|U.S. teammates Noelle Pikus-Pace (left) and Katie Uhlaender
embrace after finishing 1-2 at the FIBT World Cup in Rzhanaya
Polyana, Russia, at the Sanki Sliding Center on Feb. 16, 2013.
Bobsled and skeleton athletes were given a chance to test the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games track on the final weekend of their World Cup season.
Noelle Pikus-Pace and many of her teammates liked what they saw.
Pikus-Pace and Katie Uhlaender finished 1-2 in the women’s skeleton Saturday in Rzhanaya Polyana, Russia.
“This is such an exciting moment,” said Pikus-Pace, who had medaled in every race in 2013. “Katie and I on the podium together shows how strong we are going into the Olympic season, and a lot of that can be attributed to a great coaching staff and amazing support.
“This definitely gives me confidence going into next season and I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do a year from now.”
Uhlaender had the best time of the competition by finishing her first run in 58.98. Pikus-Pace was the only woman to break a minute on both runs for a winning combined time of 1:58.91.
In the women’s bobsled competition on Friday, Elana Meyers and Aja Evans set the track start record while taking silver.
“It feels great to medal on the Olympic track,” Meyers said.
Jamie Greubel and Katie Eberling were ninth while Jazmine Fenlator and Lolo Jones were 13th.
John Daly just missed a medal in men’s skeleton on Friday, coming within 0.07 seconds while finishing fourth. Matt Antoine was 11th and Kyle Tress was 13th.
The four-man bobsled team of Steven Holcomb, Steve Langton, Justin Olsen and Curt Tomasevicz was 11th Sunday. Cory Butner and Johnny Quinn were ninth in the two-man bobsled Saturday. Holcomb and Langton were 12th. Nick Cunningham and Dallas Robinson were 14th.
Alpine: The United States won the medals title at the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships for the first time ever, finishing with four gold medals and a bronze in Schladming, Austria.
Mikaela Shiffrin won the slalom Saturday after Ted Ligety had won his third gold medal of the championships Friday (super-combined, super-G and giant slalom). Julia Mancuso added the bronze in the super-G on Feb. 5.
Shiffrin, 17, became the youngest woman to win a world championship since American Diann Roffe, who was 21 days younger, in 1985.
“There were a lot of emotions today,” Shiffrin said. “The main one was trying to find a moment on the hill where I could just smile because I felt I was skiing well and handling the conditions well.
Ligety became the first since Jean Claude Killy in 1968 to win three gold medals at the Alpine World Championships when he won the giant slalom Friday.
“This has been an amazing two weeks,” Ligety said.
Cross Country: Andy Newell finished fourth in the classic sprint Saturday in Davos, Switzerland, for his best World Cup finish in three seasons.
Freestyle: Olympic champion Hannah Kearney won the moguls Friday in Rosa Khutor, Russia, at the test event for the Sochi Winter Games. Eliza Outtrim was second and Heather McPhie fourth. Patrick Deneen was second in the men’s competition. Dylan Ferguson and Kiley McKinnon each finished fifth in aerials Sunday.
Ski Jumping: Sarah Hendrickson used a strong second jump to come from behind and finish third at the FIS World Cup event in Ljubno, Slovenia. Lindsey Van was fifth and Jessica Jerome was seventh.
Alex Diebold finished second in the pre-Olympic snowboardcross test event Sunday in Sochi to claim his first career World Cup medal.
“I have enjoyed this course all week,” Deibold said. “It is the best World Cup course we have had so far. I think that helped alleviate some of the pressure because it was so much fun to ride.
“I’m really looking forward to next year.”
Nate Holland was fourth. Faye Gulini led the U.S. women with an eighth-place finish.
With team members slowed by the flu, the United States struggled at the World Allround Championships in Hamar, Norway. None of the men or women made it into the top eight in the overall standings following Saturday’s 1,500 meters, meaning they were not qualified to compete in the 5K or the 10K, the final two events. Jonathan Kuck placed 12th in the 1,500 on Saturday. Anna Ringsred led the women, taking 18th. Ringsred had the best U.S. finish Friday, placing 13th at 500 meters.
