Team USA Weekend Wrap-Up: Nov. 26, 2012
Meryl Davis and Charlie White won their latest ISU Grand Prix event to earn a shot at another Grand Prix Final title.
Davis and White posted their second win of the season and their 11th consecutive victory in a Grand Prix event by taking the ice dancing gold medal at the NHK Trophy in Miyagi, Japan. Their Grand Prix winning streak dates back to 2009.
The victory clinched a spot in the Dec. 6-9 Grand Prix Final in Sochi, Russia — site of the Olympic Winter Games in 2014 — where Davis and White will try to win their fourth straight Final championship.
Davis and White, silver medalists at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, also won the Hilton HHonors Skate America in October to open this season.
Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani gave the United States two of the top three ice dancing teams with a bronze-medal performance.
Americans also took home three bronze medals: Mirai Nagasu (women’s), Ross Miner (men’s) and the combination of Marissa Castelli-Simon Shnapir (pairs) earned their first Grand Prix medal. The last time the U.S. medaled in all four disciplines at a Grand Prix event was the 2009 NHK Trophy.
The United States won its first FIS World Cup relay medal in cross country Sunday when the women’s 4x5k team finished third in Gaellivare, Sweden.
Holly Brooks, Kikkan Randall, Liz Stephen and Jessie Diggins each produced a career-best in the 5k to produce the medal.
“We’ve known this was possible for a long time,” Randall said. “We just knew it was going to take each of us putting together the right performance on the right day.”
Randall was third and Brooks fifth Saturday in the 10k freestyle race.
Elsewhere, defending FIS Ski Jumping World Cup champion Sarah Hendrickson finished second in the season opener in Lillehammer, Norway.
Todd Lodwick was 24th in the FIS World Cup Nordic Combined opener in Lillehammer.
Mikaela Shiffrin finished ninth in the giant slalom Saturday before finishing seventh in the slalom Sunday in the Nature Valley Aspen Winternational to improve to fifth in the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup overall and slalom standings.
Lindsey Vonn, working her way back from an intestinal illness, was 21st Saturday and did not compete Sunday.
Vonn was 10th after the first run, but didn't have anything left in the tank for the second pass through the challenging course.
“I didn't have the energy I needed to really be competitive,” Vonn told the Associated Press. "It's been a real fight to even be able to race today. I didn't have it.
“I'm a competitor. This isn't exactly the kind of result I was hoping for. But I have to still keep things in perspective and realize that I was very sick just a few days ago. I'm just happy to be racing again.”
Meanwhile, up in Lake Louise, Alberta, Marco Sullivan was third in the downhill and Ted Ligety was fourth in the super G at the FIS Alpine World Cup event there.
Olympic champion Steven Holcomb won for the third time in as many FIBT World Cup two-man bobsled races this season with Saturday’s victory at Whistler, BC. Steve Langton pushed. Holcomb is the first driver to win the first three World Cup two-man races in six seasons.
In the four-man bobsled, the “Night Train” team of Holcomb, Langton, Justin Olsen and Curt Tomasevicz finished fourth, just 0.06 seconds from a medal.
Meanwhile, Nick Cunningham and Chris Fogt were ninth while Cory Butner and Johnny Quinn were 10th in the two-man race.
On the women’s side, U.S. teams finished ninth, 10th and 11th. Jazmine Fenlator and Katie Eberling led the way in ninth place. Elana Meyers and Olympic track athlete Lolo Jones finished 10th, and Jamie Greubel and Emily Azevedo were 11th.
Jones, a two-time summer Olympian as a hurdler, competed in just her second bobsled World Cup event and was part of the 5.11-second start in the second run that matched the track record set by Canada’s Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse on the way to the 2010 Olympic gold medal.
“Our push athletes attacked the track with total reckless abandonment and wanted to win under any circumstances,” U.S. women’s bobsled coach Todd Hays said. “It was certainly impressive. We know they are great athletes, and they are turning into great bobsledders.”
2007 skeleton world champion Noelle Pikus-Pace retired from the sport after finishing fourth at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. This weekend she made her return to the World Cup stage with a sixth-place finish. Katie Uhlaender, who won the Park City World Cup race, was seventh.
“It feels good to get the first World Cup race out of the way so I can settle my nerves and move forward," Pikus-Pace said. "It feels like a different world. I'm the same person on the sled, but the way I handle competition now is so different."
Matt Antoine’s 15th-place finish was the best by the United States in men’s skeleton.
Elsewhere, the United States had four top-10 finishes in European Cup openers.
Julia Clukey returned to elite international competition with a sixth-place finish at the World Cup opener in Igls, Austria. The 2010 Olympian has missed much of the last two seasons with medical issues, including surgeries on her knee and to address Arnold-Chiari Syndrome.
“My first run, I was a little too tense … a little nervous, I guess,” said Clukey, who had the best starts of the women’s competition. “It didn’t feel very fluid, but I was really happy with my second run and tried to carry speed down the track.”
Clukey joined Chris Mazdzer and the doubles combination of Matt Mortensen and Preston Griffall to finish seventh in the relay.
Mazdzer, a 2010 Olympian, had the best men’s finish in 16th. He was third in Friday’s Nations Cup, which served as a qualifier for the World Cup race. Mortensen and Griffall finished 10th in doubles.
Adeline Gray won the gold medal Friday at the Henri Deglane Challenge in Nice, France. Gray, the 2012 world champion, won her title at 72 kg/158.5 pounds, up 11 pounds from where she won her world title.
All three U.S. competitors medaled in the event: Mark McKnight won a men’s freestyle bronze medal at 55 kg/121 pounds and Shaun Scott earned a bronze at 84 kg/185 pounds.
Elsewhere, the United States won three medals at the Arvo Haavisto Cup, a Greco-Roman event, Saturday in Ilmajoki, Finland. Robbie Smith won gold at 120 kg/264.5 pounds. Thrasher Porcher took silver at 66 kg/145.5 pounds. Andy Bisek picked up a bronze at 74 kg/163 pounds.
SPEEDSKATING: Brian Hansen earned his first career Essent ISU World Cup podium finish by taking third in the men’s 1,500 meters Sunday in Kolomna, Russia. “I think it was a big step for me in my skating career,” Hansen said. Jilleanne Rookard finished fourth in the women’s 3,000-meter B race.
CYCLING: Katie Compton won the women’s elite race and Logan Owen finished fifth in the junior men’s race Saturday at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup event in Koksijde, Belgium.
FENCING: Amanda Sirico, Madeline Kehl, Catherine Nixon and Charlene Liu led the United States to gold at the Grenoble Cadet European Cup in women’s epée at Grenoble, France.
RUGBY: Chris Wyles had 19 points Saturday to lead the U.S. men to a 34-3 victory over host Romania. The game was the last in a European tour for the United States.
KARATE: Brian Ramrup and Sakura Kokumai each earned bronze medals at the World Seniors Karate Championships in Paris.
BOWLING: Kent Marshall averaged 226.4 to rank second in men’s qualifying at the QubicaAMF World Cup, which will continue through Sunday in Wroclaw, Poland.
Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Tom Robinson 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.