Team USA Thanksgiving Weekend Preview: Nov. 21, 2012
The Thanksgiving holiday weekend will not be spent eating turkey for all U.S. athletes; many will be busy competing, some of whom won’t even be in the United States. Some of the world’s best alpine skiers will be in Colorado for World Cup action, while the top in bobsled, skeleton, luge, skiing, figure skating and speedskating will be competing in World Cups outside of the country. All of the details are in this special Thanksgiving edition of the Team USA Weekend Preview.
LUGEWorld Cup, Nov. 24-25, Igls, Austria
Erin Hamlin, the 2009 world champion in women’s luge, celebrated her 26th birthday Monday. She is hoping the birthday party will continue into the weekend with a podium finish at the first World Cup event of the 2012-13 season in Igls, Austria.
“For the women, Igls is the closest racing,” said Hamlin, a six-time World Cup bronze medalist including in 2010 in Igls. “Fast times here are 39 seconds. This is definitely the shortest track we have and definitely the easiest. You don’t have high speeds. There are only three curves that have quick combinations. There’s really nothing too crazy.”
Joining Hamlin in the rush for American medals are Julia Clukey, who returned from knee surgery to win the 2012 Norton National title; and also Emily Sweeney and Kate Hansen.
Chris Mazdzer, who placed 13th at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, leads a men’s squad that also includes Tucker West, Aidan Kelly and Taylor Morris. Preston Griffall, a 2006 Olympian, will team with Matt Mortensen in men’s doubles, and Jake Hyrns and Andrew Sherk will also compete in doubles.
FIBT World Cup, Nov. 23-24, Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
The Winter Games will meet summer Games Friday at the bobsledding course in Whistler, B.C., which was the site of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
The women’s bobsled competition in the World Cup this week will feature 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Elana Meyers teaming with two-time Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones. Meyers will be piloting the sled in Whistler for the first time.
Katie Uhlaender, who won gold last week in Park City, Utah, will seek a repeat performance Friday in women’s skeleton. Joining the women’s skeleton squad this week is Noelle Pikus-Pace, an Olympian and 2007 world champion who is returning to the World Cup circuit after beginning the season in the North American Cup.
The USA-1 four-man bobsled piloted by 2010 Olympian Steven Holcomb will seek its third consecutive medal finish. Holcomb and the BMW Night Train crew of Steve Langton, Justin Olsen and Curt Tomasevicz have two consecutive World Cup silvers. Holcomb will ride with Langton in the two-man bobsled. Nick Cunningham and Chris Fogt will be in the National Guard two-man sled, and Cory Butner and Johnny Quinn will be in the Autism Speaks two-man bobsled. Cunningham will pilot the USA-2 four-man sled and Butner will be in the USA-3 sled.
John Daly, Matt Antoine and Kyle Tress will compete in the men’s skeleton Saturday.
TV: 11 p.m. ET Friday, Universal Sports
Also in bobsled/skeleton:
European Cup, Nov. 21-24, Winterberg, Germany
Alpine, World Cup, women’s slalom and giant slalom, Nov. 24-25, Aspen, Colo.
Olympic gold medalist Julia Mancuso, World Cup slalom medalist Mikaela Shiffrin and possibly Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn will lead the U.S. women Saturday and Sunday at the Nature Valley Aspen Winternational in Aspen, Colo. Competition will be held in women’s slalom and giant slalom.
Shiffrin, just 17 years old, was the first medalist this season for the U.S. women’s team when she earned the bronze medal in the slalom in Levi, Finland. She will start in both the slalom and giant slalom, as will Mancuso and Julia Ford.
The big question is whether Vonn, winner of four overall titles in 2011-12, will participate. She is returning from a stomach illness and resumed her gate training just last Sunday in Vail, Colo. She had been out sick for a week.
“Her skiing was right there,” coach Roland Pfeifer said of Vonn’s gate training. “Obviously she has a lack of energy, but now it’s a matter of how fast she’s able to recharge her battery.”
TV: 1 p.m.-2 p.m. ET Sunday, NBC
Cross Country, World Cup, Nov. 24-25, Gaellivare, Sweden
Kikkan Randall, the defending FIS World Cup champion in sprint cross country, will begin the new season Saturday at a World Cup event in Gaellivare, Sweden. Others on the 13-member U.S. team include Jessie Diggins, Simi Hamilton, Liz Stephen, Kris Freeman and Andy Newell.
Ski Jumping, World Cup, Nov. 23-25, Lillehammer, Norway
Sarah Hendrickson, a nine-time World Cup winner last year, leads the U.S. Ski Jumping Team into its 2012-13 season debut this week in Lillehammer, Norway. Also likely to contend for medals are 2009 world champion Lindsey Van and Jessica Jerome. The new season begins just 15 months short of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, the first that will include women’s ski jumping.
Also in skiing:
Alpine, World Cup, men’s downhill and Super G, Nov. 21-25, Lake Louise, Canada
TV: 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday, Universal Sports
Nordic Combined, World Cup, Nov. 24-25, Lillehammer, Norway
NHK Trophy, Nov. 23-25, Miyagi, Japan
Ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White, silver medalists at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, will seek their second gold of the ISU Grand Prix season at this weekend’s NHK Trophy event in Miyagi, Japan. They won gold at the Grand Prix’s first event, Hilton HHonors Skate America in October and are seeking a spot in the ISU’s Grand Prix Final, which will be held Dec. 6-9 in Sochi, Russia.
The NHK Trophy is the final event of the Grand Prix prior to the series final.
