Olympic Weekend Preview

By Paul D. Bowker | May 25, 2012, 2:27 p.m. (ET)

Julie Nichols

With 63 days remaining until the Opening Ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic Games, there is plenty of action for American athletes all over the world. Some of the biggest names in U.S. gymnastics, including 2008 Olympic all-around gold medalist Nastia Liukin, will be competing at the Secret U.S. Classic while U.S. athletes will be seeking Olympic Team berths in rowing and canoe/kayak. Check out the Olympic Weekend Preview for all the details about these events and others in the world of Olympic sports.


Samsung World Cup II, May 25-27, Lucerne, Switzerland

Ken Jurkowski, Julie Nichols and Kristin Hedstrom will be aiming to clinch a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team this weekend when they compete in the second of three Samsung World Cups in Lucerne, Switzerland. Jurkowski, in men’s single sculls, and Nichols and Hedstrom, in lightweight women’s doubles, can qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games with top four finishes in their respective events.

Eleanor Logan and Erin Cafaro, both 2008 Olympians who have qualified for London (pending nomination by the U.S. Olympic Committee), will compete in women’s pair. They have until May 30 to accept their Olympic nominations in the pair. Also among the six U.S. boats entered in the World Cup are two women’s quad crews, and the defending Olympic and world champion women’s eight. Racing in the eight boat are coxswain Mary Whipple, and crew members Caryn Davies, Caroline Lind, Taylor Ritzel, Meghan Musnicki, Amanda Polk, Jamie Redman, Susan Francia and Esther Lofgren.

Also in rowing:

NCAA Rowing Championships, May 25-27, West Windsor, N.J.


Secret U.S. Classic, May 26, Chicago

Nastia Liukin, the 2008 Olympic all-around champion, and world championship all-around champion Jordyn Wieber headline a strong field for the Secret U.S. Classic on Saturday. The competition will be held at the University of Chicago Pavilion and is the final qualifying event for women before the 2012 Visa Championships are held June 7-10 in St. Louis.

The star-studded field includes nine current and former world champions.

“This year’s competition promises to be a great event,” said Steve Penny, USA Gymnastics President. “Many of the country’s top gymnasts will use the event as a final tune-up for the Visa Championships, while other gymnasts are hoping to qualify for it.”

Liukin, who won five medals at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and is a two-time world balance beam champion, is scheduled to compete for the first time since the 2009 Visa Championships. Also expected to compete are two of Liukin’s 2008 Olympic teammates, Chellsie Memmel and Bridget Sloan.

“I don’t have any advantages by being the Olympic all-around champion going into these Games,” Liukin told the Associated Press. “No one’s going to give you higher scores, no one’s going to be nicer or play fairer. I don’t feel like I owe anybody anything. I’m doing this because I love to do it and I want to see if I can do this.”

TV: 6 p.m.-8 p.m. ET Saturday, Universal Sports


ICF Sprint World Cup, May 25-27, Duisburg, Germany

For the second consecutive weekend, men’s sprint kayakers (K-1, 200 meters) Ryan Dolan and Tim Hornsby will battle each other for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team. Neither paddler made the A or B Finals at last week’s World Cup event in Poland, delaying the Olympic-clinching berth until this week.

Whichever athlete has the best finish in the A or B Final will win the Olympic spot. If one athlete makes the A Final and the other the B Final, then the one in the A Final will get the berth regardless of time. If neither Dolan nor Hornsby make the A or B Final again this week, then a head-to-head race-off would occur if both make the C Final.

Others competing this weekend in Germany include Maggie Hogan and Kaitlyn McElroy, women’s K-2 500 meters; Carrie Johnson, women’s K-1 200 and 500 meters; Robert Finlayson, men’s C-1; and Ian Ross and Ben Hefner, men’s C-2.


U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Scotland, May 26, Jacksonville, Fla.

The beginning of a busy 18-day stretch will arrive Saturday for the U.S. Men’s National Team, when it faces Scotland in a friendly at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla. The United States will also play two other friendlies in Landover, Md., and Toronto before playing its first World Cup qualifier on June 8 in Tampa, Fla.

The United States has won all three of its games this year with 1-0 scores over Venezuela, Panama and Italy. Among the notable returnees to the U.S. lineup will be Landon Donovan, who is back with the national team for the first time since September. His next start would be his 125th career start, the most in U.S. history.

The U.S. men have defeated Scotland just once in six previous meetings. The win came in 1996 in New Britain, Conn. A victory Saturday would mark the best U.S. start in a year since 1998.

Following Saturday’s game, the United States will face Brazil on Wednesday at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. FIFA World Cup qualifying begins June 8 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, when the United States faces Antigua & Barbuda.

TV: 8 p.m. ET Saturday, NBC Sports Network, Galavision; 8 p.m. Wednesday, ESPN2

Also in soccer:

U.S. Women’s National Team vs. China, May 27, Chester, Pa.


FIVB Swatch World Tour, Patria Direct Prague Open, May 22-27, Prague, Czech Republic

The top-ranked U.S. men’s beach volleyball team of Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers was unbeaten through the first and second rounds of the FIVB Swatch World Tour Prague, and was to face No. 9 Premysl Kubala and Petr Benes of the Czech Republic on Friday. Dalhausser and Rogers are projected as the top team for the U.S. Olympic men’s beach volleyball squad. No. 7-seeded Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal of the United States also were undefeated through play Thursday and were to face No. 2 Reinder Nummerdor and Richard Schuil of the Netherlands on Friday.

“I love playing here,” Gibb said. “We won gold here in 2008 and since I have only two career titles, this is very special to me.”

Florida Open, May 25-27, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Two-time Olympian John Hyden will team with Sean Scott to begin play Friday in the opening event of the 2012 Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series. The Florida Open will be held next to the Sheraton Hotel Fort Lauderdale. Hyden and Scott, and the women’s team of Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Hanson are the top seeds for the tournament. Other top players include 2008 Olympian Nicole Branagh, who is teaming up Tyra Turner, and former University of Nebraska star Jenny Kropp, who will play with Whitney Pavlik.

Also in volleyball:

U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team Red-Blue scrimmage, May 26, UC Irvine, Calif.


Women’s World Cup, May 26-27, Tokyo

Two-time Olympian Clarissa Chun and fellow 2012 Olympic qualifiers (pending nomination by the U.S. Olympic Committee) Kelsey Campbell and Elena Pirozhkova are among eight wrestlers who will compete for the United States at the Women’s World Cup on Saturday and Sunday in Tokyo. The dual-meet tournament consists of the top eight nations in women’s freestyle wrestling from the 2011 World Championships. The United States finished runner-up in the World Cup the last two years.

Chun will wrestle at 48 kilograms, Campbell at 55 kg and Pirozhkova at 63 kg. The tournament has seven weight classes, including the three Olympic classes.

“This is a very important competition,” U.S. coach Terry Steiner said. “The World Cup is a team competition. We have to do this as a program and as a team. That has been our message to the athletes.”

Also in wrestling:

Hari Ram Grand Prix, May 25-27, New Delhi

FILA Junior World Team Trials, May 25-26, Colorado Springs


World Cup Final, May 26-27, Chengdu, China

Competition begins Saturday in the World Cup Final in Chengdu, China. The event is the final time that pentathletes can earn world-ranking points prior to the London 2012 Olympic Games. Mickey Kelly, who placed 30th at the UPIM World Championships, is the only U.S. athlete who qualified for the World Cup Final.


USA Basketball Women’s U18 and U17 training camps, May 28-June 2, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Both the USA Basketball Women’s U18 and U17 national teams will begin week-long camps Monday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The U18 squad is beginning its preparation for the FIBA Americas U18 Championships, which are scheduled for Aug. 15-19 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The U17 squad is preparing for the FIBA U17 World Championships, which begin Aug. 17 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Breanna Stewart, a five-time national team member, was one of three University of Connecticut signees named to the 12-person U18 team. Stewart was just the second high school player in U.S. history to play on a Pan American Games team in 2011.


USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial National Championships, May 26-28, Greenville, S.C.

Two-time USA Cycling Time Trial champion Chris Baldwin will be among the elite cyclists in a deep field challenging 2011 champion Dave Zabriskie on Saturday in the USA Cycling Time Trial National Championship in Greenville, S.C. Tejay van Garderen, who won the Best Young Rider jersey at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge Amgen Tour of California, is also a contender. The time trial consists of three laps over a 6.9-mile course.

On Monday, more than 100 of the nation’s best cyclists will compete in the 112.4-mile road race. Defending champion Matthew Busche is a favorite, while 2011 Amgen Tour of California winner Chris Horner and 2011 Tour de France Stage Three winner Tyler Farrar, among others, are also expected to contend. Past winners include Tour de France multiple winner Lance Armstrong and Olympic speed skating champion Eric Heiden.

“This is going to be one of the most exciting weekends of professional road racing in America this year,” said USA Cycling President and CEO Steve Johnson. “The fields are incredibly deep in both the road race and time trial, and there are any of a dozen or more riders that could win either event.”

Six-time U.S. handcycling champion Matt Updike will among the elite competitors in the Roger C. Peace Hospital - Rehabilitation U.S. Handcycling Series race. Many of the athletes are U.S. military veterans who were wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Also in cycling:

Giro d’Italia, May 5-27, Italy

TV: 4 and 9 p.m. ET Friday, Universal Sports; 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, Universal Sports

Exergy Tour, international women pro cycling, May 24-28, Boise, Idaho

Tour of Somerville, USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar, May 28, Somerville, N.J.


