Team USA Weekend Preview: Dec. 20, 2013

By Paul D. Bowker | Dec. 20, 2013, 9 a.m. (ET)
Shaun White competes during qualifying for the men's slopestyle at the U.S. Snowboarding and Freeskiing Grand Prix on Dec. 19, 2013 in Copper Mountain, Colo.

With less than 50 days remaining until Opening Ceremony at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, there are Olympic qualifiers for Team USA athletes in snowboarding and freeskiing, while world cup events will take place in alpine, freestyle and cross-country skiing, snowboardcross, Nordic combined and ski jumping. Phew. Check out the Team USA Weekend Preview for all the details on the skiing, snowboarding and other events taking place this weekend.


Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix, Dec. 18-22, Copper Mountain, Colo.

Shaun White, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in halfpipe who is also seeking a 2014 Olympic berth in slopestyle, is expected to compete at the Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix in slopestyle even though he suffered an ankle injury last weekend on a Dew Tour stop in Breckenridge, Colo. The Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix is the second Olympic qualifying event being used to determine the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team for snowboarding halfpipe and slopestyle.

Slopestyle qualifying finishes up Friday at Copper Mountain, Colo. The halfpipe snowboarding finals will be held Saturday, followed by the slopestyle finals Sunday. Slopestyle is a new Olympic discipline for 2014.

Kelly Clark takes second place in the women's snowboard
superpipe final at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships on
Dec. 14, 2013 in Breckenridge, Colorado.

White finished second in halfpipe at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships last week in Breckenridge, Colo., and was the leader after qualifying in slopestyle, but he withdrew from the slopestyle finals due to an injured ankle. He is expected to compete in slopestyle this weekend.

Other top athletes include Kelly Clark and Arielle Gold, who are the leading American women in halfpipe Olympic qualifying points; Chas Guldemond and Sage Kotsenburg, the leading men in slopestyle qualifying points; and Jamie Anderson, the top woman in slopestyle after winning the Dew Tour event last weekend.

TV: 3 p.m.-4 p.m. ET Sunday, NBC; 10 p.m.-11 p.m. Dec. 27, NBC Sports Network

Also in snowboarding:

FIS World Cup, women’s snowboardcross, Dec. 20-21, Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada


Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix, Dec. 18-21, Copper Mountain, Colo.

Halfpipe skiers David Wise and Maddie Bowman, and slopestyle skiers Nick Goepper and Devin Logan enter the second Olympic qualification event as leaders in the points standings.

The Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix will feature the halfpipe finals Friday and slopestyle finals Saturday. Both freeskiing events are new to the Olympic program in 2014.

U.S. athletes swept both halfpipe events at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships last week in Breckenridge, Colo., placing them in advantageous position for Olympic nominations. Wise, Aaron Blunck and Lyman Currier can meet the Olympic criteria with another podium finish. The same is true for Bowman, Angeli VanLaanen and Brita Sigourney on the women’s side.

Logan won last week’s Dew Tour event in slopestyle and 15-year-old Maggie Voisin finished third.

TV: 2 p.m.-3 p.m. ET Saturday, NBC Sports Network; 2 p.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, NBC


FIS World Cup Alpine, women’s downhill and giant slalom, Dec. 18-22, Val d’Isere, France

Four-time overall world cup champion Lindsey Vonn is expected to race in a world cup downhill race Saturday in Val d’Isere, France. Returning from a knee injury, Vonn competed two weeks ago and then took a week off from competition to train in France. She has won the Val d’Isere downhill three previous times.

Others U.S. skiers in the downhill include Julia Mancuso, Stacey Cook, Laurenne Ross, Alice McKennis and Leanne Smith. The giant slalom will be held Sunday. Mancuso led the U.S. team with a 12th-place finish in the giant slalom last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

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

FIS World Cup Alpine, men’s super-G and downhill, Dec. 18-21, Val Gardena, Italy

Bode Miller, Ted Ligety and Marco Sullivan are among the U.S. men’s skiers competing in the FIS World Cup in Val Gardena, Italy. The super-G race will be held Friday, followed by the downhill Saturday.

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


FIS World Cup Aerials, women and men, Dec. 21-22, Beijing

Ashley Caldwell, a 2010 Olympian, seeks her second consecutive podium finish in the world cup aerials competition Friday and Saturday at the Bird’s Nest venue in Beijing. She won a silver medal in last week’s season opener in Beida Lake, China.


