Americans — Lindsey Vonn included — are expected to be competing around the world in events this weekend that could get them one step closer to the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Vonn hopes to make her season world cup debut in Lake Louise, Alberta, in Canada, while skiers on the men’s side are hoping weather conditions will improve so they can compete in Beaver Creek, Colo. There will be plenty of action in other winter sports, including figure skating which began its ISU Grand Prix Final today in Japan. For all the updated information, read this week’s edition of the Team USA Weekend Preview.
FIS Alpine World Cup, women’s downhill and super-G, Dec. 6-8, Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada
Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn, who is back skiing after an early-season training crash re-injured her knee, said she is ready to make her 2013-14 world cup debut in the downhill Friday and Saturday at Lake Louise, Canada. She hasn’t raced since February.
In an interview with the Associated Press and USA Today Sports Thursday, Vonn said she will return to competition in a world cup downhill. Back in February at the world championships, Vonn tore two ligaments in her right knee and broke a bone in her lower leg. Then, nearly three weeks ago Vonn partially re-tore one of those reconstructed ligaments in a crash while training in Colorado.
“You kind of know if your body is ready or not, and I feel like mine's ready,” Vonn said Thursday. “I'm really excited. It's been a long time coming. But ... it doesn't feel like I've been gone that long. It just feels like the start of a new season. To me, this feels pretty awesome.”
Vonn, the 2010 Olympic gold medalist in the downhill, had hoped to return last week at Beaver Creek, Colo., not far from her home in Vail. She told the Associated Press that she needs another operation on her right knee but is trying to put it off as long as possible so she can compete in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, which begin Feb. 6 in Russia.
TV: 2:30 p.m. ET Friday and Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday, Universal Sports
FIS Alpine World Cup, men’s downhill, super-G and giant slalom, Dec. 6-8, Beaver Creek, Colo.
Four-time world cup giant slalom champion Ted Ligety will race for yet another medal Sunday on home snow. The giant slalom event at Beaver Creek, Colo., will finish off Audi Birds of Prey week.
Ligety won the world cup’s opening giant slalom event in Soelden, Austria.
But before he takes aim at the giant slalom, Ligety and two-time world cup overall champion Bode Miller will be among those racing in the downhill Friday. Also competing for the United States will be Marco Sullivan, Steven Nyman and Tavis Ganong. Two of the downhill training runs were canceled this week due to bad weather. The super-G will take place Saturday.
“Birds of Prey is truly the best prepared track we race on all season and that has every bit to do with the hard work of the volunteer Talon Crew,” said Ganong, who finished 22nd as the top American in the super-G last week in Lake Louise, Canada. “We don‘t see them while they‘re up there early and on the hills late, but we definitely appreciate the incredible effort they put into making Beaver Creek the best stop on the world cup tour.”
Hopefully, Mother Nature will cooperate for the event. Downhill training was canceled for a second straight day Wednesday at Beaver Creek Resort due to over a foot of overnight snow and a forecast for continuous snow throughout the day.
TV: 10 p.m.-11 p.m. ET Friday and 2 p.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, NBC Sports Network; 2 p.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, NBC; 7 p.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 10 and 9 a.m.-10 a.m. Dec. 22, Universal Sports Network
PARALYMPIC ALPINE SKIING
IPC North American Cup, Dec. 7-12, Copper Mountain, Colo.
Racing in the IPC North American Cup begins Saturday at Copper Mountain in Colorado. The six-day event begins with the super-G Saturday. Two days of super-G, two days of giant slalom and two days of slalom competition will be conducted.
Also in skiing:
FIS Ski Jumping, men and women, Dec. 6-8, Lillehammer, Norway
FIS Nordic Combined World Cup, Dec. 7-8, Lillehammer, Norway
FIS Cross Country World Cup, men and women, Dec. 7-8, Lillehammer, Norway
FIS Freestyle Skiing, men’s and women‘s ski cross, Dec. 6-7, Nakiska, Canada
ISU Grand Prix Final, Dec. 6-8, Fukuoka, Japan
U.S. ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White will attempt to win their fifth consecutive Grand Prix Final title this weekend at Marine Messe Fukuoka in Japan. The defending world champions won the ice dancing competition at Hilton HHonors Skate America and NHK Trophy, and will square off against their biggest rivals, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the 2010 Olympic champions, from Canada.
Davis and White were silver medalists at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
Not only are Davis and White and Virtue and Moir considered the two best teams in the world, but they also train together in Canton, Mich., with the same coach, Marina Zoueva. The ice dancing short dance is Friday and the free dance is Saturday.
