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Team USA Weekend Wrap-Up: Jan. 21, 2013

By Tom Robinson | Jan. 21, 2013, 11:06 a.m. (ET)

Taylor Fletcher competes during the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup team sprint on January 13, 2013 in Chaux-Neuve, France. 

Nordic combined skier Taylor Fletcher earned his first World Cup medal, finishing third in the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup in Seefeld, Austria.

Fletcher was 21st after the jump and managed to post the fastest cross country time. It was his best jumping finish ever and the fourth time this season Fletcher skied the fastest cross country time.

"I am very very excited," Fletcher said. "I am growing into the sport and becoming a great skier. Now each day I can go on with a bigger heart and push it even more."

Fletcher's older brother Bryan earned his first World Cup win one year ago. Bryan Fletcher finished 24th in Seefeld.

Bryan Fletcher tweeted: "@TFletchernordic got his first podium today! That means I am stoked! Congrats baby bro. Remember I can still beat you up!"

Alpine Skiing: Illness has forced Lindsey Vonn to miss her share of competition this season, but when she has been healthy enough to race, she has consistently remained among the best in Audi FIS Alpine World Cup skiing.

That was the case again Saturday when Vonn won and teammate Leanne Smith finished third in the downhill at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

“It feels good to be back on the podium, especially with my teammate Leanne,” Vonn said.

Vonn has won five titles this season, giving her a total of 58 career alpine wins.

“It was a perfect day,” Vonn said. “Right away from inspection the sun was shining and the snow was perfect. I feel so comfortable here in Cortina and I knew it would be a good day.”

The victory put Vonn first in the World Cup downhill standings. Fellow American Stacey Cook is second, while Alice McKennis is fourth and Smith sixth.

Julia Mancuso was fifth, Smith sixth and Vonn seventh Sunday in the super-G.

Elsewhere, Ted Ligety finished 13th in the slalom at the men’s FIS Alpine World Cup event in Wengen, Switzerland. Marco Sullivan had the same finish, 13th, Saturday in the downhill.

Cross Country: The U.S. women were ninth and the men 10th in the 4x5k relay to conclude the FIS World Cup event Sunday in LaClusaz, France. In the 10k classic mass start, Liz Stephen was 15th and was joined in the top 30 by Jessie Diggins, Sadie Bjornsen and Ida Sargent.

Freestyle: Emily Cook jumped to a third-place finish Friday in the USANA Freestyle Cup, a World Cup event in Lake Placid, N.Y. Nevin Brown matched his career-best by finishing seventh and Kiley McKinnon had her career-best by placing 10th Saturday.

SNOWBOARDING

Arielle Gold, a 16-year-old U.S. snowboard rookie, won her career FIS World Championship title Sunday in the halfpipe finals at Shoneham, Quebec.

“Last week, I was bummed coming in fourth in the Grand Prix and it seemed like I couldn’t break through to the top three,” said Gold, who finished second in both the slopestyle and halfpipe at the Youth Olympic Games in Austria last season. “ … I truly couldn’t be happier.”

Kaitlyn Farrington was fourth. It was a big weekend for U.S. teenagers. Ty Walker was fifth in the women’s slopestyle Friday.

The championships continue through Jan. 27.

SWIMMING

Missy Franklin was a winner in each of the three days of the USA Swimming Arena Austin Grand Prix in Texas.

Franklin’s victory in the 100-meter backstroke Sunday was her fourth of the meet. She was the only swimmer under 30 seconds in the first 50 meters and finished in 1:00.00.

Nathan Adrian shared the spotlight with Franklin when the meet opened Friday. The first final of the night was the 100 freestyle.

Franklin won the women’s race and Adrian set a pool record of 48.32 seconds to beat a loaded field in the men’s final. Fellow Olympians Ricky Berens and Jimmy Feigen finished second and third behind Adrian, the winner of the event at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Friday’s other winners included: B.J. Johnson and Rachel Nicol in the 200 breaststroke, Eugene Godsoe and Noemie Thomas in the 100 butterfly, and Chloe Sutton in the women’s 400 freestyle.

Saturday was the big night for Franklin with wins in the 200 backstroke and 200 freestyle. She set a pool record of 2:07:31 in the 200 backstroke.

Other Saturday winners included Tyler Clary and Alexa Komarnycky in the 400 medley, Berens in the men’s 200, Matt Grevers in the 200 backstroke, Nathan Adrian and Amanda Weir won the 50 freestyle.

Karlee Bispo won twice Sunday. She took the 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley.

Sunday’s other winners included Ryan Lochte in the men’s 200 individual medley, Bobby Bollier and Audrey Lacroix in the 200 butterfly races, Mike Alexander in the men’s 100 breast, Grevers in the men’s 100 backstroke, Michael McBroom in the men’s 1,500 freestyle and Sutton in the women’s 800 freestyle.

SPEEDSKATING

Heather Richardson won a 1,000-meter race and added a second-place finish at 500 meters Sunday in the ISU World Cup stop in Calgary, Alberta.

Richardson had the same results Saturday: first in the 1000 and second in the 500, where she set a U.S. record with a time of 37.12.

