Team USA Weekend Preview: Dec. 12, 2013

By Paul D. Bowker | Dec. 12, 2013, 3:33 p.m. (ET)
Erin Hamlin Erin Hamlin takes a preliminary run in the Tiscover Challenge Cup during the Veissmann Luge World Cup on Nov. 20, 2009 at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, Alberta.

The chase for spots on the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team heats up this weekend. The U.S. Olympic luge team is expected to be nominated and the U.S. men’s curling team is busy trying to qualify for a spot in Sochi as well. In addition, snowboarders and freeskiers are racking up qualification points on the Dew Tour in Breckenridge, Colo., and there are additional world cup events in skiing, bobsled and skeleton, and biathlon. Check out this edition of the Team USA Weekend Preview for all of the details.


World Cup, Dec. 13-14, Park City, Utah

Erin Hamlin has already secured her third U.S. Olympic Team nomination. Chris Mazdzer has secured his second.

The remaining eight spots on the 2014 U.S. Olympic Luge Team will be determined by world cup action Friday and Saturday at Utah Olympic Park located outside of Park City, Utah. The 10-member team for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games will be announced (pending approval from the U.S. Olympic Committee) in a gala ceremony Saturday night following the conclusion of the competition.

Among the top contenders for those Olympic nominations are Kate Hansen, Tucker West and Aidan Kelly, who have satisfied selection criteria. Hansen overcame a broken bone in her foot to post sixth- and seventh-place finishes in women’s singles. Julia Clukey, a 2010 Olympian, can clinch an Olympic nomination by finishing among the top five in women’s singles Friday.

Three doubles teams will battle for two Olympic spots. Preston Griffall, a 2006 Olympian, and Matt Mortensen can clinch a spot by finishing among the top 13 Friday. Jake Hyrns and Andrew Sherk need a top 10 finish to satisfy selection criteria. Two-time Olympian Christian Niccum and Jayson Terdiman need to finish among the top five.

The remaining Olympic spots in men’s singles will be decided Saturday. Mazdzer will be seeking to keep his momentum riding high. He won his first world cup medal, a silver, last week at Whistler, B.C.

TV: 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. ET Friday, Universal Sports; 9 p.m. Monday, NBC Sports Network

Also in luge:

Junior World Cup, Dec. 14-15, Lillehammer, Norway


WCF Olympic Qualification Event, Dec. 10-15, Fuessen, Germany

The U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling men’s champions, who are skipped by John Shuster, will face South Korea and Finland in the final two matches of pool play Friday in the World Curling Federation Olympic Qualification Event.

Shuster’s team is attempting to clinch one of the final two berths in men’s curling for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The top two teams after pool play will meet Saturday to determine one of the Olympic spots. The loser of the match Saturday will face the third-best team for the final Olympic spot.

Members of Shuster’s team are Jeff Isaacson, Jared Zezel, John Landsteiner and Craig Brown. Shuster is a two-time Olympian. The team won two of its first three matches, including a 10-4 victory over France.


FIS World Cup Alpine, men’s giant slalom and slalom, Dec. 14-15, Val d’Isere, France

Ted Ligety will go after his third world cup giant slalom victory of the season Saturday in Val d’Isere, France. The United States scored a 1-2 finish in the world cup race last week in Beaver Creek, Colo., as Bode Miller finished runner-up to Ligety in the Audi Birds of Prey race.

Ligety has won four consecutive world cup giant slalom races.

TV: 10:30 a.m. ET Saturday and 8 a.m. Sunday, Universal Sports

FIS World Cup Alpine, women’s super-G and giant slalom, Dec. 14-15, St. Moritz, Switzerland

Mikaela Shiffrin, who skipped last week’s world cup stop in Canada, will return to action this week in St. Moritz, Switzerland, but three-time Olympian Lindsey Vonn will not. Vonn, who returned from a serious knee injury to finish fifth in the super-G last week, chose to skip this week’s stop. She is expected to ski next in the Dec. 21 downhill race in Val d’Isere, France.

Shiffrin earned a silver medal two weeks ago in the giant slalom in Beaver Creek. An eight-time world cup medalist and 2013 world champion in slalom, Shiffrin’s runner-up finish in Beaver Creek was her best world cup finish in giant slalom.