FIS World Cup Cross Country, women’s and men’s sprint, Dec. 21-22, Asiago, Italy

World cup sprint champion Kikkan Randall will chase after more podium finishes in the world cup stop in Asiago, Italy. Randall earned a silver medal in the skate sprint last week in Davos, Switzerland, and is the leader in the world cup sprint standings.

Also in skiing:

FIS World Cup Nordic Combined, Dec. 21-22, Schonach, Germany

FIS World Cup Ski Jumping, men, Dec. 20-22, Engelberg, Switzerland

FIS World Cup Ski Jumping, women, Dec. 21-22, Hinterzarten, Germany

FIS World Cup Freestyle, men’s and women’s ski cross, Dec. 20-22, Innichen/San Candido, Italy


U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Canada, Dec. 20, Grand Forks, N.D.

The U.S. Women’s National Team will play Canada Friday night as a part of its “Bring on the World Tour.” The game has a 7 p.m. CT start at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D.

Team USA defeated Canada, 5-1, Dec. 12 in Calgary, Canada. The final U.S. men’s and women’s Olympic ice hockey teams will be announced at the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic New Year’s Day in Ann Arbor, Mich. The U.S. women’s team has been training together in Bedford, Mass., but will need to cut the squad down to 21 from the current 23.


USA Diving Winter National Championships, Dec. 16-22, Austin, Texas

David Boudia, a London 2012 Olympic gold medalist, will go for a USA Diving Winter National title and a spot on the 2014 world cup team in the men’s 3-meter finals Saturday in Austin, Texas. Boudia was the leader after the preliminary and semifinal rounds Wednesday.

The finals in women’s 10-meter, women’s synchronized 3-meter and men’s synchronized 10-meter will also be held Saturday. The women’s individual 3-meter, men’s 10-meter, women’s synchronized 10-meter and men’s synchronized 3-meter finals will be Sunday.

The top two finishers in the 1-, 3- and 10-meter individual competitions will be named to the world cup team. The top eight in each discipline are eligible to compete in 2014 grand prix events. The synchro teams for the world cup will be named following a separate trial in 2014.

Aaron Fleshner and Tory Ishimatsu already won the individual 1-meter titles.


Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool, Dec. 20-21, Glasgow, Scotland

Olympic gold medalists Katie Ledecky, Tyler Clary, Conor Dwyer, Jessica Hardy and Anthony Ervin are among 34 U.S. swimmers who will compete Friday and Saturday in the Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool. The event, in which the United States is unbeaten in five previous competitions, features U.S. swimmers against a team of European All-Stars.

The U.S. team includes 14 Olympians and nine gold medalists. The meet will be held at Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow, which is the venue for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. There will be 13 individual events and two relays for both men and women in short-course distances.

Eleven-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte will not compete because of a knee injury. He was replaced by Tom Shields, the U.S. short-course record-holder in the 100 and 200 butterfly.

TV: 4 p.m.-6 p.m. ET Sunday, NBC


UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup, Dec. 22, Namur, Belgium

World cup points leader Katie Compton will seek her fourth consecutive podium finish Saturday in the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Namur, Belgium. Compton has won two races and been runner-up once. Two races will be held in Belgium in the next week.

Other U.S. cyclists include Crystal Anthony, Christine Vardaros and Jonathan Page.


US National Championships, Dec. 17-21, Las Vegas

More than 700 of the nation’s best table tennis players are competing in the US National Championships at the Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. Competition continues through Saturday.


IMG Cup, Dec. 18-22, Bradenton, Fla.

The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team will play Tottenham Friday and Queretaro Sunday in the IMG Cup at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The national team is playing four games in the tournament following its win in the Nike International Friendlies last week.


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

The U.S. Men’s National University Ice Hockey Team will play Kazakhstan Friday in the semifinals at the Winter World University Games. Goaltender Wyatt Waselenchuk of Minot State University defeated Italy, 5-0, in the quarterfinals Wednesday.

The U.S. women will play Japan for third place Friday. They lost to Russia 3-2 in a shootout in Wednesday’s semifinals.

Chris Plys, a 2010 Olympian, helped lead the U.S. men’s curling team to a fifth-place finish with a 5-5 record. A 4-3 loss in a tiebreaker to Norway on Wednesday prevented the United States from qualifying for the playoffs. The U.S. women finished in eighth place. Medal-round games will be played Saturday.

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