Team USA Weekend Wrap-Up: Dec. 16, 2013

By Tom Robinson | Dec. 16, 2013, 10 a.m. (ET)
Steven Holcomb and Christ Fogt start their run during the Viessmann IBSF Bobsled & Skeleton World Cup event at Utah Olympic Park Dec. 6, 2013 in Park City, Utah.

The U.S. men swept the two-man bobsled podium Saturday in Lake Placid, N.Y., the first such sweep for a U.S. team in an FIBT World Cup event, highlighting another successful weekend for the U.S. bobsled and skeleton team.

Steven Holcomb and Chris Fogt won the two-man gold medal, followed by Nick Cunningham and Johnny Quinn and Cory Butner and Chuck Berkeley.

“It’s something as a coach I’ve seen over my career, especially with the Swiss flags flying, the German flags

flying,” U.S. men’s bobsled coach Brian Shimer said. “Now I get to witness it with the American flag flying.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the athletes, to see their hard work.”

Holcomb had a personal sweep of his own. The pilot of the 2010 Olympic champion four-man team also won the two-man bobsled event Friday with Steve Langton and then led the four-man team that included Curt Tomasevicz, Langton and Fogt to the title Sunday. The four-man team is unbeaten through the first half of the world cup season.

“If you told me that I would have won everything a month ago, I would have thought you were crazy,” Holcomb said. “It is surreal and a little overwhelming.”

Heading into the holiday break before the second half of the 2013-14 Olympic season,

Steven Holcomb, Curt Tomasevicz, Steve Langton and
Chris Fogt compete in the men's four-man bobsled at the 2013
IBSF World Cup race Nov. 30, 2013 in Calgary, Alberta.

Holcomb reached his 50th FIBT/IBSF World Cup individual medal with his four-man victory Sunday. Of the 50 medals, 25 of them are gold.

The weekend started with a skeleton sweep Friday when Matt Antoine and Noelle Pikus-Pace both won. The win was the first of Antoine’s career. John Daly finished fourth.

Pikus-Pace then took the bronze medal in Sunday’s women’s skeleton race, which was shortened to one heat because of track conditions.

The U.S. women also finished second, third and fourth in the bobsled Saturday. Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams took silver, Jamie Greubel and Katie Eberling took bronze and Jazmine Fenlator and Emily Azevedo finished fourth.

Elsewhere, Annie O’Shea finished ninth and 12th in the women’s skeleton races to lead the United States at the Intercontinental Cup in Altenberg, Germany.


Chris Mazdzer continued to show he is ready for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games on a weekend when several other luge athletes earned nominations to the U.S. Olympic Team.

Mazdzer and Erin Hamlin, who had previously been nominated for Team USA, were joined by eight other athletes on the U.S. team, pending approval by the United States Olympic Committee, as the qualification process for luge concluded with the world cup stop in Park City, Utah.

Mazdzer earned a silver medal in men’s singles while combining with Kate Hansen and the doubles team of Matt Mortensen and Preston Griffall for another silver medal in the team relay Saturday.

“I’ve always liked being the underdog, just having a goal you’re trying to achieve,” said Mazdzer, who would be competing in his second Winter Games in Sochi. “When you’re out in front, it’s easy to get complacent. But I like having some fuel in the fire, going after the top guy.”

Mazdzer finished behind only two-time Olympic gold medalist Armin Zoeggeler of Italy, who is scheduled to carry his country’s flag at the Opening Ceremony in Sochi. The second straight silver medal leaves Mazdzer fifth in the overall world cup standings. Tucker West finished 16th. He will become the youngest male on the U.S. Olympic Luge Team at 18. Aidan Kelly rounds out the three U.S. men’s spots for Team USA.

Hansen and Summer Britcher earned the right to join Hamlin as the women’s singles competitors in the Winter Games on Friday when the men’s doubles teams of Mortensen-Griffall and Christian Niccum and Jayson Terdiman also landed spots.

Hansen had a career-best fourth-place finish while Hamlin was eighth and Britcher was ninth at Park City. Julia Clukey, a 2010 Olympian, finished sixth and she needed to place fifth to make it to Sochi.

“It’s been a long two months and I’m grateful to come out in one piece,” said Hansen, who qualified while racing with a broken foot she injured on the same Park City track back in October.