TV: 8 a.m. ET Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday, Universal Sports

Also in skiing:

FIS World Cup Nordic Combined, Dec. 14-15, Ramsau am Dachstein, Austria

FIS World Cup Ski Jumping, men, Dec. 13-15, Titisee-Neustadt, Germany

FIS World Cup Freestyle, women’s and men‘s skicross, Dec. 14-15, Val Thorens, France

FIS World Cup Cross Country, men’s 30k, women’s 15k, men’s and women’s sprint, Dec. 14-15, Davos, Switzerland


FIBT World Cup, Dec. 13-15, Lake Placid, N.Y.

The USA Bobsled & Skeleton team, off to an impressive start this season, will look to capture more medals this weekend in Lake Placid, N.Y. Americans won 10 medals last week in Park City, Utah, including a 1-2-2 performance by the women bobsledders and another two gold medal runs by bobsledder Steven Holcomb, along with a gold medal in skeleton by Noelle Pikus-Pace.

The Lake Placid lineup of events includes double races in the two-man bobsled (Friday and Saturday) and women’s skeleton (Friday and Sunday).

Holcomb will race with Steve Langton in the two-man bobsled Friday, then with Chris Fogt Saturday. Curt Tomasevicz will join them in the four-man bobsled Sunday. Holcomb has not lost in two-man or four-man world cup competitions this year, going 4-for-4. Nick Cunningham, who won a silver medal last week, will pilot two- and four-man bobsleds.

Elana Meyers will have Lauryn Williams as her push starter in the women’s bobsled. Aja Evans, who won double gold with Meyers last week, will combine with Jamie Greubel. Jazmine Fenlator will team up with Emily Azevedo.

In women’s skeleton, Noelle Pikus-Pace will look for at least a second gold medal after breaking a 12-year-old track record last week in Park City. Other top skeleton athletes include Katie Uhlaender, who won the world championship on the Lake Placid track in 2012, and Matt Antoine, who won his third career medal last week.

TV: 3:30 p.m. ET Friday, 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Saturday, 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Universal Sports

Webcast: 2:15 p.m. ET Friday, 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Saturday, 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Sunday,

Also in bobsled/skeleton:

Intercontinental Cup, Dec. 13-14, Altenberg, Germany

European Cup, Dec. 17, Winterberg, Germany


Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships, Dec. 12-15, Breckenridge, Colo.

The first Olympic selection event in snowboarding and freeskiing will take place Saturday and Sunday, when the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships are held in Breckenridge. The competition will feature the nation’s best halfpipe and slopestyle athletes. Slopestyle will make its Olympic debut in Sochi in February for both skiing and snowboarding. Halfpipe skiing will also make its debut.

Olympic hopefuls include two-time Olympic halfpipe gold medalist Shaun White, Louie Vito, Danny Davis, Olympic women’s halfpipe gold medalist Kelly Clark, five-time world cup medalist Torin Yater-Wallace and nine-time Dew Tour medalist Bobby Brown.

TV: Noon-2 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday, NBC

Also in snowboarding:

FIS World Cup Snowboarding, women’s and men’s halfpipe, Dec. 12-13, Ruka, Finland

FIS World Cup Snowboarding, women’s and men’s parallel slalom and parallel giant slalom, Dec. 13-14, Carezza, Italy


E.ON IBU World Cup, Dec. 12-15, Annecy-Le Grand Bornand, France

The third world cup competition of the season includes the men’s and women’s sprint races Saturday, and the pursuit races Sunday. Tim Burke, who is already a 2014 Olympic Team nominee, ranks sixth in men’s sprint in the world cup standings.

It is the first world cup-class biathlon competition held in France since the Albertville 1992 Olympic Winter Games.

Also in biathlon:

North American Cup, Dec. 14-18, Mt. Itasca, Minn.

IBU Cup, Dec. 11-15, Obertilliach, Austria


FIVB Beach Volleyball Tour, Durban Open, Dec. 10-15, Durban, South Africa

Six U.S. teams are playing in the main draw of the Durban Open, including No. 1 men’s seeds Will Montgomery and Stafford Slick. Also in the men’s tournament are the teams of Casey Jennings and Theo Brunner, and Derek Olson and Tri Bourne, who advanced into the main draw through the qualification round.

Three U.S. teams are in the women’s draw: Sarah Day and Kim McGiven, Lane Carico and Heather Hughes, and Whitney Pavlik and Olympic silver medalist Jen Kessy.


WTF Grand Prix Final, Dec. 13-15, Manchester, England

Steven Lopez, a four-time Olympian and two-time gold medalist, is among 10 U.S. athletes competing this weekend in the inaugural WTF Grand Prix Final in England. Lopez will compete Saturday in the men’s 80 kg. division.

