|Sarah Hammer celebrates winning the women's omnium during
the 2013 UCI Track World Championships at the Minsk
Arena on Feb, 24, 2013, in Minsk, Belarus.
Sarah Hammer earned her sixth career gold medal and second one this week by winning the women's omnium event Sunday. Hammer, who won the individual pursuit Wednesday, scored 20 points in the overall omnium standings after six events, four points better than defending world champion Laura Trott of Britain, who beat the American for the Olympic gold in the discipline last summer at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Hammer wept with joy after the race and then picked up an American flag and rode with it over her head around the track at Minsk Arena.
“It's unbelievable,” Hammer said. “It just doesn't feel real to me right now. I always had it in the back of my mind, but to be honest I was aiming to be in the top eight in all the events, and to qualify first, it gave me a bit of confidence. But in omnium you never know it till it's over. I knew I had the legs to be up first, but actually, to be the world champion -- this is crazy.”
Hammer was the only rider representing the United States at the championships.
The United States had never won a gold medal in an FIS Nordic World Ski Championships cross-country event.
But Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins changed all that Sunday when they won the team sprint title by nearly eight seconds.
Randall entered the stadium in Val di Fiemme, Italy with a big lead and the title in sight.
“That was so incredible, just seeing that clean snow in front of me and crossing the line,” she said. “I tried to be stoic and stand up for a while but my legs were pretty dead.
“That moment when your teammate comes running out and it starts to sink in that you’re world champions — it’s incredible.”
Diggins took the lead in the second of her three legs. She finished the third leg right behind Sweden and Finland as the three leaders arrived together. Randall took it from there.
“Anytime you’re sprinting with the best sprinter in the world, it’s like, ‘All right!’ Because I knew that if I could get her to take off in good position then she’d be able to hold it and improve upon it,” Diggins said. “So I just tried to get her in the best spot I could and I have absolute confidence in her.”
The title continued a strong U.S. performance in the World Championships, which began Wednesday and continue through March 2.
Billy Demong led the United States to a bronze in the Nordic combined team event Sunday. Todd Lodwick, Taylor Fletcher and Bryan Fletcher were also part of the team in the event, which combines jumping and cross country. It was the first ever world championship medal for the United States in the Nordic combined team event.
Sarah Hendrickson won the ski jumping title Friday. Women’s ski jumping will be included in the Olympic Winter Games for the first time next winter in Sochi.
The United States was sixth in the first mixed gender team ski jumping event at the world championships. Hendrickson, Jessica Jerome, Anders Johnson and Peter Frenette made up the team for Sunday’s competition.
Ted Ligety followed up his three gold medals at the World Championships by finishing third Sunday in the FIS Alpine World Cup giant slalom in Garmisch, Germany. He has four victories and two third-place finishes in six World Cup giant slalom races this season.
Elsewhere, Julia Mancuso finished fourth in the super combined Sunday after taking 13th in the downhill Saturday at the women’s World Cup event in Meribel, France.
Emily Cook won her third career World Cup freestyle event by taking the aerials title Saturday in Bukovel, Ukraine. Cook was one of three U.S. women to finish in the top five. Kiley McKinnon was fourth and Allison Lee fifth.
“I’m so proud to be on top of the podium, but it makes me even more proud to have so many of my teammates surrounding me with incredible results,” Cook said. “We have a really young team but the results they are posting are really spectacular.”
Dylan Ferguson was second among the men.
Elsewhere, Bradley Wilson earned his first career single moguls podium finish by placing second in the World Cup event in Inawashiro, Japan.
Mariel Zagunis beat two-time Olympic medalist Olga Kharlan of Ukraine in the final Saturday to earn her first gold medal of the year with a victory at the Gent Saber World Cup in Belgium.
On her way to the gold medal, Zagunis had to beat U.S. teammates Ibtihaj Muhammad and Eliza Stone. Stone finished seventh, Muhammad was 13th and Dagmara Wozniak placed 18th.
Elsewhere, the United States team of Alexander Massialas, Race Imboden, Gerek Meinhardt and Miles Chamley-Watson claimed the silver medal at the World Cup men’s foil event in La Coruia, Spain.
The United States won its final two matches to take third place at the Freestyle World Cup in Tehran, Iran. The Americans’ only loss came in pool play against eventual champions Iran. Team USA beat Belarus in the bronze-medal match. Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs led the way for the United States with a 5–0 record.
A fifth-place relay finish in the World Cup season finale Sunday at Krasnaya Polyana, Russia, allowed the United States to place third in the season standings in the team relay event.
The team relay will make its Olympic debut on the same track a year from now in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Erin Hamlin and Chris Mazdzer handled the singles legs and Jake Hyrns and Andrew Sherk did the doubles leg of the relay.
Mazdzer, a 2010 Olympian, was 12th in men’s singles and finished 13th in the season standings. Hamlin, a two-time Olympian, was seventh in Saturday’s women’s singles competition while 2010 Olympian Julia Clukey was 10th.
Hyrns and Shirk took 11th in doubles. Two-time Olympian Christian Niccum returned from two injuries to make his only appearance of the season, taking 12th in men’s doubles along with Jayson Terdiman.
SPEEDSKATING: Emery Lehman won the men’s 5K Saturday after earning a bronze medal in the men’s 3K Friday at the World Junior Long Track Championships in Collalbo, Italy. Elsewhere, John-Henry Kreuger, Aaron Tran, Ian Quinn and Thomas Hong formed the fourth-place junior men’s relay team at the Short Track World Championships Sunday in Warsaw, Poland.
TAEKWONDO: Steven Thompson finished second in men’s bantam division for the best U.S. finish in the senior division of the U.S. Open Taekwondo Championships, which were held Wednesday through Saturday in Las Vegas.
BOXING: Flyweight Shawn Simpson and light welterweight Erickson Lubin won titles Friday at the Independence Cup in Santiago, Dominican Republic. Light flyweight Leroy Davila, lightweight Kenneth Sims Jr. and welterweight Rashidi Ellis earned silver medals.
SOCCER: The United States shut out Costa Rica, 1-0, Friday in Puebla, Mexico to win Group A of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship. The win puts the United States in the quarterfinals, where one more victory would clinch a spot in the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
CURLING: The United States lost to China in the bronze-medal match and finished fourth at the World Wheelchair Curling Championships at Sochi, Russia. Patrick McDonald, David Palmer, Jimmy Joseph, Penny Greely and Meghan Lino made up the lineup.
FIGURE SKATING: Alex Johnson won his first international medal with a silver at the Challenge Cup in The Hague, Netherlands, after winning the free skate. Tarah Kayne and Daniel O’Shea also took silver in their international pairs debut.
WATER SKIING: The United States won the overall team gold medal and three athletes won individual events at the Junior World Championships that concluded Sunday in Mulwala, Australia. Erika Lang, Taylor Garcia, Brooke Baldwin and Kara MacIntyre made up the team. Baldwin, an alternate, took over a spot on the team when Nicholas Lang suffered a dislocated elbow practicing the day before the five-day event began. Garcia won the boys’ jumping, Erika Lang won the girls’ tricks and overall and Samantha Dumala, competing as an independent, won the girls’ slalom gold medals.
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.