“Even though my times were slower than yesterday, I am still ready to know I can put four solid races together going into World Sprints next weekend,” Richardson said.

Shani Davis took silver in the men’s 1000 meters and Brittany Bowe earned a bronze in the women’s 1000. They also medaled Saturday when Davis won and Bowe had her first third-place finish of the weekend at that distance.

Elsewhere, Ellie Ochowicz and Kimani Griffin swept the 500- and 1000-meter races Saturday at the American Long Track Speedskating Junior World Cup in Roseville, Minn.

BOBSLED/SKELETON

The United States earned bronze in the team relay Saturday in the World Cup event in Igls, Austria.

“I had some things I needed to fix after yesterday’s race and I had a great team behind me today,” said Katie Uhlaender, who had the second-best time among women’s skeleton competitors in the relay.

Matt Antoine handled the men’s skeleton leg, Elena Meyers teamed with Lolo Jones in women’s bobsled and Steven Holcomb joined Nic Taylor for the men’s bobsled.

Holcomb-Taylor had the best men’s bobsled time and Meyers-Jones had the third-best time in the women’s bobsled.

Noelle Pikus-Pace medaled for the second consecutive week when she followed up last week’s win with a skeleton silver medal Friday.

Women's bobsled driver Jazmine Fenlator teamed with Aja Evans to earn bronze. It was the second medal of the season for Fenlator and first for Evans, a rookie push athlete who already holds several track start records across the world.

Cory Butner and Andreas Drbal placed fifth in the two-man bobsled Saturday.

Holcomb and Curt Tomasevicz put a new BMW prototype sled to use and finished 14th. Holcomb, Tomasevicz, Steve Langton and Chris Fogt struggled to a 17th-place finish in the four-man bobsled Sunday.

LUGE

Julia Clukey continued to work her way back from illness and injury with a seventh-place finish Sunday in the women’s singles race at the World Cup event in Winterberg, Germany.

“The biggest difference is training healthy and sliding healthy,” said Clukey, a 2010 Olympian who underwent brain surgery two years ago to relieve some symptoms of Arnold-Chiari Syndrome and also has had knee injuries. “I’m not wasting any energy. I’m able to focus all my energy on sliding. It’s been important to show up every day healthy.”

Clukey is now eighth in the World Cup standings, one spot behind teammate Erin Hamlin.

Matt Mortensen and 2006 Olympian Preston Griffall finished 11th to lead U.S. doubles teams. Chris Mazdzer, a 2010 Olympian, was 17th in men’s singles Saturday.

BIATHLON

Lowell Bailey took fifth place Friday in the men’s 10k sprint at the IBU World Cup event at Antholz-Anterselva, Italy.

The U.S. women’s 4x6k relay team of Annelies Cook, Susan Dunklee, Sara Studebaker and Hannah Dreissigacker produced a season-best, 10th-place finish Sunday.

Tim Burke was 16th in Saturday’s 12.5k pursuit. Cook was 37th in the women’s 10k pursuit.

Elsewhere, Andy Soule and Dan Cnossen earned silver and bronze medals at the IPC World Cup event Saturday in Cable, Wis. Soule earned a bronze medal in the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. Read more about Dan Cnossen here.

Also, US Biathlon’s International Competition Committee announced the team for the IBU World Championships in February in the Czech Republic. Bailey, Burke, Russell Currier and Leif Nordgren make up the men’s team. Cook, Dreissigacker, Dunklee and Studebaker will be the women’s team.

FIGURE SKATING

Competition began Sunday at the Prudential U.S. Championships with short programs on the novice level. The event continues through Jan. 27 in Omaha, Neb.

This is the first time Omaha has hosted the competition since 1967 when Peggy Fleming won the fourth of her five U.S. titles. The event this year will be headlined by defending U.S. champion Ashley Wagner, 2012 U.S. junior titlist Gracie Gold, 2010 Olympian Jeremy Abbott and 2010 Olympic silver medalist ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White. The senior-level competitors begin competition Thursday with pairs and the women’s short programs.

Etc.

TENNIS: Serena Williams and 19-year-old Sloane Stephens will meet in an all-American quarterfinals Monday at the Australian Open. Williams, the reigning Olympic singles and doubles champion (with sister, Venus), can regain her world No.1 ranking with an Australian Open title. Stephens is making her first appearance in a Grand Slam quarterfinals.

CYCLING: Sarah Hammer won the UCI Track Cycling World Cup women’s ominum season opener in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Hammer earned a silver medal in the ominum at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

FENCING: The North American Cup will come to a close Monday in Louisville, Ky. The competition includes Cadet, Youth and Junior Divisions.

MODERN PENTATHLON: The USA Pentathlon Selection Competition concludes Monday in Colorado Springs.

FIELD HOCKEY: The United States claimed the men’s bronze medal by defeating Malaysia, 5-4, in a shootout Sunday at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival. The United States also had a shot at the women’s bronze but lost to Great Britain, 2-1, in overtime to finish fourth.

SOFTBALL: The United States was eliminated from the International Sports Group Men’s Fast Pitch Tournament Saturday in Altamonte Springs, Fla. with a 3-1 loss to Excellent Car Service.

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.

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