standing female results saw Lee Ford in first with 508; D'arce Hess and Natalie Wells followed with 499 and 469 respectively. In the W1 male category, it was Jerry Shields leading with 626; Aaron Cross was second with 606; Chuck Lear ended in third with 606. Russell Wolfe was the sole competitor in the men's W2 category, finishing with 540.
For the Paralympic Team Trials, it's round robin match play in this single Trials event that will determine the team for London.
World Olympic Games Qualifying Tournament, April 27-29, Taiyuan, China
Shawn Bunch will compete Friday in the men’s freestyle 60kg weight class and Justin Ruiz will wrestle Sunday in the Greco-Roman 96kg class at the World Olympic Games Qualifying Tournament in China. Bunch and Ruiz are attempting to win slots for the United States at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The United States already has slots in the other 16 men’s and women’s Olympic classes. To obtain an Olympic slot, Bunch and Ruiz must finish among the top three.
Bunch is ranked No. 2 at 60kg on Team USA and is a six-time member of the world team. He’ll face John Pineda of Canada in opening-round action Friday. With a victory he would face Radouan Ouled Bentle of Morocco. Bunch needs four wins in his half-bracket to qualify for the finals, which would qualify the Olympic slot. Ruiz was a bronze medalist at the 2005 World Championships.
ISSF World Cup, April 19-28, London
Two-time Olympic medalist Matt Emmons and three-time Olympian Jason Parker will begin competition Friday in the men’s 50-meter, 3-position rifle event at the ISSF World Cup in London. The 10-day World Cup, a test event for the London 2012 Olympic Games, continues through Saturday.
On Friday, Olympic hopeful Kayle Browning earned a bronze medal in the women’s trap, battling 40 mph wind conditions at the Royal Artillery Barracks. “I felt good going into the final,” she said. “But I was extremely nervous because it was my first World Cup final.”
In addition to the men’s 3-position rifle, the men’s 25-meter rapid fire pistol and men’s trap will be held Friday, followed by another round of the men’s 50-meter 3-position rifle Saturday.
Also in shooting:
National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships, April 20-30, Colorado Springs
Pan American Judo Championships, April 27-28, Montreal
Kyle Vashkulat (100kg) and Aaron Kunihiro (60kg) are among those battling for 2012 Olympic spots this weekend at the Pan American Judo Championships in Montreal. The event is the final opportunity for U.S. judoka to accumulate points for the U.S. Olympic Team.
To qualify for the Olympics, a male athlete must be ranked among the top 22 internationally; a female athlete must be ranked among the top 14. Vashkulat needs to retain his current ranking, while Kunihiro needs to move up. Fifteen U.S. elite athletes are competing in Montreal.
Three athletes have virtually locked up places on the Olympic Team: Kayla Harrison, women’s 78kg; Travis Stevens, men’s 81kg; Marti Malloy, women’s 57kg.
April 30-May 5, Colorado Springs
More than 200 wounded and injured military service members will compete in the third annual Warrior Games, which begin Monday at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. First Lieutenant (Ret.) Melissa Stockwell, an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, and Captain Simon Maxwell, of the Royal Marines and a member of the British Armed Forces team, will be the honorary torchbearers for the Opening Ceremony. Twenty British athletes will face U.S. Armed Forces teams in archery, cycling, swimming, sitting volleyball, and track and field.
First Lady Michelle Obama will speak at the Opening Ceremony. In addition to speaking at the Opening Ceremony for the Warrior Games, Obama will lead the U.S. presidential delegation to the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
USA Taekwondo National Team Trials, April 27-29, Colorado Springs
Mark Lopez and Charlotte Craig, both 2008 Olympians, are among 63 athletes who will compete this weekend for 16 spots on the U.S. National Taekwondo Team. The event will be held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
After weigh-ins and training sessions Friday, the tournament opens Saturday with competition in four men’s and women’s weight classes. Lopez, a brother of 2012 Olympic qualifiers Steven and Diana Lopez, will compete Sunday in the men’s lightweight (under 74kg) class. Craig will compete Sunday in the women’s flyweight (under 49kg). Eight other 2011 national team members are also trying to retain their spots on the team: James Howe (men’s flyweight), Luke Ford (men’s welterweight), Jason Neville (men’s middleweight), Stephen Lambdin (men’s heavyweight), Deireanne Morales (women’s bantamweight), Aziza Chambers (women’s bantamweight), Sanaz Shahbazi (women’s welterweight) and Lauren Hamon (women’s middleweight).
Osijek World Cup, April 26-30, Osijek, Crotia
David Sender of Team Hilton HHonors, Adrian de los Angeles of the University of Michigan and Glen Ishino of Cal-Berkeley are representing the United States at the IGF World Cup in Osijek, Crotia. The competition is in individual events only.
Rolex/USEF National CC14* Eventing Championship, April 26-28, Lexington, Ky.
Olympic medalists Phillip Dutton and Karen O’Connor are among the leading U.S. riders at the Rolex/USEF National CC14* Eventing Championship and Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Bridgestone. In all, 57 horses from five countries are entered in the competition.
