Team USA Weekend Preview: Dec. 14, 2012

By Paul D. Bowker | Dec. 14, 2012, 1:30 p.m. (ET)
Ryan Lochte in TurkeyRyan Lochte of USA competes in the men's 200m individual medley of the 11th FINA Short Course World Championships at the Sinan Erdem Dome in Istanbul, Turkey.

While Ryan Lochte and other Olympic swimmers go for gold in Turkey at the 11th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), known commonly as the short course world championships, top winter athletes in skiing, bobsled, skeleton, luge and biathlon will be competing in World Cups around the world. Check out the Team USA Weekend Preview for all the details.


11th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), Dec. 12-16, Istanbul, Turkey

Ryan Lochte, a five-time medalist at the London 2012 Olympic Games, has nearly equaled that medal total in just two days of the at the short course world championships in Istanbul, Turkey.

Lochte won gold in the men’s 800-meter freestyle relay Thursday, posting a split of 1:41.17 in his opening leg. It was the fastest split of any swimmer in the event. The gold was his third victory at the worlds. He won gold in the men’s 200 free and 400 free relay Wednesday. He added a fourth medal, a bronze, in the 100 fly Thursday.

Also off to a golden start was Olympian Matt Grevers, who held off Russia‘s Stanislav Donets for gold in the 100 backstroke. Grevers also won gold Wednesday on the same relay team as Lochte. Allison Schmitt, who brought home five Olympic medals from London, anchored the women’s gold medal-winning performance in the 800 free relay.

In all, 43 American swimmers are competing, including 17 Olympians. Among the missing notables: Missy Franklin, who did compete in the first Grand Prix event of the 2012-13 season and is also competing with her high school team.

The meet continues through Sunday. Featured races include the men’s 50 and 400 freestyle Friday, men’s 50 fly and 50 backstroke, and women’s 100 breaststroke Saturday, and men’s 100 free, and women’s 50 and 200 free Sunday.

The United States totaled seven medals Thursday. Among them, Olivia Smoliga won her first world championship in the women’s 100 backstroke, Thomas Shields won silver in the men’s 100 fly, Kevin Cordes won bronze in the men’s 100 breaststroke and Chloe Sutton took the bronze in the women’s 800 free.

TV: 8 p.m.-9 p.m. ET Friday, Universal Sports; 2 p.m.-3 p.m. and 8 p.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, Universal Sports; 2 p.m.-3 p.m. and 8-9 p.m. Sunday, Universal Sports


FIS Freestyle World Cup, dual moguls, Dec. 15, Ruka, Finland

Eliza Outtrim, a medalist in Ruka, Finland last year, will be among the U.S. skiers competing in the opening FIS Freestyle World Cup event of the season Saturday. Heather McPhie and Pat Deneen will also compete. Hannah Kearney, a gold medalist in moguls at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, is out because of injuries from her training crash in October.

Webcast: 8 a.m. ET Saturday,

FIS Cross Country World Cup, Dec. 13-16, Canmore, Canada

Olympian Kikkan Randall finished sixth in the 10-kilometer mass start, her career-best finish in a classic distance race, Thursday at the FIS Cross Country World Cup event in Canmore, Alberta, Canada. Randall is in third place in the overall World Cup standings. The event continues through Sunday.

ISF Nordic Combined Continental Cup, Dec. 14-16, Park City, Utah

Todd Lodwick, a five-time Olympian and 2009 world champion, is among the U.S. skiers competing Friday through Sunday at an ISF Nordic Combined Continental Cup event in Park City, Utah. Other U.S. skiers include Nick Hendrickson, Adam Loomis, Michael Ward and Brett Denney.

Also in skiing:

FIS World Cup Alpine, men’s downhill and super-G, Dec. 12-15, Val Gardena-Groeden, Italy

TV: 9 p.m.-10:30 p.m. ET Friday and 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Universal Sports

FIS World Cup Alpine, women’s downhill and super-G, Dec. 12-15, Val d’lsere, France

TV: 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. ET Friday and 9 p.m.-10:30 a.m. Saturday, Universal Sports

FIS World Cup, ski jumping, women, Dec. 13-14, Ramsau, Austria

FIS World Cup, ski jumping, men, Dec. 14-16, Engelberg, Switzerland

FIS World Cup Nordic Combined, Dec. 15-16, Ramsau, Austria


USANA Ski and Snowboardcross Cup, Dec. 12-15, Telluride, Colo.

Olympic gold medalist Seth Wescott and seven-time X Games champion Nate Holland, a two-time Olympian, will be among the big names competing Friday and Saturday in the U.S. Snowboardcross Cup at the Telluride Resort in Colorado. Individual snowboard competition will be held Friday, followed by team competition Saturday.

Snowboardcross features four to six athletes going down the course at the same time. The course features jumps, bumps, banks and berms.

TV: 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. ET Friday, Universal Sports; 3 p.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, NBC Sports Network


U.S. Women’s National Team vs. China, Dec. 15, Boca Raton, Fla.

The U.S. Women’s National Team will finish its coast-to-coast, 10-game Fan Tribute Tour on Saturday night in Boca Raton, Fla. The 2012 Olympic champions play China in FAU Stadium.

“This kind of reception that we’ve had since London, and even since World Cup 2011, it doesn’t get old,” forward Abby Wambach said. “This is one of those things that we’ve been working so hard for when nobody was watching and when the few fans were coming out and supporting us. This is what we were doing it for. Now people are noticing what this team can do and I think it’s pretty special.”

The United States has gone unbeaten on the Tribute Tour, including a 4-0 win against China Wednesday in Houston. Wambach, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, scored her 149th and 150th career international goals in that victory. All of the games have been U.S. victories, except for a pair of ties with Germany.