Two U.S. women are in the top 10 in the Olympic points rankings: Olympic bronze medalist Paige McPherson, ninth place, 114.28 points, and Lauren Hamon, 10th, 113.34 points. Both compete at 67 kg. Also competing in the women’s division: Charlotte Craig, 49 kg. and Cheyenne Lewis and Nicole Palma, 57 kg.

Joining Lopez in the men’s tournament are James Howe and Tashi Sherpa, 58 kg.; 2012 Olympian Terrence Jennings, 68 kg.; and Stephen Lambdin, 80 kg. Olympic ranking points are on the line for more than 250 athletes taking part in the event. Gold-medal winners will receive 80 points.


World Indoor Team Trials, Dec. 13-15, Newberry, Fla.

The selection trials for the 2014 USA Archery World Indoor Team will take place Friday through Sunday at the Easton-Newberry Sports Complex in Newberry, Fla. The event will determine the archers who will represent the United States at the 2014 World Indoor Championships, which are scheduled for Feb. 25 through March 2 in France.


Holiday Cup, Dec. 11-15, Santa Ana, Calif.

The U.S. Women’s Senior National Team will face Russia Friday, Australia Saturday and Greece Sunday in the Holiday Cup. The tournament is being played at Foothill High School in Santa Ana, Calif.

The lineup for Team USA includes Olympic gold medalists Betsey Armstrong, Kami Craig, Annika Dries, Melissa Seidemann and Maggie Steffens. Seidemann scored four goals in the team‘s 12-9 opening win Wednesday over Netherlands.

The FINA World Cup qualifiers for the U.S. women and men begin Tuesday in Santa Ana. The women will face Canada at Foothill High School and the men will play Canada at the Santa Ana YMCA. Both are three-game series over three nights.


North Carolina Grand Prix, USA Cycling Professional Cyclo-cross Calendar (Pro CX), Dec. 14-15, Hendersonville, N.C.

Jeremy Powers holds a nine-point lead in the elite men’s standings and Elle Anderson is up by 54 points in the women’s standings with just three races left in the USA Cycling Pro CX season. Saturday and Sunday, they will race in the North Carolina Grand Prix Races in Hendersonville.

Tim Johnson upped his season total to 936 points, nine behind Powers, after winning last weekend’s Deschutes Brewery Cup race.


USATF National Junior Olympic Cross-Country Championships, Dec. 14, San Antonio, Texas

National junior cross-country champions will be determined in age group races up to 17 and 18 years old Saturday. The USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships will be held at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio, Texas. The 15-16 and 17-18 boys’ and girls’ races will be 5-kilometers long. Races will be held in five age categories.

Also in track and field:

USATF National Club Cross Country Championships, Dec. 14, Bend, Ore.


Speedo Winter Junior National Championships, Dec. 12-14, Greensboro, N.C.

Competition in the Speedo Winter Junior National Championships will go through Saturday at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in North Carolina. There will be 18 events, including men’s and women’s 1,650 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 100 free, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly and 400 free relay Saturday.


Youth Olympic Games Selection Event Qualifier, Dec. 16, Austin, Texas

The USA Diving selection event for the Youth Olympic Games qualifier will be held Monday at the University of Texas. The competition will determine the U.S. divers for the Youth Olympic Games qualifier, which begins Feb. 28 in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The USA Diving Winter National Championships begin a day later, Tuesday, at the University of Texas.


Nike International Friendlies, Dec. 13, Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team will play Brazil Friday in the Nike International Friendlies tournament in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. The game will be the third in five days for the team, which opened the tournament with a 2-1 loss to Portugal Monday.


Winter World University Games, Dec. 12-21, Trentino, Italy

Chris Plys, a 2010 Olympian, will lead the U.S. men’s curling team and Cory Christensen, a 2012 junior champion, will lead the U.S. women’s curling team at the Winter World University Games. Curling matches began Thursday. Pool play continues through Tuesday, followed by the playoff semifinal round Dec. 19 and the championship match Dec. 20.

Joining Plys on the men’s team are Stephen Dropkin, Sean Beighton, Korey Dropkin and Tom Howell. Christensen is skipping a team that also includes Becca Funk, Anna Bauman, Mackenzie Lank and Sonja Bauman.

The U.S. Men’s National University Hockey Team will play Latvia on Friday and Italy on Sunday. The playoff round begins Wednesday.

The Winter World University Games are held every two years. Other sports include skiing, snowboarding, speedskating and biathlon.

Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor for