Team USA Weekend Preview: Feb. 15, 2013

By Paul D. Bowker | Feb. 15, 2013, 1 p.m. (ET)
Mikaela Shiffrin skis in the Women's Giant Slalom during the Alpine FIS Ski World Championships on February 14, 2013 in Schladming, Austria.

It’s an action-packed weekend of winter sports as world championships continue in alpine skiing, biathlon and speedskating. World Cup events in bobsled, skeleton and snowboarding are also in the plans, as are the U.S. championships in curling. Plus some of the top U.S. swimmers are in Orlando for another USA Swimming Grand Prix. Check out the Team USA Weekend Preview for all the details.

SKIING

FIS Alpine Ski World Championships, Feb. 4-17, Schladming, Austria

U.S. skier Ted Ligety became the first man to win three gold medals at the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships since Jean Claude Killy in 1968 when he clinched gold in the giant slalom on Friday. He was the defending champion in the event. Ligety has a chance to make it four gold medals when he competes in the slalom on Sunday.

American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin finished sixth in her World Championships debut Thursday in the women’s giant slalom. It marked her best career giant slalom finish in an international event. Julia Mancuso, a bronze medalist in the super-G, finished 22nd.

“It felt different than a normal World Cup start because I had really good training and I had a lot of confidence going into the race,” Shiffrin said. “But in the end, it was just me, my skis, and red and blue gates. It was loud, but it helps me get down (the course) because the crowd has so much energy.”

The World Championships will wrap up with the women’s slalom Saturday and the men’s slalom Sunday. The United States’ three medals is just one behind leader France.

TV: 8 p.m. ET Friday, Universal Sports; 12:30 p.m.-2 p.m. and 4 p.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Universal Sports; 3 p.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, NBC

Also in skiing:

FIS World Cup Ski Jumping, men, Feb. 15-17, Oberstdorf, Germany

Webcast: 11 a.m. ET Saturday and Sunday, universalsports.com

FIS World Cup Ski Jumping, women, Feb. 15-17, Ljubno, Slovenia

FIS World Cup Cross Country, Feb. 16-17, Davos, Switzerland

Webcast: 4:50 a.m. ET Sunday, universalsports.com

FIS World Cup Freestyle, Feb. 15-19, Sochi, Russia

Webcast: 10 a.m. ET Saturday and 10:30 a.m. Sunday, universalsports.com

BIATHLON

IBU World Championships, Feb. 7-17, Nove Mesto, Czech Republic

Tim Burke became the first U.S. athlete to medal at the IBU World Championships in 26 years when he claimed the silver medal Thursday in the men’s 20-kilometer individuals in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. It was the first world medal for a U.S. athlete since Josh Thompson earned silver in the same event in 1987 in Lake Placid, N.Y.

And Burke is not done yet. He and Lowell Bailey will compete in Sunday’s 15k mass start. The men’s 7.5k relay is Saturday. Annelies Cook, Sara Studebaker, Susan Dunklee and Hannah Dreissigacker will race in the women’s 4x6km relay Friday.

On Thursday, Burke had a time of 50:06.5, with two penalties. He finished 23.5 seconds back of France’s Martin Fourcade.

“I’m so proud,” Burke said. “It’s been such a big effort by our entire team and organization, and it feels great to help finally make that come together. It was one of those races where I ended up being by myself for most of the race, so I wasn’t able to judge where I was from the others, but my shooting went really well so I knew I was going to be up there.”

Webcast: 6 a.m. ET Sunday, universalsports.com

SPEEDSKATING

Essent ISU Long Track World Allround Championships, Feb. 15-16, Hamar, Norway

Two-time Olympian Shani Davis, and 2010 Olympians Heather Richardson and Jonathan Kuck will be among the expected U.S. skaters looking for podium finishes at the Essent ISU Long Track World Allround Championships, which begin Friday in Hamar, Norway. Richardson already is the 2013 world sprint champion and broke three U.S. records at the national championships.

Brian Hansen prepped for the world allround championships by earning a bronze medal in the men’s 1,500-meter race at last week’s World Cup event in Inzell, Germany. Davis had a top-10 finish in the same race.

Webcast: 8 a.m. ET Saturday and 7:10 a.m. Sunday, universalsports.com

BOBSLED/SKELETON

World Cup, Feb. 15-17, Sochi, Russia

The 2012-13 season’s final World Cup event this weekend will be a test event for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The races begin Friday on the newly constructed track located about one hour northeast of Sochi.

Noelle Pikus-Pace, who won gold and silver at the 2013 World Championships, and Katie Uhlaender, a four-time World Cup medalist this season, will race for gold in the women’s skeleton on Saturday. Katie Eberling, a silver medalist at the World Championships, will combine with Jamie Greubel to form one of three U.S. teams in the women’s bobsled Friday. Also racing will be world silver medalist Elana Meyers and Aja Evans, and Jazmine Fenlator and 2012 track Olympian Lolo Jones.