The only other senior-level U.S. skater in the Grand Prix Final is two-time national women’s champion Ashley Wagner. She was silver medalist at the 2012 Grand Prix Final. She qualified for the final by winning Trophée Bompard and finishing second at Skate America. She placed third after the short program early Thursday morning and will compete in the free skate Saturday.
TV: 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET Friday, 11 a.m. Saturday, Universal Sports; 12 p.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, NBC
Webcast: 3 a.m. ET Friday, 2:15 a.m. Saturday, Icenetwork.com
ISU Junior Grand Prix Final, Dec. 6-8, Fukuoka, Japan
Nine U.S. figure skaters are in the Junior Grand Prix Final, which is being run in conjunction with the Grand Prix Final. Medal contenders include Polina Edmunds, the 2013 U.S. junior champion who won a pair of junior grand prix qualifying competitions, and Nathan Chen, who has medaled at the last four U.S. Figure Skating Championships and also won two junior grand prix competitions.
Three U.S. ice dancing teams qualified for the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final: Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker, Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter, and Rachel and Michael Parsons. Angela Wang was added into the women’s competition when Karen Chen withdrew due to an injury.
Webcast: 12:30 a.m. ET Friday and 1 a.m. Saturday, Icenetwork.com
World Sledge Hockey Challenge, Dec. 1-7, Toronto, Canada
The medal round in the World Sledge Hockey Challenge will be played Saturday in Toronto, Canada. The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team won two of its three games in pool play, defeating Russia, 2-1, and South Korea, 5-0, before losing to defending world champion Canada, 4-1, Wednesday.
Essent ISU Long Track World Cup, Dec. 6-8, Berlin
Heather Richardson and Shani Davis will seek to retain their top spots in the 1,000-meter world cup standings in the fourth leg of the world cup in Berlin. Richardson won the women’s 1,000 last week in Kazakhstan and Davis won the men’s 1,000 for the third consecutive world cup.
Brittany Bowe enters the Berlin world cup as the leader in the women’s 1,500 and second in the 1,000. The Berlin event is the final stop for the long trackers before the U.S. Olympic Team Trials are held in late December in Kearns, Utah. U.S. skaters have won 23 medals, including nine golds, in three world cups thus far this season.
FIS World Cup, men’s and women’s snowboardcross, Dec. 6-8, Montafon, Austria
The season-opening FIS World Cup event for snowboardcross begins Friday in Montafon, Austria. Olympic medalists Seth Wescott and Lindsey Jacobellis along with seven-time X Games gold medalist Nate Holland headline U.S. Snowboarding’s 2013-14 snowboardcross team named heading into the opening FIS World Cup this weekend. The team just capped off a great month of training including an on-snow camp at the Gorgoza Park tubing hill in Park City, Utah, followed by training in Soelden, Austria.
FIBT World Cup, Dec. 6-7, Park City, Utah
Steven Holcomb and Chris Fogt will be looking for their second consecutive world cup sweep at Utah Olympic Park in Park City. The United States had an impressive opening weekend in Calgary, Canada, winning four medals.
Holcomb and Fogt will race in the two-man bobsled Friday, then join up with Steve Langton and Curt Tomasevicz in Night Train2 in the four-man bobsled Saturday. Other men’s bobsledders include 2010 Olympic gold medalist Justin Olsen, who is making his 2013-14 World Cup debut after recovering from an offseason injury; along with Nick Cunningham, Dallas Robinson, Johnny Quinn, Abe Morlu, Cory Butner, Chuck Berkeley, Adam Clark and Chris Langton.
Noelle Pikus-Pace, who was disqualified last week after posting the fastest combined women’s skeleton runs in Calgary, will seek her first world cup win Friday on her home track. Other U.S. skeleton racers will include two-time Olympian Katie Uhlaender in the women’s competition, and Matt Antoine, John Daly and Kyle Tress in the men‘s.
Elana Meyers and Aja Evans are expected to team up in the women’s bobsled, along with the teams of Jamie Greubel and Katie Eberling, and Jazmine Fenlator and Emily Azevedo. Meyers and Evans earned the silver medal last week, and Greubel and Eberling earned the bronze medal.
TV: 1:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. ET Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday, Universal Sports
Also in bobsled/skeleton:
Intercontinental Cup, Dec. 6-7, Igls, Austria
European Cup, Dec. 7-8, Igls, Austria
North American Cup, Dec. 1-5, Lake Placid, N.Y.