Lowell Bailey was in medal contention much of the way before finishing 13th Sunday at the IBU World Championships in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. Tim Burke, who on Thursday became the first U.S. athlete to medal at the world championships in 26 years, got caught in an early crash when two athletes fell in front of him. He finished 30th. The men’s 4x7.5k relay team of Bailey, Burke, Russell Currier and Leif Nordgren took 12th Saturday. The U.S. women finished 11th Friday in the 4x6k relay. Annelies Cook, Sara Studebaker, Susan Dunklee and Hannah Dreissigacker made up the team.
The Brady Clark and Erika Brown rinks won titles at the USA Curling National Championships in Green Bay, Wis. Team Clark defeated the Tyler George Rink in the final. Clark’s Seattle-based team included Sean Beighton, Darren Lehto, Philip Tilker and Steve Lundeen. It will compete in the World Men’s Championship March 30-April 7 in Victoria, British Columbia. Team Brown needed an extra end to defeat the Courtney George team, 7-6, in the women’s final. Brown is joined on the team by three-time Olympian Debbie McCormick, 2002 Olympian Ann Swisshelm and 2006 Olympian Jessica Schultz. It will compete in the Women’s World Championships March 16-24 in Riga, Latvia.
Declan Farmer and Joshua Sweeney each scored Saturday to lead the U.S. National Sled Team to a 2-1 victory over Canada Saturday and a 2-1 victory in the three-game series in Rockland, Ont., Canada.
Four-time Olympic champion Missy Franklin and Becca Mann each won two events Saturday, the third and final day of the USA Swimming Arena Grand Prix at Orlando.
Franklin won back-to-back events. She took the 200-meter backstroke and then the 100 freestyle. Mann won the 800 freestyle and 200 individual medley to finish with a total of six top-three finishes.
Ryan Lochte beat 2012 Olympic teammates Tyler Clary and Conor Dwyer, who were second and third, in the men’s 200 IM. Clary then won the 200 backstroke.
Other winners included Olympic gold medalist Anthony Ervin in the 100 free and Michael Klueh in the 1,500 free.
Franklin, Clary and Ervin, all Olympic gold medalists, also won events Saturday. Franklin won the 100 backstroke in the fastest time in the event this year, 59.34 seconds. Clary took the 200 butterfly. Ervin won the 50 freestyle.
Mann won the 400 freestyle. Christine Magnuson, a 2008 Olympic medalist, won the women’s 50 free. Ryan Murphy won the men’s 100 back and Audrey Lacroix in the women’s 200 butterfly.
Jon Reader won a freestyle gold medal at 84 kg/185 pounds Sunday at the Dan Kolov International in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Nick Marable (74 kg/163 pounds) and Wynn Michalak (96 kg/211.5 pounds) won gold earlier in the tournament and 2012 Olympic champion Jake Varner (96 kg/211.5 pounds) took silver.
Elsewhere, Kevin LeValley won a gold medal at 66 kg/145.5 pounds Saturday and the United States earned a total of six medals at the Cerro Pelado International in Havana, Cuba. Helen Maroulis (55 kg/121 pounds) and Alyssa Lampe (48 kg/105.5 pounds) won gold medals Saturday at the Outstanding Ukrainian Memorial International, a women’s freestyle event. Victoria Anthony lost to Lampe but came back to take the bronze.
TRACK AND FIELD
Bernard Lagat used a late rally in Saturday’s Millrose Games to reclaim the American indoor record in the two-mile run with a time of 8:09.49 at the New Balance Track & Field Center in the Armory.
“I was more concerned about getting the time than in winning, because when it comes down to the last two laps, 400 meters, I was going to hold off anybody,” said Lagat, one of many Olympians in the event. “When we are doing our training back in November, there is one important race, and that is the Armory.”
The 38-year-old Lagat, who also holds American indoor records at the mile and 1,500, 3,000 and 5,000 meters, was named Performer of the Meet.
Several other records fell, including the men’s and women’s marks at 600 meters. Erik Sowinski won the men’s race in 1:15.61 and Alysia Montano won the women’s in 1:23.59.
Edward Cheserek broke Gerry Lindgren’s 49-year-old record in the high school boys’ 2-mile run by finishing in 8:39.15. Mary Cain lowered her high school girls’ mile record to 4:28.25 while finishing second overall.
Chris O’Hare of Tulsa set the national college indoor men’s mile record by finishing fourth overall in 3:52.98.
Olympic champion Jenn Suhr won the pole vault by clearing 15-3.
Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Tom Robinson 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.