Olympic gold medalist and 2013 world bronze medalist Steven Holcomb and his push crew of Steve Langton, Justin Olsen and Curt Tomasevicz will be one of three U.S. teams in the four-man bobsled. U.S. sleds in the two-man competition include Cory Butner and Chris Fogt, and Nick Cunningham and Dallas Robinson.

Competition began today with John Daly finishing fourth in the men’s skeleton World Cup finale. Daly slid a strong performance to finish a mere 0.07 seconds from the medals to cap a season of ups and downs. Racing continues today with the women’s bobsled World Cup event.

TV: 11 a.m.-noon and 2-3 p.m. ET Saturday, Universal Sports

SNOWBOARDING

FIS World Cup, Feb. 10-17, Sochi, Russia

Olympic gold medalist Kelly Clark won the halfpipe on Thursday in an FIS World Cup that is the test event for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. She dominated the women’s field with a score of 88.25 on her first run in warm conditions that produced a soft base of snow.

“It was challenging this week due to the warm weather,” Clark said, “but the event organizers made the right call to make practice at the right time and did their best to maintain the conditions. I‘m pleased with how the event went tonight (Thursday) for me and, realistically, moving forward this could be a similar situation next year.”

The event continues with men’s and women’s parallel slalom Friday, and snowboardcross Saturday and Sunday.

Webcast: 2:30 a.m. ET Sunday, universalsports.com

CURLING

USA Curling National Championships, Feb. 9-16, Green Bay, Wis.

Three-time Olympian Debbie McCormick helped the Erika Brown rink win a semifinal-round match Thursday night as the team advanced to Saturday’s gold medal match at the USA Curling National Championships. Learn more about Team Erika Brown here. My heart is beating out of my chest,” McCormick said after the team‘s 8-7 win over a team skipped by defending champion Allison Pottinger. “This means so much to me to make it back to the final.”

Team Brown team will meet the Courtney George team in the final. George, a four-time national bronze medalist, is in the championship match for the first time.

Tyler George and two-time Olympian John Shuster grabbed the top two seeds in the men’s division with 7-2 records, and were to play in the 1-2 playoff Friday. Also in the playoffs are the Heath McCormick and Brady Clark rinks. McCormick, the defending champion, will face Clark in the 3-4 playoff.

The winning men’s and women’s teams at Saturday’s championship matches will represent the United States at the world championships, and also qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials.

TV: 9 p.m. ET Friday, Universal Sports; 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday, NBC Sports Network

Also in curling:

World Wheelchair Curling Championship, Feb. 16-23, Sochi, Russia

SWIMMING

Arena Grand Prix, Feb. 14-16, Orlando

Olympic gold medalists Missy Franklin, Dana Vollmer and Tyler Clary each struck gold on the opening night of competition Thursday in the Arena Grand Prix in Orlando.

Franklin, a four-time gold medalist at the London 2012 Olympic Games, cruised to a win in the women’s 200-meter freestyle with a time of 1:58.01. Vollmer won the 100 fly in 58.91 seconds. Clary won the men’s 400 IM in 4:24.56. Olympic gold medalist Conor Dwyer captured bronze.

The event continues Friday and Saturday at the YMCA Aquatic Center in Orlando. The meet will heat up with Olympian Ryan Lochte, who is seeded No. 1 in four events. Included is the men’s 200 IM, in which Lochte is No. 1 and Dwyer is No. 2.

Franklin is also seeded No. 1 in four events, including the 200 free she won Friday. A teenage battle could evolve in the women’s 100 backstroke, in which the 18-year-old Franklin will face 17-year-old Olivia Smoliga. In the men’s 100 backstroke, 17-year-old Ryan Murphy is the top seed with a blistering time of 53.76 seconds.

TV: 6 p.m. ET Friday and Saturday, Universal Sports

TRACK AND FIELD

Millrose Games, Feb. 16, New York City

Duane Solomon, a 2012 Olympian who broke an American record at 600 meters in January at the Five Nations Match in Scotland, will be among multiple Olympians competing Saturday at the 106th Millrose Games in New York City. Solomon and Olympic teammate Nick Symmonds will both be chasing down a new record in the 600. Solomon’s record-setting time in Scotland was 1:15.70.

Other Olympians in the meet will include Olympic long jump champion Brittney Reese, two-time Olympic medalist Jenn Suhr in the pole vault, mile runner Bernard Lagat, high jumper Chaunte Howard-Lowe, hurdler Jason Richardson and long jumper Janay DeLoach.

