It’s a full slate of action this weekend as U.S. athletes compete around the globe in just about every winter sport as well as a handful of summer sports. The big action is going on in Sochi, where the figure skating Grand Prix Final is already in progress. World Cup events are also going on in skiing, bobsled, skeleton, speedskating, luge, biathlon and gymnastics. Check out the Team USA Weekend Preview for all of the details.
ISU Grand Prix Final and Junior Grand Prix Final, Dec. 6-9, Sochi, Russia
Olympic silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White are the leaders after the short dance at the ISU Grand Prix Final, which is being held at the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi, Russia, the site of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Should they win in Sochi, it will mark their fourth consecutive Grand Prix title.
Reigning national champion Ashley Wagner is in second after the short program but only trails leader Mao Asada by .52 points entering the free skate. Wagner achieved the top seed by winning gold at Hilton HHonors Skate America and Trophée Bompard. With a victory in Sochi, she would be the first American woman since Sasha Cohen in 2003 to win three Grand Prix titles in one year. Wagner is joined in the women’s competition by Christina Gao, who gained entry when Russia’s Julia Lipnitskaia withdrew because of an injury. Gao is in sixth place after a disappointing short program.
In the Junior Grand Prix Final, which also is being held in Sochi, Joshua Farris took the silver and 2011 Junior Grand Prix Final champion Jason Brown placed fourth. Hannah Miller earned the junior women’s silver medal and ice dancers Alexandra Aldridge and Daniel Eaton placed third.
TV: 5 p.m.-6 p.m. and 8 p.m.-10 p.m. ET Saturday, Universal Sports; 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, NBC; 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, Universal Sports
U.S. Women’s National Team vs. China, Dec. 8, Detroit
The Olympic gold medal-winning U.S. Women’s National Team will play China as a part of its Fan Tribute Tour Saturday afternoon (1:30 p.m. ET) at Ford Field in Detroit. The game is the eighth in the 10-game tour. The United States is unbeaten on the tour with a 5-0-2 record, including a 2-0 win over Ireland last Saturday in Glendale, Ariz.
Among the players to watch: Alex Morgan, a forward who has scored 28 goals in international and Olympic play this year. She scored four goals in her last two games.
Should Morgan score two more goals, she would become the third player in U.S. history with 30 goals in a calendar year. The others are Abby Wambach (31) in 2004 and Michelle Akers (39) in 1991.
“I think it’s great that I’m close to 30 (goals),” she said. “I never imagined having this many goals this year. It’s kind of a dream year for me. We still have three games to go and this team has just done tremendous this year.”
The United States and China will also play Wednesday night at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. Tuesday at 5 p.m. CT, the team will conduct a practice at Compass Stadium that will be open to the public free of charge.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET Wednesday, Fox Soccer
Alpine World Cup, women’s super G, super combined and giant slalom, Dec. 7-9, St. Moritz, Switzerland
Following a one-two American sweep of all three races last week in Lake Louise, Alberta, the U.S. women’s alpine national team heads to St. Moritz, Switzerland, this weekend for races in super-G, Super Combined and giant slalom. Lindsey Vonn, whose 56 career World Cup wins are the second-most in history, won the super G in Lake Louise, and also two downhill races.
Also contending in the super-G will be Julia Mancuso, who finished runner-up to Vonn last week.
TV: 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. ET Friday, Universal Sports; 9-10:30 a.m. Saturday, Universal Sports
Also in skiing:
Cross Country World Cup Sprints, men and women, Dec. 7-8, Quebec City, Canada
Webcast: 1:15 p.m. ET Saturday, usskiteam.com
Alpine World Cup, men’s slalom and giant slalom, Dec. 8-9, Val d’lsere, France
TV: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. ET Saturday, Universal Sports
Ski Jumping World Cup, men and women, Dec. 7-9, Sochi, Russia
Freestyle World Cup, men and women’s ski cross, Dec. 7-8, Nakiska, Canada
Webcast: 1 p.m. ET Saturday, universalsports.com
Snowboarding World Cup, men’s and women’s snowboard cross, Dec. 7-8, Montafon, Austria
World Cup, Dec. 7-9, Winterberg, Germany
Steven Holcomb, who has swept the two-man bobsled competition this season, will team with Curt Tomasevicz to chase after gold again Saturday in a World Cup race in Winterberg, Germany.
Holcomb will also pilot USA-1 in Sunday’s four-man bobsled race. Also aboard the sled will be Tomasevicz, Steve Langton and Justin Olsen. Nick Cunningham will pilot USA-2 with a crew of Adam Clark, Andreas Drbal and Chris Fogt. USA-3 consists of Cory Butner, Johnny Quinn, Jesse Beckom and Nic Taylor.