World Cup, Dec. 6-7, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Two-time Olympian Erin Hamlin seeks a third consecutive top-10 finish this weekend at the Vancouver World Cup. She placed sixth in women’s singles last week in Germany and also sixth two weeks ago in Austria.
This week’s event will be held on the 2010 Olympic track in Whistler, B.C. The United States is coming off a strong outing in Winterberg, Germany, where Kate Hansen and Tucker West in singles, and Christian Niccum and Jayson Terdiman in doubles combined for a silver medal in the team relay.
Nations Cup qualifying is set for Friday, followed by the beginning of the world cup runs Saturday.
Also in luge:
Junior World Cup, Dec. 6-7, Winterberg, Germany
E.ON IBU World Cup, Dec. 6-8, Hochfilzen, Austria
The second world cup of the season begins Friday with the men’s and women’s sprint races in Hochfilzen, Austria. Two relays will be held Saturday and two team pursuits Sunday.
Tim Burke ranks third in the men’s sprint after winning a bronze medal in the 10-kilometer sprint last week in Sweden.
USA Curling Mixed Doubles National Championship, Dec. 5-8, Medford, Wis.
Pete and Maureen Stolt of the St. Paul Curling Club are back to defend their national title at the USA Curling Mixed Doubles National Championship in Medford, Wis. The field of 16 teams includes 2010 champion Sharon Vukich, paired with David Cornfield, and 2011 champions Brady and Cristin Clark.
The top two teams (four overall) from two pools advance to the semifinals on Sunday. The winning team advances to the World Mixed Doubles Championship in April in Scotland.
AT&T Winter National Championships, Dec. 5-7, Knoxville, Tenn.
The 2013 AT&T Winter National Championships will have a definite Olympic feel to it at the University of Tennessee’s Allan Jones Aquatic Center. Especially in the women‘s competition.
Four-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin, Olympic 800-meter freestyle gold medalist Katie Ledecky, Olympic medley relay gold medalist Rachel Bootsma and three-time Olympian Natalie Coughlin are all competing in the winter nationals. The 200 free Friday includes Franklin as the top seed, University of California teammate Elizabeth Pelton at No. 2 and Ledecky at No. 3.
In the men’s competition, London 2012 Olympic Games roommates Matt Grevers and Nathan Adrian will battle each other in the 100 free Saturday. Adrian won the 100 free in London and Grevers won the 100 backstroke. Adrian and Grevers are seeded one-two in the 50 and 100 free.
The international field includes Olympians Darian Townsend of South Africa, Adam Brown of Great Britain and Arkady Vyatchanin of Russia. Eleven-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte is not competing this weekend.
The entire meet will use short-course yard distances.
World Cup, Dec. 7, Glasgow, Great Britain
John Orozco and Elizabeth Price will compete Saturday in a world cup event in Glasgow, Great Britain.
Price won last week’s DTB World Cup women’s all-around competition in Stuttgart, Germany. Orozco, a 2012 Olympian, placed fifth in the men’s all-around.
ITTF World Junior Championships, Dec. 1-8, Rabat, Morocco
Ariel Hsing, a 2012 Olympian, will chase after a podium finish in her final ITTF World Junior Championship in Rabat, Morocco. Hsing, 18, a freshman at Princeton University, will move up to senior-level international competition next year.
Knockout stages in both singles and doubles will be held Friday and Saturday. Semifinals and finals will be Sunday. The tournament includes nearly 200 athletes from 39 nations. China won the men’s and women’s team championships Wednesday.
Also in table tennis:
MD Memorial Table Tennis Championships (Paralympic Table Tennis), Dec. 3-Dec. 8, San Diego
Indoor World Cup, Dec. 8-9, Singapore
Two-time Olympian Brady Ellison, Erika Jones, Christie Colin, and Reo and Logan Wilde will compete in the second of four indoor world cup events. The tournament will be held Sunday and Monday in Singapore.
USA Shooting Winter Airgun Championships, Dec. 6-8, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Olympians Sarah Scherer and Connor Davis will seek to defend their national titles in air rifle at the USA Shooting Winter Airgun Championships. Title contenders also include Amy Sowash and Sarah Beard in the women’s competition, and world cup silver medalist Dempster Christenson in the men’s tournament.
Two-time Olympian Jason Turner, and 2012 Olympians Nick Mowrer and Sandra Uptagrafft will compete in the air pistol. Other Olympians in air pistol include 2008 Olympians Brian Beaman and Brenda Silva, and 2004 Olympian Morgan Waltizer (Hicks).