TV: 8-10 p.m. ET Saturday, ESPN3; 8-10 p.m. Sunday, ESPN

GYMNASTICS

USA Gymnastics Rhythmic Challenge and Group Championships, Feb. 13-17, Colorado Springs

Rebecca Sereda, the reigning national all-around champion, is among 12 current U.S. Rhythmic National Team members competing in the 2013 Rhythmic Challenge this weekend at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The event is the first rhythmic competition in the 2013-16 Olympic cycle and will be used to choose national team members for international competition.

Nastia Liukin Cup Series, Feb. 15-17, various locations

The final weekend of qualifying for the fourth annual Nastia Liukin Cup will take place at five venues: The Magical Classic, Orlando, Fla.; Buckeye Classic, Columbus, Ohio; Presidential Classic, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.; WOGA Classic, Frisco, Texas; Arizona Sunrays Classic Rock Invitational, Phoenix, Ariz. The top gymnasts will advance to compete in the Nastia Liukin Cup on March 1 in Worcester, Mass.

WRESTLING

Dan Kolov International, Feb. 15-17, Plodiv, Bulgaria

Olympic gold medalist Jake Varner and 2013 Dave Schultz Memorial champion Jon Reader are among seven U.S. men’s freestyle wrestlers who will compete in the Dan Kolov International in Bulgaria. Varner, one of three U.S. wrestlers at 96kg/211.5 pounds, earned a bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships and was a two-time NCAA champion at Iowa State. Reader, also an NCAA champ at Iowa State, will compete at 84kg/185 pounds.

The Kolov International is one of five international tournaments that U.S. wrestlers are competing in this weekend. Overall, 36 Americans are in action. Elena Pirozhkova, a 2012 Olympian and 2012 world champion, did not travel because she is recovering from a concussion sustained in practice.

Also in wrestling:

Cerro Pelado International, men’s freestyle, Feb. 14-16, Havana, Cuba

Granma Cup, Greco-Roman, Feb. 14-16, Havana, Cuba

Outstanding Ukranian Memorial International, women’s freestyle, Feb. 12-18, Kiev, Ukraine

Klippan Lady’s Open, women’s freestyle Feb. 12-21, Klippan, Sweden

FENCING

World Cup, men’s foil, Feb. 15, Heidenheim, Germany

Olympians Alexander Massialas and Race Imboden will pursue podium finishes Friday in a men’s foil World Cup tournament in Heidenheim, Germany. Massialas placed 11th in the season’s first World Cup two weeks ago in Paris. The U.S. squad won its first team gold at the Paris event.

Junior Olympic Fencing Championships, Feb. 15-18, Baltimore

Junior world gold medalists Michael Dudey and Jerry Chang are among more than 1,500 athletes who are competing for U.S. Junior Olympic titles this weekend in Baltimore. The event is the final selection tournament that will decide roster spots for the U.S. team that will participate in the 2013 Junior and Cadet World Championships.

Also in fencing:

World Cup, men’s saber, Feb. 15, Padoue, Italy

Junior World Cup, men’s and women’s saber, Feb. 15, Budapest, Hungary

SOCCER

U.S. Men’s U-20 National Team vs. Haiti, Feb. 18, Puebla, Mexico

The U.S. Men’s U-20 National Team will begin play in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship on Tuesday, when it faces Haiti in Puebla, Mexico. The top four teams in the tournament will advance to play in the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup, which begins June 21 in Turkey.

TV: 6:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, Fox Soccer

ICE HOCKEY

U.S. National Sled Hockey Team vs. Canada, Feb. 14-16, Rockland, Ont.

The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team will face Canada on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, concluding a three-game series at the Canadian International Hockey Academy Arena in Rockland, Ont., Canada. The series is a final preparation before the United States defends its world title in April at the IPC World Championship in Korea. The United States defeated Canada in the title game of the 2012 World Sledge Hockey Challenge.

LUGE

Junior World Cup, Feb. 15-16, Winterberg, Germany

The final Junior World Cup event of the season will be held Friday and Saturday in Winterberg, Germany. Riley Stohr has medaled in three consecutive races, including bronze last week in Igls, Austria.

WEIGHTLIFTING

National Junior Weightlifting Championships, Feb. 16-17, Foster City, Calif.

Junior titles will be up for grabs when the National Junior Weightlifting Championships are held Saturday and Sunday in Foster City, Calif. Nine competition sessions are scheduled over the two days at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Foster City.

RACQUETBALL

USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships, Feb. 13-17, Tempe, Ariz.

Competition continues through Sunday in the USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships, which are being held at Arizona State University in Tempe. In addition to national titles being decided in multiple age divisions, the tournament in the men’s and women’s team qualifying divisions will determine spots for the U.S. National Team.

Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor for TeamUSA.org. Material from various news services and press releases from National Governing Bodies was used to compile this report. This story was not subject to the approval of any National Governing Bodies.

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