The doubles team of Mortensen and Griffall, who will be competing in his second Winter Games, finished ninth in the world cup. They missed the 2010 Games after losing a race-off. The final doubles berth for 2014 again came down to a run-off after the world cup competition was completed.

Niccum and Terdiman won the race-off this time, beating out Jake Hyrns and Andrew Sherk by .23 seconds over two runs.

“This is the culmination of 14 years of hard work, plus the last four years with Christian,” said Terdiman, who qualified for his first Winter Games while working with Niccum, who is about to become a three-time Olympian.

Read more about the Team USA luge team that will compete in Sochi here.


The United States landed the final available men’s spot for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games when it defeated the Czech Republic 8-5 Sunday in an Olympic Qualification Event in Fuessen, Germany.

John Shuster, Jeff Isaacson, Jared Zezel and John Landsteiner formed the team, which made it through the qualifying event that determined the last two Olympic berths. Team Shuster won the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling last month in Fargo, N.D., but still needed to secure a spot for the United States in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Team Shuster won its final five games in Fuessen to earn the spot. It was tied 3-3 with Czech Republic before scoring five points in the eighth end.

“The butterflies for an opportunity like this, they never get old,” said Shuster, who helped the United States claim a bronze medal in the 2006 Winter Games and was the skip of the U.S. team in Vancouver.

The Shuster rink, with Craig Brown as alternate, has been nominated to the U.S. Olympic Team, pending USOC approval.

Read more about Team USA men’s curling team here.


Jamie Anderson won the first slopestyle snowboarding title Saturday at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships in Breckenridge, Colo. The championships were the first Olympic selection event of the season in snowboarding and freeskiing. Slopestyle will make its Olympic debut in Sochi in February for both skiing and snowboarding.

Anderson fell in her first run but outscored the rest of the competition by a wide margin in her second run.

“After my first run, I was a little upset, but I had to clear it and know that it all happened for a reason, because now it feels so much better,” Anderson said.

Kelly Clark was second in the halfpipe while 13-year-old Chloe Kim finished third and Arielle Gold was fourth.

Chas Guldemond finished fifth to lead the U.S. in men’s slopestyle Sunday. Sage Kotsenburg and Brandon Davis were sixth and seventh.

Shaun White led qualifying for the slopestyle but sat out the final when he aggravated a sprained ankle in Saturday’s halfpipe. Greg Bretz led a U.S. podium sweep in the halfpipe, finishing ahead of White and Taylor Gold.

On the skiing side, David Wise led a U.S. sweep of the men’s halfpipe competition while Maddie Bowman led a sweep of the women’s competition.

Aaron Blunck and Lyman Currier finished second and third on the men’s side. Torin Yater-Wallace led after qualifying but did not compete in finals after a crash during a practice run. Angeli VanLaanen and Brita Sigourney secured the women’s sweep.

In slopestyle, Devin Logan won the women’s title with Maggie Voisin finishing third on her 15th birthday. Nick Goepper claimed the men’s title while fellow Americans Bobby Brown, Tom Wallisch and Alex Schlopy finished fourth, fifth and seventh, respectively.


David Chodounsky finished a career-best seventh in the slalom at the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup event Sunday in Val D’Isere, France. Ted Ligety did not qualify for the final in either the slalom or giant slalom. Ligety’s fall Saturday kept him from the giant slalom final run for the first time since 2009 and ended his streak of four straight world cup wins.

Elsewhere, Olympic champion Julia Mancuso finished 12th in the giant slalom Sunday at the women’s Audi FIS Alpine World Cup stop in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Stacey Cook jumped up from 37th to 16th in her second run in the super-G Saturday, following up a similar move from 38th to 18th last week. Mancuso was 20th in the super-G.

Lindsey Vonn, who is working her way back from major knee surgery, did not race. She is preparing for the upcoming downhill in Val d’Isere, where she has won three times.


Returning to aerials competition after two years away, Olympian Ashley Caldwell took second Sunday in the world cup opener in Beida Lake, China.

“I couldn’t be happier about my results here in China,” Caldwell said. “This is my first competition back after taking two years off for two knee surgeries. Returning from injury is tough and really nerve-wracking, but landing some nice jumps here has given me the confidence for the rest of this exciting world cup season.”