TV: 7 p.m. ET Saturday, NBC Sports Network

Also in soccer:

U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team training camp, Dec. 15-22, Sunrise, Fla.


World Cup, Dec. 14-16, La Plagne, France

U.S. bobsledders Steven Holcomb and Elana Meyers are both ranked among the top three in the World Cup standings, and they will look to solidify, if not improve, their positions this weekend in La Plagne, France.

Meyers, who is ranked third in the overall standings, will team up with Katie Eberling in the KOA sled on Friday afternoon in their pursuit of a podium finish. They won silver last week in Winterberg, Germany. Jazmine Fenlator will ride with track Olympian Lolo Jones in the second U.S. sled, and Jamie Greubel will team up with Emily Azevedo in the Sliding for Hope sled.

Holcomb has been dominating early this season. He is the World Cup points leader in the two-man bobsled and No. 2 in the four-man standings. Holcomb will ride with Steve Langton in the two-man competition Saturday, and will pilot the USA-1 Night Crew four-man sled Sunday. His four-man crew consists of Justin Olsen, Langton and Curt Tomasevicz. A fifth-place finish in the two-man competition with Tomasevicz last week marked the first time this season Holcomb didn’t win gold.

Also competing in the two-man bobsled for the United States will be the team of Nick Cunningham and Andreas Drbal. Four-man sleds will be piloted by Cunningham and Cory Butner.

Katie Uhlaender and Kimber Gabryszak will be among those in the women’s skeleton Saturday. Matt Antoine, John Daly and Kyle Tress were to compete in the men’s skeleton Friday.

Also in bobsled/skeleton:

European Cup, Dec. 10-16, Igls, Austria


World Cup, Dec. 15-16, Sigulda, Latvia

The final World Cup event before the holiday break will provide U.S. lugers with a demanding course in Sigulda, Latvia, one that is similar to the demands of the U.S. home course in Lake Placid, N.Y.

“The track here in Latvia is quite nice actually,” said Chris Mazdzer, a 2010 Olympian who finished 15th last week in Altenberg, Germany. “The transitions are a bit rough, but that will probably benefit the people who are used to Lake Placid.”

Among those could be two-time Olympian Erin Hamlin, who finished seventh last week, and 2010 Olympian Julia Clukey, whose sixth-place finish in Igls, Austria, was the best of all USA Luge athletes this season.

“The track is in great shape, actually, which is a big relief,” said Hamlin, who is seventh in the World Cup standings. “Every time we come here it is a roll of the dice because when it is built a little bit rough and the ice is a little bumpy, it seems to be a pretty big pain for me. This week, so far so good.”

Mazdzer and Hamlin are both A-seeded and already qualified into the weekend racing. Clukey, Emily Sweeney, Kate Hansen and Taylor Morris will attempt to qualify in Friday’s Nations Cup sessions. Matt Mortensen and Preston Griffall are entered in doubles. Jake Hyrns and Andrew Sherk will attempt to qualify another doubles sled Friday.

Also in luge:

Junior World Cup, Dec. 14-15, Konigssee, Germany


IBU World Cup, Dec. 13-16, Pokljuka, Slovenia

Tim Burke placed fourth Thursday in the men’s 10k sprint opener at the IBU World Cup in Pokljuka, Slovenia. The strong finish with a time of 24:56.9 boosted Burke from 19th place in the World Cup overall standings to No. 13.

“I am really happy with today’s result,” Burke said. “Of course it would have been nice to find a few more seconds to get onto the (medals) podium, but I really did everything I could out there today so I am very happy with that. I felt very solid on the shooting range today. I was able to execute the techniques that I have been working on in practice.”

Skiing with a broken toe, Lowell Bailey still managed to finish 36th. Burke and Bailey will race in Saturday’s men’s 12.5k pursuit. Friday’s competition includes the women’s 7.5k sprint. Susan Dunklee and Sara Studebaker will compete. The mass start for both men and women will be Sunday.

Also in biathlon:

IBU Cup Trials, Dec. 15-17, Mt. Itasca, Minn.


Junior World Cup, women’s and men’s foil, Dec. 15-16, Leszno, Italy

U.S. junior foil fencers head to Leszno, Italy, this weekend for a Junior World Cup event. The women’s competition will be held Saturday, followed by the men’s tournament Sunday. Margaret Lu is coming off strong performances. She won gold in November at the Bratislava Junior World Cup, and won silver at last week’s North American Cup in Milwaukee, losing only to Olympian Nzingha Prescod in the final.

Also in fencing:

Junior World Cup, women’s epee, Dec. 15, Laupheim, Germany

Regional Youth Circuit, Barbara Lynch Charity Youth Tournament, Dec. 15-16, Maplewood, N.J.


Volkswagen World Junior Table Tennis Championships, Dec. 9-16, Hyderabad, India

Ten-year-old Crystal Wang, the youngest player in the tournament, is among the U.S. athletes competing in the Volkswagen World Junior Table Tennis Championships. The U.S. girls defeated Croatia to earn a seventh-place finish in the team competition. 2012 Olympian Lily Zhang, 16, defeated Ida Jazbec and Ivana Tubikanec to help close out the Croatia match.

Zhang will face Israel’s Nicole Trosman in the women’s singles round of 64 Friday, and will also team up with Prachi Jha in the doubles to face the Czech Republic’s Karin Adamkova and Kristyna Stefcova. Jha will face Theresa Kraft of Germany in singles.


Marathon Epee, Dec. 15-16, Colorado Springs

Athletes from the U.S. National Modern Pentathlon Team and the USA Fencing Epée Olympic Training Center Resident Team will be among those competing in the two-day Marathon Epee this weekend. National teams from Ukraine and Brazil are also entered. The tournament will be held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor for 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.