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Team USA Weekend Preview: Jan. 25, 2013

By Paul D. Bowker | Jan. 25, 2013, 2 p.m. (ET)
Steven Holcomb and his brakeman Steve Langton take a run during a training session at Olympia Bob Run on January 24, 2013 in St. Moritz, Switzerland. 

The United States is on ice this weekend as the U.S. Figure Skating Championships continue in Omaha, the World Sprint Speedskating Championships start up in Utah and the ice hockey Sled Cup wraps up in North Carolina. There is plenty of other winter sports action, ranging from the bobsled and skeleton world championships to the Winter X Games. Check out this week’s Team USA Weekend Preview for all the details.

BOBSLED/SKELETON

World Championships, Jan. 25-Feb. 2, St. Moritz, Switzerland

U.S. bobsledders Steven Holcomb and Steve Langton will seek a repeat of history when the men’s two-man bobsled event begins Saturday at the World Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Holcomb and Langton teamed up to win the first two-man world championship in U.S. history last year.

The United States will have three sleds in the men’s bobsled. Cory Butner and Chris Fogt will ride in a second sled, and Nick Cunningham will ride with Dallas Robinson. The four-man bobsled, featuring Holcomb as the driver for USA-1, will be held next week, as will the men’s and women’s skeleton races.

The women’s bobsled began Friday, with Elana Meyers and 2012 world bronze medalist teammate Katie Eberling currently sitting in third place after the first two of four runs. Jazmine Fenlator and Aja Evans, who won bronze at last week’s World Cup event in Igls, Austria, are in eighth after moving up two spots in the second run. Jamie Greubel and Emily Azevedo, who teamed up to earn World Cup silver earlier this season, are in 12th place halfway through the competition.

The United States will also have two entries in Sunday’s team event.

TV: 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. ET Saturday, Universal Sports

FIGURE SKATING

Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Jan. 19-27, Omaha, Neb.

Wearing a burgundy dress and skating solidly Thursday night, Ashley Wagner began her defense of the national title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Omaha, Neb.

Wagner had a score of 67.57 in her short program, leading Agnes Zawadzki (65.31) and 2010 Olympian Mirai Nagasu (64.39).

“I did exactly what I came here and planning on doing,” Wagner said after her skate Thursday. “I skated solid. I felt I really owned every single jump, spin, element I had in the program.”

Wagner will go for the gold in the free program Saturday. Should she defend her title she will become the first back-to-back women’s champion since Michelle Kwan, who won from 1998-2005.

Gracie Gold, the 2012 U.S. junior champion and considered to be one of the contenders for the senior title this year, had a disappointing showing and is in ninth place with 54.08 points.

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, however, skated a strong pairs short program. Their score of 62.27 in the short program led Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay by nearly 10 points.

The focus at the CenturyLink Center Omaha Convention Center will shift Friday to the short dance and the men’s short program. Meryl Davis and Charlie White, ice dancing silver medalists at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, are strong favorites to win their fifth national championship. The free program is scheduled for Saturday.

2010 Olympian Jeremy Abbott will seek his fourth national title in a men’s competition that will be missing two U.S. stars. Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek withdrew last week due to his recovery from a surgery to repair a sports hernia. Two-time Olympian Johnny Weir is also out due to injury. Ross Miner and Adam Rippon will be among those challenging Abbott. Following Friday’s short program, the men’s free skate will be Sunday.

TV: 3 p.m.-6 p.m. and 8 p.m.-11 p.m. ET Saturday, NBC; 11 p.m. Saturday, Universal Sports; 3 p.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, NBC

SPEEDSKATING

Essent ISU World Sprint Speedskating Championships, Jan. 26-27, Kearns, Utah

The fastest skater in the world will be determined in Utah.

Heather Richardson, who broke three national records at the U.S. Championships to qualify for the World Sprint Team, will be among five U.S. skaters hoping for podium finishes at this weekend’s Essent ISU World Sprint Speedskating Championships. The Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns is host to the competition.

Richardson won gold in the 1,000 and silver in the 500 last week at the Calgary World Cup, and she has been dominant this season at both distances.

Joining Richardson at the World Sprint Championships are Brittany Bowe, Sugar Todd, Mitch Whitmore and Jonathan Garcia. The event consists of men’s and women’s races at 1,000 and 500 meters both Saturday and Sunday.

TV: 3 p.m.-6:30 p.m. ET Saturday, Universal Sports

Webcast: 3 p.m. Saturday, universalsports.com

Also in speed skating:

U.S. Junior Short Track Speedskating Championships, Jan. 25-27, Woodbridge, Va.

SKIING

FIS World Cup Alpine, women’s slalom and giant slalom, Jan. 26-27, Maribor, Slovenia

Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin will seek podium finishes in their final competitions prior to the FIS World Championships. Vonn, fully recovered from a stomach illness earlier this season, is a medal contender in both slalom events. She won her 58th career World Cup event last week in the downhill in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. Shiffrin, 17, will be looking to grab her fourth World cup victory.