The event will be held at USA Shooting’s new 10-meter indoor range at the Olympic Shooting Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Canada Cup, Dec. 2-8, Gatineau, Canada
The USA Women’s Senior National Team will face host Canada on Saturday in its final preliminary-round match of the Canada Cup in Gatineau, Quebec. The championship match is scheduled for Sunday.
The United States split its first two matches in the tournament, defeating Canada 12-10 on Wednesday and losing 11-8 to Australia in its opening match Tuesday.
S.A. Lavrikov Greco-Roman Championships, Dec. 7-8, St. Petersburg, Russia
Ben Provisor, a 2012 Olympian, will be among 14 U.S. wrestlers competing Saturday and Sunday at the S.A. Lavrikov Greco-Roman Championships in Russia. Provisor will wrestle at 84 kilograms/185 pounds. Others in the tournament include U.S. world team members Andy Bisek, 74kg/163; Jordan Holm, 84kg/185; and Robbie Smith, 120kg/264.5.
Also on the U.S. team: Nate Engel, 55kg/121; Nikko Triggas, 60kg/132; Devin Scott and Bryce Saddoris, 66kg/145.5; Robert Neill and Bo Beckman, 74kg/163; C.J. Meyers, 84kg/185; Marcus Finau, 96kg/211.5; Jacob Mitchell and David Arendt, 120kg/264.5.
Also in wrestling:
Nordhagen Classic, women’s freestyle, Dec. 7-8, Calgary, Canada
IWF Grand Prix and Baku International Cup, Dec. 5-8, Baku, Azerbaijan
Darrel Barnes (men’s 62 kilograms), Michael Hunt (men’s 69kg), Jacque Payne (women’s 53kg) and Cortney Batchelor (women’s 58kg) are competing this week in the IWF Grand Prix and Baku International Cup.
“Not only is this a chance to compete internationally, but being asked to join a prestigious invitational speaks volumes to the positive direction in which this organization is moving,” said USA Weightlifting CEO Michael Massik.
Also in weightlifting:
American Open Weightlifting Championships, Dec. 6-8, Dallas, Texas
UCI Track World Cup, Dec. 5-7, Aguascalientes, Mexico
Beth Newell will be among the U.S. riders competing this week in the UCI Track World Cup in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Newell won a silver medal in the women’s point race at the season-opening world cup in November in Great Britain.
Other U.S. cyclists include Kimberly Geist, Cari Higgins, Jade Wilcoxson, Ruth Winder and Jake Duehring.
Also in cycling:
Deschutes Brewery Cup, USA Cycling Professional Cyclo-cross Calendar (Pro CX), Dec. 7, Bend, Ore.
NEPCX-NBX Gran Prix of Cross Days, Pro CX, Dec. 7-8, Warwick, R.I.
IJF Grand Prix, Dec. 5-6, Jeju, Korea
Jonathan Fernandez will compete in the men’s 81 kilograms class at the IJF Grand Prix in Korea, and Angelica Delgado and Melissa Templeman will be in the women’s tournament. Both compete at 52kg.
World Series of Boxing, USA Knockouts vs. Algeria, Dec. 6, Blida, Algeria
The Miami-based USA Knockouts will take on the Algeria Desert Hawks on Friday in a World Series of Boxing competition. In the Knockouts’ home opener two weeks ago against Argentina, U.S. national champion Jose Alday Jr. had one of three U.S. wins.
Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens, Dec. 7-8, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
The USA Rugby Men’s Eagles Sevens squad moves on to the South Africa Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens this week after losing all five of its matches last week in the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens. The tournament is the third stop of the IRB HSBC Sevens World Series.
The Eagles are in 14th place in the Sevens World Series standings with four points.
U.S. Saddle Seat World Cup Team Trials, Dec. 7, Fulton, Mo.
More than 30 of the nation’s top saddle seat riders will compete Saturday in the U.S. Saddle Seat World Cup Team Trials at William Woods University in Fulton, Mo. Competition will be held in three- and five-gaited sections. The top five riders and an alternate will be selection for each section.
The International Saddle Seat World Cup will be held in July 2014 in Asheville, N.C.
Also in equestrian:
FEI Vaulting World Cup, Dec. 5-8, Salzburg, Austria
Marathon Epée, Dec. 7-8, Colorado Springs, Colo.
USA Pentathlon is hosting a marathon epee tournament Saturday and Sunday at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Members of the US National Pentathlon Team, US Fencing Epée Olympic Training Center Resident Team and a national team from Guatemala are expected to participate.