Mike Rossi finished eighth in the men’s competition.


Kikkan Randall finished second in the skate sprint Sunday at the world cup stop in Davos, Switzerland, to move into first in the world cup sprint standings. Randall was 18th in the 15-kilometer event Saturday.


Bryan Fletcher and five-time Olympian Todd Lodwick finished fourth Saturday in the 2x7.5-kilometer team sprint at the at the world cup event in Ramsau am Dachstein, Austria. Fletcher then used the second-best time of the day Sunday to finish seventh in the 10k. He was 30th after the jumping portion. Billy Demong, a four-time Olympian who won the United States’ first Olympic gold medal in Nordic combined in 2010, had his best finish of the season, taking ninth.


The U.S. men’s and women’s relays each finished eighth at the E.ON IBU World Cup in Annecy-Le Grand Bornand, France. Susan Dunklee, Sara Studebaker, Hannah Dreissigacker and Annelies Cook gave the U.S. women their second straight eighth-place world cup finish Thursday. Lowell Bailey, Tim Burke, Jeremy Teela and Leif Nordgren formed the men’s team Friday. Bailey also finished 15th in the men’s 12.5-kilometer pursuit Sunday.

Elsewhere, Casey Smith and Katrina Howe won their time trials to start the U.S. Biathlon IBU Cup team qualifier that continues through Wednesday at Mt. Itasca, Minn.


Amidst windy conditions and challenging competition in the biathlon middle distance races on Sunday, Andy Soule earned his third top-10 finish at the International Paralympic Committee Nordic Skiing World Cup.

Soule, a Vancouver 2010 Paralympic bronze medalist and Army veteran, finished the 12.5-kilometer sit-ski course in 47 minutes, 10.4 seconds. Air Force veteran and fellow 2010 Paralympian Sean Halsted was just behind Soule in 11th place with a time of 49:16.3. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Dan Cnossen, who was Team USA’s highest finisher in yesterday’s sprint biathlon events, had a strong start in the race Sunday but did not finish due to an equipment malfunction. The Russians were dominant in the men’s sit-ski division, earning five of the top six spots.

In the women’s sit-ski race, the U.S. women struggled against a strong Russian team, as Oksana Masters and Beth Requist finished seventh and eighth respectively out of the eight-person field.

Also competing for Team USA Sunday were Kevin Burton and guide Greg Rawlings, who finished ninth out of ten competitors in the men’s visually impaired classification, and Omar Bermejo and John Oman, who finished 12th and 13th respectively in the men’s standing division. On the women’s side, Shawn Cheshire and guide Jesse Crandall finished fourth out of four in the visually-impaired division.

The IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup continues Tuesday with long-distance biathlon events.

The U.S. Team that will compete at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games will be named no later than Jan. 31, and will be determined on a points system that includes world cup results throughout the season.


Cheyenne Lewis (women’s -57 kg.), Paige McPherson (women’s -67 kg.) and Steven Lopez (men’s -80 kg.) each reached the quarterfinals at the WTF Grand Prix Final in Manchester, England. All quarterfinalists earn world ranking points. Lauren Hamon (women’s +67 kg.) and Stephen Lambdin (men’s +80 kg.) each won once before being eliminated in the round of 16.


Jennifer Kessy and Whitney Pavlik finished the 2013 season with a bronze medal in the FIVB Durban Open in South Africa. Kessy and Pavlik went 3-1 Saturday, concluding with a 36-34, 21-18 victory over Germany’s Teresa Mersmann and Isabel Schneider in the bronze-medal match. The U.S. team’s only loss came to Germany’s Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude in the semifinals.

Derek Olson and Tri Bourne were eliminated in the men’s quarterfinals to finish tied for fifth. Lane Carico and Heather Hughes went out a round earlier in the women’s tournament to finish tied for ninth.


Jeremy Powers extended his season points lead by winning both Saturday and Sunday’s elite men’s races at the North Carolina Grand Prix, a USA Cycling Professional Cyclo-cross event in Hendersonville, N.C. Jessica Cutler won the women’s race Saturday and Sunny Gilbert won Sunday.