Other U.S. skaters at the event include Agnes Zawadzki, a bronze medalist at the Rostelecom Cup; Adam Rippon, a fourth-place finisher in the men’s completion at the Cup of China; Richard Dornbush, a sixth-place finisher at the Rostelecom Cup, and Ross Miner. Maia and Alex Shibutani will join Davis and White in the ice dance competition. The United States will have three pairs competing: Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir; Lindsay Davis and Mark Ladwig; and Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim.
Alissa Czisny was scheduled to skate in the NHK Trophy, but the two-time U.S. women’s champion withdrew due to a hip injury. She will be replaced by Mirai Nagasu. Because she earned a silver medal at the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Czisny already qualified for the 2013 nationals.
TV: 4 p.m. ET Saturday, Universal Sports; 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, NBC
Webcast: 1 a.m. ET Friday, universalsports.com
ISU Long Track World Cup, Nov. 24-25, Kolomna, Russia
The second Essent ISU Long Track World Cup event of the season will feature race distances of 1,500, 3,000 and 5,000 meters in Kolomna, Russia. There will also be mass start events.
Jilleanne Rookard, a 2010 Olympian, placed seventh in the women’s 1,500 at last week’s event in Heerenveen, Netherlands, to top U.S. skaters at the longer distances. Patrick Meek, who placed 14th in the men’s 5,000, is among the leading U.S. men’s skaters.
UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup, Nov. 24, Koksijde, Belgium
Katie Compton, the leader in the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup standings, will chase after a third medal in Saturday’s third World Cup event in Koksijde, Belgium. She won the season’s second World Cup event in October in Plzen, Czech Republic, and won silver in the season-opening race.
Other U.S. racers on the tour include Kaitlin Antonneau, an 18th-place finisher in the elite women’s race in Plzen, and Zach McDonald, a 13th-place finisher in the U-23 men’s race.
Webcast: 8:50 a.m. Saturday, universalsports.com
Also in cycling:
USA Cycling Pro CX, Baystate Cyclo-cross, Nov. 24-25, Sterling, Mass.
Henri Deglane Challenge, Nov. 23-24, Nice, France
Adeline Gray, a 2012 world champion and university world champion, will be among three U.S. wrestlers competing Friday and Saturday at the Henri Deglane Challenge in Nice, France. Gray will move up from her usual 67-kilograms weight class and compete at 72kg/158 pounds in women’s freestyle. Mark McKnight will wrestle at 55kg in men‘s freestyle and Shaun Scott will wrestle at 84kg in Greco-Roman.
Also in wrestling:
Haavisto Cup, Nov. 24, Ilmajoki, Finland
USA Eagles vs. Romania, Nov. 24, Bucharest, Romania
The USA Rugby Eagles men’s national team will finish up its European tour Saturday, when it plays Romania at Stadionul National de Rugby Arcul de Triumf in Bucharest, Romania. The Eagles defeated Russia in the opening match of the tour, but did not play well in the second half of a 22-13 loss to Tonga last week. The United States is one spot ahead of Romania in the IRB world rankings, making the game Saturday an important one.
“We really need to hammer home how important it is to execute simple things. We got punished (by Tonga) in this match for fundamental mistakes and it cost us the game,” U.S. coach Mike Tolkin said. “Tightening up those errors are what we‘ll focus on against Romania.”
Also in rugby:
USA Eagles women’s national team vs. France, Nov. 21, Orleans, France, and Nov. 24, Paris
U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team vs. Canada, Nov. 23, Carson, Calif.
The U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team will finish up a two-game international friendly series with Canada on Friday at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The teams were also to play Wednesday in Carson. Sixteen players on the U.S. roster played during a European trip in which the Americans won three of four games. New players include forward Amando Moreno and defender Matthew Miazga, both of whom play for the New York Red Bulls Academy.
European Cadet Circuit, Nov. 24-25, various sites
Tournaments will be held across Europe this weekend in the European Cadet Circuit. The action includes women’s epée in Grenoble, France. Amanda Sirico and Harrison MacRae both medaled in women’s epee in October at a cadet event in Austria.
Other cadet tournaments include men’s saber in Moscow; men’s epée in Chalons, France; men’s foil in Halle, Germany; and women’s foil in Tauberbischofsheim, Germany.
North American Cup, Nov. 24-25, Canmore, Canada
The international biathlon season kicks off Saturday with the start of the North American Cup in Canmore, Alberta, Canada.
NORCECA Youth and Junior Championships, Nov. 24-25, Colorado Springs
The U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs will be host Saturday and Sunday to the NORCECA Youth and Junior Championships.
World Seniors Karate Championships, Nov. 21-25, Paris
Minako Yamazaki and Eimi Kurita are among a U.S. team of 23 competing this week in the World Seniors Karate Championships in Paris. Overall, more than 1,400 athletes from 113 nations are participating.
IJF Grand Prix, Nov. 24-25, Qingdao, China
Competition begins Saturday in the International Judo Federation (IJF) Grand Prix in Qingdao, China. It is a two-day tournament for senior-level athletes.
National Hockey Festival, Nov. 22-25, Wellington, Fla.
More than 3,500 athletes will compete through Sunday in the annual National Hockey Festival presented by CranBarry. It is the largest field hockey tournament in the world. The tournament is being held at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Florida.
For a list of the participating teams, click here.
Qubica AMF World Cup, Nov. 24-Dec. 2, Wroclaw, Poland
Marshall Kent and Danielle McEwan will compete for the United States at the Qubica AMF World Cup, which begins Saturday in Wroclaw, Poland. The duo earned spots in the event through the USBC Team USA Trials held in January 2012.
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.