Team USA Weekend Preview: Dec. 27, 2013

By Paul D. Bowker | Dec. 27, 2013, 9 a.m. (ET)
Heather Richardson competes in the 500-meter race at the Essent ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships at the Adler Arena Skating Center on March 24, 2013 in Sochi, Russia.


2014 U.S. Olympic Team Trials — Long Track Speedskating, Dec. 27-Jan. 1, Kearns, Utah

The 2014 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Long Track Speedskating, a five-day event that will be used to determine the long track speedskating athletes who will compete in Sochi begin Friday with the men’s 5,000-meter and women’s 3,000 races at the Utah Olympic Oval.

Speedskater Heather Richardson poses for a portrait during the
NBC Olympics/United States Olympic Committee photo shoot on
April 23, 2013 in West Hollywood, Calif.

Heather Richardson, a 2010 Olympian and the world cup leader this year with four medals at 1,000 meters, will compete in her marquee event Sunday. That race also features Brittany Bowe, who set a world record in the 1,000 at Utah Olympic Oval in November. Richardson, the 2013 world sprint champion, is also a top contender in the 500 and 1,500.

Richardson is seeking to win the first Olympic medal among U.S. long track women since 2002.

The United States can nominate up to 10 women, including four in the 1,000- and 500 distances, and up to 10 men, including four in the 1,000- , 1,500- and 500 distances. The 500 races will be held Saturday, followed by the 1,000 Sunday, 1,500 Tuesday, and the women’s 5,000 and men’s 1,000 Wednesday.

The top men include three-time Olympian Shani Davis, two-time Olympian Tucker Fredricks and 2010 Olympic silver medalist Jonathan Kuck. Fredericks and Davis are seeking a spots on their third U.S. Olympic Team. Davis won the gold medal at 1,000 meters and the silver medal at 1,500 in both Torino and Vancouver.

The 2014 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Short Track Speedskating are set for Jan. 2-5 in Salt Lake City.

TV: 8 p.m.-10 p.m. ET Friday, NBC Sports Network; 3 p.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, NBC


2014 U.S. Olympic Team Trials Nordic Combined & Ski Jumping, Dec. 29, Park City, Utah

Lindsey Van, the 2009 world champion, and Jessica Jerome are among the top contenders in the first trials for women’s ski jumping. The 2014 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Nordic Combined & Ski Jumping for women’s and men’s ski jumping will be held Sunday at Utah Olympic Park in Park City, Utah.

Women’s ski jumping is making its debut at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

“Competing in Olympic Trials in my hometown is something I have imagined for a long time,” Jerome said. “This is such a historical season already with the first chance for women to jump in the Games. Now to be able to compete with the nation’s top field to earn our nomination to the team will turn one of our lifelong dreams into reality.”

The winner of each competition will receive nominations to the U.S. Olympic Team, pending approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee. Additional ski jumping nominations will be announced Jan. 22.

Sarah Hendrickson, the 2013 women’s world champion and 2012 FIS World Cup champion, is a top contender for one of those additional selections. She is out of competition this week due to a knee injury.

TV: 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m. ET Sunday, NBC

Also in ski jumping:

FIS World Cup, men, Dec. 28-29, Oberstdorf, Germany


2014 U.S. Olympic Team Trials Nordic Combined & Ski Jumping, Dec. 28, Park City, Utah

Olympic gold medalist Billy Demong, and brothers Bryan and Taylor Fletcher will be among those competing Saturday for Olympic spots at the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Nordic Combined & Ski Jumping at Utah Olympic Park.

Bryan Fletcher placed ninth last week in a world cup race in Schonach, Germany. Younger brother, Taylor, is a 2010 Olympian.

Competition on Saturday will consist of ski jumping and a 10-kilometer race.

“I’m really looking forward to having a domestic event that will showcase our sport going into the Sochi Olympics,” Demong said, “especially having it at the home of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. It really shows connectivity and legacy here in Salt Lake City and Park City for the Olympics.”

TV: 1:30 p.m. -3 p.m. ET Sunday, NBC


U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Canada, Dec. 28, St. Paul, Minn.

The U.S. Women’s National Team will seek its third consecutive victory against rival Canada Saturday in the final game of its “Bring on the World Tour.” The game will be played at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul., Minn.

Team USA defeated Canada, 4-1, in a game that ended with a brawl among several players last week in Grand Forks, N.D. The teams also will play Monday night in Toronto.

The two games will be the last ones prior to the naming of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Women’s Team Jan. 1 during the NHL Winter Classic in Ann Arbor, Mich. Only two more players must be cut by coach Katey Stone. The 2014 U.S. Olympic Men’s Team also will be announced at the NHL Winter Classic between periods of the Detroit Red Wings-Toronto Maple Leafs game.

TV: 4 p.m. ET Saturday, NBC Sports Network

IIHF World Junior Championship, Dec. 26-Jan. 5, Malmo, Sweden

The U.S. National Junior Team will face Slovakia Saturday and Germany Sunday in the preliminary round of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship in Sweden. Team USA defeated the Czech Republic, 5-1, in its tournament opener Thursday.

TV: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday, NHL Network



FIS World Cup Alpine, men’s downhill, Dec. 27-29, Bormio, Italy

Four-time Olympian Bode Miller, Steven Nyman and Marco Sullivan will be among the U.S. skiers aiming for podium finishes in a men’s downhill world cup race Sunday in Bormio, Italy. Training runs are scheduled for Friday and Saturday. Miller placed fifth in the downhill last week in Val Gardena, Italy.

Also in skiing:

FIS World Cup Alpine, women’s giant slalom and slalom, Dec. 28-29, Lienz, Austria

TV: 11 a.m. ET Saturday and Sunday, Universal Sports

FIS World Cup Cross Country, Tour De Ski, women and men, Dec. 28-29, Oberhof, Germany

TV: 7 p.m. ET Saturday, Universal Sports


U.S. Paralympics Biathlon and Cross Country Skiing National Championships, Dec. 30-Jan. 8, Midway, Utah

Competition begins Monday in the U.S. Paralympics national championships for biathlon and cross-country skiing. The event will be held at Soldier Hollow Ski Center in Midway, Utah.


US Biathlon Youth/Junior World Championships Team Trials, Dec. 27-30, Presque Isle, Maine

The U.S. Team Trials for the Youth/Junior World Championships for biathlon will be held this weekend at Nordic Heritage Sports Center in Presque Isle, Maine. The Trials will include sprint competition Friday and Sunday, and pursuit Saturday.


29er U.S. National Championship, Dec. 31-Jan. 3, Miami

Racing begins Tuesday in the 29er U.S. National Championship hosted by the Coconut Grove Sailing Club in Miami. The event is a qualifier for the 2014 U.S. Youth Worlds Team.

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