The Winterberg World Cup began Friday with the women’s and men’s skeleton races. Noelle Pikus-Pace, who won gold and silver last week an Intercontinental Cup event in Canada, earned bronze in only her second World Cup back from retirement. John Daly finished 11th in the men’s race while Kyle Tress was 13th and Matt Antoine 15th.
The women’s bobsled teams include world bronze medalists Elana Meyers and Katie Eberling. This will be their first time racing together this season.
Also in bobsled/skeleton:
Intercontinental Cup, Dec. 7-8, Park City, Utah
North American Cup, Dec. 6-9, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
European Cup, Dec. 5-9, La Plagne, France
Essent ISU Long Track World Cup, Dec. 7-9, Nagano, Japan
Shani Davis, a three-time Olympian who won gold last week in the men’s 1,500-meter race in Kazakhstan, and Heather Richardson are among the medal contenders for the US Speedskating Long Track National Team at a World Cup event in Nagano, Japan. Brian Hansen is coming off a bronze-medal finish in the 1,500 last month in Russia.
Richardson won three medals, including gold in the 1000 at the Heerenveen, Netherlands, World Cup.
World Cup, Dec. 8-9, Altenberg, Germany
Two-time Olympian Erin Hamlin, an 11th-place finisher last week in Koenigssee, Germany, and Chris Mazdzer, a 15th-place finisher, will look for faster runs Saturday and Sunday at the next World Cup in Altenberg, Germany.
Other U.S. lugers include 2010 Olympian Julia Clukey in women’s singles, Taylor Morris in men’s singles, and 2006 Olympian Preston Griffall and Matt Mortensen, and Jake Hyrns and Andrew Sherk in doubles.
World Sledge Hockey Challenge, Dec. 2-8, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team will look to add another world-class title to its impressive resume when it plays rival Canada on Saturday in the championship game of the World Sledge Hockey Challenge.
Team USA has won its last three major international tournaments, including the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games and 2012 IPC World Sledge Hockey Championships. Daniel McCoy scored twice in Team USA’s 4-1 win over Norway in Thursday’s semifinals played at the WinSport Canada Ice Complex in Calgary, Alberta. The United States has won three of four games in the tournament, losing only 2-1 to Canada on Wednesday. Now, the two teams will meet for the title. Canada shut out Japan, 10-0, in its semifinal Thursday.
“It’s always a fun game to play them,” McCoy said. “We just have to play like we did today. Play as a team, get our power play and penalty kill working well, and just go out there and play as hard as we can.”
IBU World Cup, Dec. 7-9, Hochfilzen, Austria
Tim Burke is in 20th place in the IBU World Cup standings and Lowell Bailey is 26th entering Friday’s start of the second World Cup of the season in Hochfilzen, Austria. Burke finished up the first World Cup event last week in Ostersund, Sweden, with a 15th-place finish in the men’s 12.5-kilometer pursuit. The event begins Friday with the men’s 10km sprint and the women’s 7.5km sprint.
Susan Dunklee is the highest American woman in the Cup standings, in 52nd place.
Also in biathlon:
North American Cup, Dec. 8-9, West Yellowstone, Mont.
IGF World Cup, Dec. 8, Glasgow, Scotland
Elizabeth Price, who won the women’s all-around title last week at the World Cup event in Stuttgart, Germany, will seek another podium finish in Saturday’s World Cup in Glasgow, Scotland. Price, an alternate for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team, also won the vault and uneven bars against seven other gymnasts.
Olympic bronze medalist Danell Leyva, who placed fifth in the men’s all-around last week, also will compete in Glasgow. He had the highest horizontal bar score last week with a mark of 15.766. The competition features eight gymnasts in each of the men’s and women’s divisions.
North American Cup, Dec. 7-10, Milwaukee, Wis.
Olympic bronze medalists Courtney Hurley, Kelley Hurley, Susie Scanlan and Maya Lawrence are among 12 London Olympians and more than 2,000 athletes overall competing at the North American Cup in Milwaukee. The tournament begins Friday and is a qualifying event for the 2013 Senior World Championships.
The tournament will mark the first competition since the London 2012 Olympic Games for men’s epee fencers Seth Kelsey and Soren Thompson. They won team gold at the 2012 World Championships.
Other Olympians include: Gerek Meinhardt, men’s foil; Race Imboden, men’s foil; Miles Chamley-Watson, men’s foil; Nzingha Prescod, women’s foil; Nicole Ross, women’s foil; Jeff Spear, men’s saber. Two-time world bronze medalists Daria Schneider and Ibtihaj Muhammad will compete Saturday in women’s saber.