Senior Pan American Championships, May 28-June 3, Managua, Nicaragua

Competition begins Monday in the Senior Pan American Championships in Nicaragua. In all, 27 U.S. athletes will compete. The U.S. team was determined last July at the U.S. Team Trials. Among those on the U.S. team: William Vassar, men’s kata; Sakura Kokumai, women’s kata; Tom Scott, men’s kumite open weight; Cheryl Murphy, women’s kumite open weight.


USA Paratriathlon National Championship, May 28, Austin, Texas

Geoffrey Kennedy and Melissa Stockwell are among 11 defending national champions who’ll race Monday in the USA Paratriathlon National Championship. The event is a part of the Capital of Texas Triathlon in Austin, Texas.

The top finisher in each division will earn a spot on the 2012 USA Paratriathlon National Team. Finishers among the top three qualify for the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships. The race consists of a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike race and 5-km run in six paratriathlon categories. Paratriathlon will be part of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.


USA Men’s National Team exhibitions, May 26-28, Newport Beach, Calif.

The USA Men’s National Team will play Crotia on Saturday, beginning a series of three exhibition matches to be played over three days at Newport Harbor High School in California. Saturday’s match will begin at 6 p.m., Pacific Time. Team USA will play Hungary at noon Sunday in a rematch of the gold-medal game at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Croatia will face Hungary on Monday. Team USA also will play Hungary on Thursday at UCLA.

TV: 3 p.m. ET Sunday, NBC Sports Network

Also in water polo:

USA Women’s National Team vs. China, FINA World League Super Final, May 29, Changshu, China


Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Western Selection Trials, May 24-27, Flintridge, Calif.

Seven horse-rider combinations will compete this weekend in the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Western Selection Trials, an event that is part of the process for the USEF Young Horse Dressage Short List. The competition is the first step toward a spot on the U.S. team for the FEI World Breeding Championships for Young Horses in Dressage. Six horses will compete in the five-year-old division. The event is a part of the Dressage at Flintridge CDI*Y/J.

Also in equestrian:

Devon Horse Show, May 29-June 2, Devon, Pa.

FEI Nations Cup Eventing, May 24-27, Houghton Hall, Great Britain


Thomas and Uber Cup Finals, May 20-27, Wuhan, Hubei, China

China, Japan and Korea swept into the semifinals of both the Thomas Cup and the Uber Cup in China. The U.S. men’s and women’s squads did not reach the quarterfinal rounds in either tournament. Olympians Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan were among the U.S. men in the Thomas Cup Finals for men. The Uber Cup is for women athletes. Both tournaments finish up with the finals Sunday.


IJF Grand Slam, May 26-27, Moscow

Competition in the IJF Moscow Grand Slam will be held Saturday and Sunday. U.S. athletes brought home gold, silver and bronze medals from the World Cup event last week in San Salvador. Hannah Martin won gold at 63 kilograms.


U.S. Men’s National Indoor Junior and Senior try-out camp, May 29, Moorpark, Calif.

The second, and final, try-out camp for the U.S. Men’s National Indoor Junior and Senior teams will be held Tuesday at Arroyo Vista in Moorpark, Calif. The camp will be used to determine roster spots for the Pan American Indoor Cup and also the Junior Pan American Indoor Cup.

Also in field hockey:

California Cup, May 26-28, Moorpark, Calif.


USA Taekwondo Eastern Regional Qualifier, May 26-27, Hampton, Va.

Nearly 300 athletes will compete in poomsae and sparring disciplines Saturday and Sunday at the USA Taekwondo Eastern Regional Qualifier. The competition will be held at the Boo Williams Sportsplex.


Ektelon National Singles, May 23-27, Fullerton, Calif.

In addition to national singles titles being decided at the Ektelon National Singles tournament at the Merdian Sports Club in Fullerton, Calif., roster spots on the U.S. National Team will be determined by play in men’s and women’s National Team Qualifier divisions. The play continues through Sunday. The tournament is the largest of the year in USA Racquetball.


53rd Masters Water Ski Tournament, May 26-27, Pine Mountain, Ga.

Defending champions Freddy Krueger (men’s jumping), Jimmy Siemers (men’s tricks) and Jon Travers (men’s slalom) are among those who’ll compete in the 53rd Masters Water Ski Tournament, beginning Saturday at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga. The tournament is a designated Operation Gold event by the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Water Ski. Among the top women’s skiers are April Coble-Eller, Regina Jaquess and Karen Truelove in slalom, and Alex Lauretano in tricks and jumping.

The 20th Junior Masters Water Ski Tournament will be held Friday.

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.