O’Connor, riding Veronica, was in second place behind Boyd Martin, aboard Remington XXV, following Thursday’s opening round of the dressage competition. Martin led the field with a score of 45.3. The competition continues Friday, and O’Connor is expected to ride her second horse, Mr. Medicott, on Friday.
TV: 10 a.m.-noon ET Saturday, Universal Sports; 2 p.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, NBC
Also in equestrian:
Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup, April 27-28, Lexington, Ky.
Webcast: usef network.com
Men’s Saber World Cup, April 27-29, Athens
The U.S. Men’s Saber Team, which qualified for the London 2012 Olympic Games with a rare World Cup medal in March in Moscow, resumes its World Cup schedule Friday in Athens. The bronze-medal finish in Moscow was the first World Cup medal for a U.S. men’s team since 2005.
Tim Morehouse and James Williams were not only members of the medal-winning team in Moscow, but also earned silver medals at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Also in fencing:
Men’s Epée World Cup, April 27-29, Heidenheim, Germany
Men’s Foil Grand Prix, April 28-29, Wakayama, Japan
Women’s Foil Grand Prix, April 28-29, Marseille, France
Stro Memorial, April 28-29, Los Angeles
FIVB Swatch World Tour, April 25-29, Myslowice, Poland
The U.S. men’s beach teams of Matt Fuerbringer and Nick Lucena, and Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal each won their first two matches of the main draw, and advanced to the third round of this week’s FIVB Swatch World Tour event in Poland. Fuerbringer and Lucena, seeded No. 2, defeated Netherland’s Jon Stiekema and Christiaan Varenhorst, and China’s Linyin Wu and Penggen Wu on Thursday. They were to face No. 7 Reinder Nummerdor and Richard Schuil of Netherlands on Friday. Gibb and Rosenthal, seeded No. 13, were to face No. 28 Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst of Austria on Friday.
U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Argentina, April 27 and 29, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
The U.S. Men’s National Team, preparing for the Olympic zonal qualification tournament, will face Argentina in a pair of exhibition matches Friday (7:30 p.m., local time) and Sunday (2 p.m.) at JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. USA Volleyball will host the Olympic qualification tournament, beginning May 7, in Long Beach, Calif.
Also in volleyball:
Collegiate Sand Volleyball Championships, April 27-29, Gulf Shores, Ala.
Desert Open, Beach Junior Tour, April 29, Glendale, Ariz.
French Olympic Sailing Week, April 22-27, Hyeres, France
Racing continues through Friday in the French Olympic Sailing Week event held in Hyeres, France. In all, 26 U.S. athletes are competing, including 15 Olympians and Paralympians. Anna Tunnicliffe’s Team Maclaren, also including Molly Vandemoer and Debbie Capozzi, remained unbeaten in women’s match racing entering the final day of competition.
Open Water National Championships, April 27-29, Fort Myers, Fla.
Christine Jennings, Haley Anderson and Ashley Twichell are among the leading women swimmers who will compete in the 10-kilometer portion of the Open Water National Championships in Fort Myers, Fla. The top two finishers qualify for the final Olympic qualifier in June. Alex Meyer has already qualified for the London 2012 Olympic Games because of his fourth-place finish at the 2011 Open Water World Championships.
World Mixed Doubles Championships, April 24-29, Erzurum, Turkey
U.S. mixed doubles champions Brady and Cristin Clark combined to win their first five matches at the World Mixed Doubles Championships in Erzurum, Turkey. They will face unbeaten Switzerland (6-0) and Ireland (0-5) on Friday, and the Czech Republic (2-3) on Saturday in the final two days of round-robin play. The United States is in second place in the blue group, just behind Switzerland. The top two teams in each of three groups advance to the playoffs.
Quarterfinal-round play begins Sunday morning at Milli Piyango Curling Hall in Erzurum. The semifinals and medal-round play also will be Sunday.
International Youth Diving Meet, April 26-29, Dresden, Germany
Eight junior divers from the United States are competing this weekend at the International Youth Diving Meet in Dresden, Germany. The U.S. divers: David Dinsmore, Henry Fusaro, Phoebe Lamay, Christopher Law, Brighida Rosendahl, Sine Scribbick, Cameron Thatcher and Emma Villarreal.
USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championship, April 28, Tucson, Ariz.
Gail Kattouf and Dave Slavinski, the 2011 female and male Duathletes of the Year, are among a field of nearly 600 who will compete Saturday in the USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championship in Tucson, Ariz. Competition will be held in standard distance (5-kilometer run, 35k bike, 5k run) and sprint distance (2.5k run, 17k bike, 2.5k run). The event is the only U.S. qualifier for the Standard-Distance ITU Duathlon World Championships, which will be held in September in France.
The Paraduathlon National Championship will be a part of the sprint distance event.
Pro GRT, NW Cup, April 26-29, Port Angeles, Wash.
The USA Cycling Professional Mountain Bike Gravity Tour (Pro GRT) kicks off its season this weekend with the NW Cup in Port Angeles, Wash. Danny Hart and Jill Kintner are the tour’s defending champions from 2011. The tour consists of six events, finishing with the Northstar Pro GRT in Truckee, Calif., in early August.
Also in cycling:
Juniors Pan American Games, April 23-29, Guatemala
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.