The women’s epee, featuring Courtney and Kelley Hurley, Scanlan and Lawrence, will be held Sunday. Kelley Hurley won gold at the November North American Cup in Virginia Beach, Va.
Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens, HSBC World Series, Dec. 8-9, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
The USA Rugby Eagles National Team moves on to South Africa to play in the next round of the HSBC World Series at the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens. The Eagles defeated Spain 14-12 last week in Dubai, but lost its other three matches, including a 22-14 defeat to South Africa in the Dubai Bowl semifinals.
TV: 9 p.m. ET Sunday, Universal Sports; 11 p.m. Sunday, NBC Sports Network
USA Curling Mixed Doubles National Championship, Dec. 6-9, Bismarck, N.D.
Defending national champions Brady and Cristin Clark of Seattle won their first two matches Thursday in the USA Curling Mixed Doubles National Championship in Bismarck, N.D. They were the only ones to emerge 2-0 on the opening day, although seven other teams were 1-0. They defeated Darrick Kizlyk and Dena Rosenberry, 8-5, and defeated Brett Charpentier and Jennifer Westhagen, 7-4.
The tournament continues through Sunday at the Capital Curling Club in Bismarck. The tournament champions will qualify to represent the United States at the 2013 World Mixed Doubles Championship in April in Canada.
Saddle Seat World Cup, Dec. 5-8, Parys, South Africa
Two-time Saddle Seat World Cup rider Ali Judah and 2012 USEF Saddle Seat Medal Final champion Hunter Chancellor are among 10 U.S. riders competing in this week’s World Cup in Parys, South Africa. The competition is held every two years in three- and five-gaited disciplines.
The three-gaited U.S. team: Brooke Boyer, Emily Chapman, Brooke Jacobs, Alexandra Lawson, team captain Abigail Muturx. Five-gaited team: Angela Darrow, Drew Taylor, Chancellor, Judah, team captain Nick Maupin.
World Poomsae Championships, Dec. 6-9, Tunja, Colombia
Long Nguyen, who will compete in men’s freestyle, is among nearly 30 U.S. athletes who are in Tunja, Colombia, for the World Poomsae Championships. Competition began Thursday. The U.S. team also includes teenagers Stephany Kim and Ryan Tucker.
USA Badminton Team USA Trials, Dec. 7-9, Orange, Calif.
Competition in men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles will be held this weekend to determine the USA Badminton rosters for the Sudirman Cup and Pan American Championships team. The Team USA Trials begin Friday and are hosted by the Orange County Badminton Club in Orange, Calif.
USA Karate Team Trials, Dec. 7-9, Miami
The USA Karate Team Trials to determine roster spots for the 2012 World Maccabiah Games will be held Friday through Sunday in Miami, Fla. The World Maccabiah Games will be held in July 2013.
USA Swimming Speedo Winter Junior National Championships, Dec. 6-8, Knoxville, Tenn.
Two short-course junior national records were set Thursday on the first day of the USA Swimming Speedo Winter Junior National Championships at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn.
The Bolles School’s (Jacksonville, Fla.) 200-yard men’s freestyle relay team of Caeleb Dressel, Santo Condorelli, Emiro Goossen and Joseph Schooling won in a time of 1:19.03. The women’s 200 free relay time also fell, as Kathleen Baker, Nora McCullagh, Caitlin Casazza and Lauren Rhodes of SwimMAC Carolina won with a time of 1:32.60.
FINA Youth World Championships, Dec. 1-9, Perth, Australia
The U.S. women moved into the semifinal round of the FINA Youth World Championships in Perth, Australia, and the men moved into the second round of the quarterfinals with a 19-11 win over Brazil on Thursday.
The women meet Greece in the semifinals. The men will play unbeaten Croatia in the quarterfinals Friday. A win sends them to the semifinals.
The medal rounds for the women will be held Saturday, the men’s medal rounds a day later.
TRACK AND FIELD
USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships, Dec. 8, Albuquerque, N.M.
More than 2,300 of the nation’s best young runners will compete for a number of age-group national titles Saturday at the USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships. Top contenders include Maxwell Wilson, 2011 champion in the bantam boys division; Caroline Fischer, third-place finisher in 2011 in bantam girls; and Sydney Holden, sub-bantam girls, the 2012 Youth Athlete of the Year.
Leo Manzano, a 2012 Olympic silver medalist, will speak at the opening ceremonies and serve as a guest starter.
Also in track and field:
USATF National Club Cross Country Championships, Dec. 8, Lexington, Ky.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