Team USA Holiday Preview

By Paul D. Bowker | Dec. 21, 2012, 2 p.m. (ET)
J.R. Celski competingJ.R. Celski leads Ryosuke Sakazume of Japan in the men's 1000m of the ISU World Cup Short Track at Nihon Gaishi Arena on November 30, 2012 in Nagoya, Japan.

 

SPEEDSKATING

U.S. Short Track National Championships, Dec. 20-22, Kearns, Utah

Two-time Olympic medalist J.R. Celski won the men’s 9-lap time trial and 2010 Olympian Lana Gehring won the women’s 9-lap time trial Thursday as the U.S. Short Track National Championships began at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns, Utah.

The three-day competition will determine the rosters for the Winter World Cup and World Championship squads, in addition to crowning the men’s and women’s national champions. The same format will be used at the U.S. Long Track National Championships next week, also in Kearns.

“This weekend is a different vibe, for sure,” said Celski, whose time of 1:23.953 was followed by Chris Creveling as runner-up and Kyle Carr in third place. “It’s fun to test yourself against all your teammates that you practice with every day.”

“I’m happy with the way things worked out today,” Creveling said. “I think I can do a little better when racing comes around and that’s going to be fueling me for the whole weekend.”

For each race, athletes are awarded points based on their finish. The combined point total from the 9-lap, 4-lap and 1500m will be used to seed athletes in the 500m race.

Celski, who won two medals at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, became the first skater to break the 40-second mark in the 500 earlier this year. He won World Cup gold in Calgary with a blazing time of 39.937 seconds.

Gehring won the women’s 9-lap time trial and finished runner-up in the 4-lap time trial behind Alyson Dudek.

Coming up in speed skating:

U.S. Long Track National Championships, Dec. 27-31, Kearns, Utah

SKIING

FIS World Cup Alpine, women’s slalom and giant slalom, Dec. 28-29, Semmering, Austria

Mikaela Shiffrin will be among the U.S. skiers competing next week in an FIS World Cup women’s alpine event in Semmering, Austria. Shiffrin, 17, grabbed the World Cup points lead in slalom with a victory Thursday in Are, Sweden. She became the third youngest American to win a World Cup event.

“I was just trying to fly,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine what winning (a World Cup event) would feel like. I only knew the feeling of knowing you’ve skied your best.”

Lindsey Vonn, the four-time World Cup overall champion, will not ski in Semmering because she is still not fully recovered from a stomach ailment. She returned to the United States this week.

TV: 1 p.m. ET Dec. 29, Universal Sports

Webcast: 4:30 a.m. ET Dec. 28, universalsports.com

FIS Super Continental Cup, Freestyle Aerials, Dec. 21-22, Park City, Utah

Emily Cook, a two-time Olympian, and Ashley Caldwell, a 2010 Olympian returning from a knee injury, will be among the U.S. freestyle skiers competing Friday and Saturday at the FIS Super Continental Cup in Park City, Utah. It is the first major event of the season for the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team. Caldwell has been out of action since injuring her knee last year.

“I’m really looking forward to our first event of the season,” Cook said. “The UOP (Utah Olympic Park) has done such a great job of helping us prepare for the season with a great early winter site, and we are looking forward to hosting a large international field with teams from Canada, Great Britain and Russia. Our team has been jumping great, from the developmental level to the World Cup team, and this early season event will be a great opportunity for us to test and fine-tune our skills before heading to China for the first World Cup of the season.”

Also in skiing:

FIS World Cup Ski Cross, Dec. 22-23, Innichen/San Candido, Italy

FIS World Cup Alpine, men’s downhill, Dec. 27-29, Bormio, Italy

TV: 10:30 a.m. ET Dec. 29, Universal Sports

FIS World Cup Ski Jumping, men, Dec. 29-30, Oberstdorf, Germany

FIS World Cup Ski Jumping, men, Dec. 31-Jan. 1, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

FIS World Cup Cross Country, Dec. 29-30, Oberhof, Germany

FIS World Cup Snowboarding, men’s and women’s parallel GS, Dec. 21, Carezza, Italy

ICE HOCKEY

IIHF World Junior Championship, Dec. 26-Jan. 5, Ufa, Russia

The U.S. National Junior Team will face Germany Dec. 27 in its opening game of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia. The United States will play Russia again Dec. 28, Canada (Dec. 30) and Slovakia (Dec. 31). The tournament quarterfinals will be held Jan. 2, leading up to the medal round Jan. 5.

Team USA defeated Sweden, 3-2, Thursday in an exhibition game played in Finland and will face Finland in an exhibition game Saturday. Shayne Gostisbehere of Union College scored the game-winning goal in overtime. The final U.S. roster will be announced Saturday. The team is coached by Phil Housley, a 2002 Olympic silver medalist and a U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer.

“The guys played hard, were competitive and played with tempo,” Housley said after the win against Sweden. “Also, we wanted to see the guys we have to make decisions on and I believe we were able to do that.”

TV: Live broadcasts and replays, nights of U.S. games, NHL Network

World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, Dec. 28-Jan. 4, Quebec, Canada

Eighteen of the 22 players selected for the U.S. team that will play in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge are from USA Hockey’s National Training Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich. The squad begins play in the tournament Dec. 29 against Canada’s Team Ontario. The tournament will be played in Drummondville and Victoriaville, Quebec.

Among those on the team are Sonny Milano, who has scored a team-high nine goals this season with the NTDP Under-17 squad, and Jack Eichel, who has eight goals and 11 assists.

Also in hockey:

IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship, Dec. 29-Jan. 5, Heinola and Vierumaki, Finland: The United States begins play Dec. 29 against Russia in Vierumaki.

CYCLING

UCI World Cup, cyclo-cross, Dec. 23, Namur, Belgium

Ahead in the World Cup standings by 50 points after just four races, Katie Compton will chase after her fourth UCI World Cup Cyclo-cross win of the season Sunday in Namur, Belgium. There will be two Cyclo-cross World Cup races in the next week.

Compton defeated Sanne Van Paassen of Netherlands by eight seconds in the most recent World Cup race held Dec. 2 in Roubaix, France. Amy Dombroski finished 11th in that race. Among the elite U.S. men are Jeremy Powers and Jonathan Page.

Also in cycling:

UCI World Cup, cyclo-cross, Dec. 26, Heusden-Zolder, Belgium

TABLE TENNIS

US National Table Tennis Championships, Dec. 18-22, Las Vegas

London 2012 Olympians Ariel Hsing, Erica Wu and Lily Zhang each will play in the round of 16 Friday at the US National Table Tennis Championships in Las Vegas. Victories would send them on to the quarterfinals in women’s singles. The semifinals and finals are scheduled for Saturday at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The tournament drew nearly 800 entrants in all age groups for play in singles and doubles. Jun Gao, a four-time Olympian, will play in the semifinals of the women’s doubles Friday alongside playing partner Wu. Timothy Wang, also a 2012 Olympian, will play in the round of 32 in men’s singles Friday. He is seeded No. 2 in the tournament; Mark Hazinski is the top men’s seed.

BIATHLON

WJCH Trials, Dec. 28-30, Mt. Itasca, Minn.

Trials for the U.S. Biathlon junior/youth world teams will be held in Mt. Itasca, Minn., beginning Dec. 28. Competition will be held in sprint (10 kilometers) and pursuit (10 kilometers).

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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