Rachel Fattal scored four goals and Sami Hill made 10 saves Sunday when the U.S. women defeated Greece, 13-5, to finish 5-0 and win the Holiday Cup in Santa Ana, Calif. Olympic gold medalist Melissa Seidemann scored consecutive goals early in the second quarter for 4-1 lead. The United States won matches on each of five straight days, the closest coming in Wednesday’s 12-9 opening win over Netherlands. The team then topped Canada, 15-11; Russia, 11-4; and Australia, 9-5, before beating Greece.


Caeleb Dressel and Clara Smiddy each set a pair of records at the Speedo Winter Junior National Championships, a three-day event, which concluded Saturday in Greensboro, N.C.


Team USA athletes earned 13 American, Pan-American or world records throughout the weekend at the 2013 Can-Am Para-Swimming Championships in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Cortney Jordan and Kayla Wheeler were in record-breaking form.

Among the highlights of the weekend came from Letticia Martinez who raced to both an American and Pan-American record in the 100-meter butterfly (S11). Her time of 1:24.63 also met the U.S. Paralympics National A Team standard.

Cortney Jordan, an eight-time Paralympic medalist, set a Pan-American record in the 50 backstroke (S7) with a time of 40.83. Jordan also took first in the 400 free in 5:31.26. Earlier in the weekend, Jordan set an American record in the 200 butterfly, a Pan-American record in the 200 backstroke and a world record in the 1500 freestyle.

Kayla Wheeler, who set a world record Friday in the 50 butterfly, swam to an American record in the 200 freestyle (S2) on Sunday with a time of 6:14.28.

Jessica Long, a 17-time Paralympic medalist, won two events, the 400 free and the 100 fly, in the S8 class. Ian Silverman won the 400 free in the S10 class, the event in which he won the gold medal in the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Other Team USA athletes winning Can-Am titles in Edmonton are: Haley Beranbaum (women’s S5 100 butterfly, 2:00.82), McKenzie Coan (women’s S8 50 backstroke, 40.71), Cailin Currie (women’s S13 400 freestyle, 5:15.87, 100 butterfly, 1:19.49), Laura Dennison (women’s S6 50 backstroke, 1:10.35), Tharon Drake (men’s S11 400 freestyle, 4:59.31), Anna Eames (women’s S10 100 butterfly, 1:15.42; women’s S10 50 backstroke, 40.23), Robert Griswold (men’s S9 400 freestyle, 4:45.63), Lindsay Grogan, women’s S9 400 freestyle, 5:20.11), Jordan (women’s S7 400 freestyle, 5:31.26, women’s S7 50 backstroke, 40.83) Long (women’s S8 400 freestyle, 4:48.48, S8 100 butterfly, 1:14.03), Martinez (women’s S11 50 backstroke, 45.48, women’s S11 100 butterfly, 1:26.02), Ian Silverman (men’s S10 400 freestyle, 4:13.14) Kayla Wheeler (women’s S2 200 freestyle, 6:14.28), Justin Zook (men’s S10 50 backstroke, 29.41)

Full results from the 2013 Can-Am Para-Swimming Championships, which featured more than 100 athletes from five countries, can be found at


Haji Wright scored the first and last goals Friday night when the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team defeated Brazil 4-1 to win the title of the Nike International Friendlies for the second time in three years. The United States went 2-1 in the event. Christian Pulisic, who scored a goal against Brazil, was named tournament MVP while Kevin Silva, who made five saves, was honored with the Golden Glove award.


Estevan De La Rosa and Karlie Garcia won the 17-18 age group titles at the Junior Olympic National Cross Country Championships Saturday in San Antonio, Texas.

Elsewhere, Grant Fisher and Tessa Barrett won the titles at the Foot Locker Cross Country Nationals for high school runners in San Diego Saturday. The Atlanta Track Club was the only club to take two team titles, winning the 40-plus men and 40-plus women’s divisions at the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships Saturday in Bend, Ore. Jeff Ambos won the individual title while leading Cal Coast Track Club to the team title for 50-plus men.


With 2010 Olympian Chris Plys leading the way, the United States is in a three-way tie for sixth out of 12 teams in men’s curling through four rounds in Trentino, Italy.

In ice hockey, Phil Wendecker’s overtime, power-play goal gave the United States a 3-2 win over Latvia Friday before Team USA fell to Italy 5-1 on Sunday.

The games continue through Dec. 21.

Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Tom Robinson is a freelance contributor for