TV: 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m. ET Saturday and 9-10:30 a.m. Sunday, Universal Sports

Webcast: 4 a.m. ET Saturday, universalsports.com

FIS World Cup Alpine, men’s super combined, downhill, slalom, super-G, Jan. 22-27, Kitzbuehel, Austria

Ted Ligety and Steven Nyman will be among the U.S. skiers in a busy World Cup event in Kitzbuehel, Austria. Four events will be held over three days, beginning with the super-G on Friday. Nyman was seventh fastest during a downhill training run Thursday.

TV: 8-9:30 p.m. ET Friday, Universal Sports; 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday, Universal Sports; 12:30-2 a.m. Sunday, Universal Sports

Also in skiing:

FIS World Cup Ski Jumping, men, Jan. 25-27, Vikersund, Norway

Webcast: 10 a.m. ET Saturday and 8:30 a.m. Sunday, universalsports.com

FIS World Cup Cross Country, Jan. 23-27, Falun, Sweden

FIS World Cup Nordic Combined, Jan. 26-27, Klingenthal, Germany

Webcast: 6:30 a.m. ET Saturday and 5:30 a.m. Sunday, universalsports.com

FIS World Cup Freestyle, men’s and women’s moguls, Jan. 26, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

ISF Junior Nordic World Ski Championships, Jan. 21-27, Liberec, Czech Republic

SNOWBOARDING

FIS World Snowboarding Championships, Jan. 17-27, Quebec, Canada

Nick Baumgartner finished fifth in snowboardcross qualifying Thursday, advancing to compete in the finals Saturday in the FIS Snowboard World Championships in Quebec, Canada. All four U.S. snowboarders qualified for the final field of 48: Baumgartner, Seth Wescott, Jonathan Cheever and Hagen Kearney.

In women’s qualifying, Faye Gulini placed 15th to reach the finals.

The worlds at the Stoneham Mountain Resort will finish up Sunday with finals in men’s and women’s parallel slalom.

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

WINTER X GAMES

X Games, Jan. 24-27, Aspen, Colo.

Olympic gold medalist snowboarders Shaun White and Kelly Clark are among a number of winter-sport showstoppers competing in this weekend’s Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo. White is a 12-time X Games medalist.

The competition at Buttermilk Mountain, which began Thursday, will feature action in halfpipe, slopestyle, big air skiing, snowmobile-cross and freestyle trick.

White advanced to the finals in both superpipe and slopestyle at Thursday’s qualifications. He is the five-time defending champion in superpipe.

TV: 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Friday, ESPN; 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, ESPN; 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, ABC; 2 p.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, ESPN

ICE HOCKEY

Sled Cup, Jan. 23-26, Indian Trail, N.C.

The United States shut out Russia, 4-0, Thursday at the Extreme Ice Center in Indian Trail, N.C., and will play South Korea on Friday night to complete preliminary-round play. Team USA has won its first two games by a combined, 9-0. South Korea also enters Friday’s game with a 2-0 record. Taylor Lipsett, Greg Shaw, Kevin McKee and Declan Farmer scored in the win over Russia.

The medal round will be held Saturday.

SOCCER

U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Canada, Jan. 29, Houston

The U.S. Men’s National Team will face Canada in an international friendly Tuesday night at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas. The game is a final preparation before the United States’ next World Cup Qualifier match on Feb. 6 against Honduras.

TV: 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, ESPN2, Univision Deportes

WRESTLING

Jack Pinto Cup, Jan. 26, Colorado Springs

University World champion Max Nowry, University World bronze medalist Jamel Johnson and two-time World Team member Joe Betterman are among 30 U.S. wrestlers who’ll compete Saturday in the Jack Pinto Cup in Colorado Springs.

The annual competition, formerly known as the Kiki Cup, was renamed the Jack Pinto Cup in honor of Jack Pinto, a 6-year-old wrestler who was one of the children who lost their lives in the tragic school shootings in Newtown, Conn.

Four U.S. teams will face teams from Japan, Kazakhstan, Sweden and Lithuania in the Greco-Roman dual meet format. None of the U.S. squads will face each other.

Webcast: 9 a.m. ET Saturday, themat.com.

Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix, Jan. 25-27, Krasnoyarsk, Russia

Coleman Scott, a bronze medalist at the London 2012 Olympic Games, will be among four U.S. wrestlers competing this weekend at the prestigious Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Scott will wrestle Saturday in the men’s freestyle 60kg weight class. Other U.S. freestyle wrestlers: Brent Metcalf and Chase Pami, 66kg; Keith Gavin, 84kg.

Also in wrestling:

WCWA Nationals, Jan. 25-26, Bristol, Tenn.

TRACK AND FIELD

Five Nations Match, Jan. 26, Glasgow, Scotland

Olympians Carmelita Jeter, Bernard Lagat, Duane Solomon and Manteo Mitchell are among nine U.S. athletes who will compete Saturday in the Five Nations Match in Scotland. Jeter, a three-time medalist at the London 2012 Olympic Games, will run in the 60-meter race. Lagat, a three-time Olympian, will run in the men’s 3,000, Solomon in the 600 and Mitchell in the 400.

Also in track:

NACAC Cross Country Championships, Jan. 26, Jamaica

EQUESTRIAN

World Dressage Masters Palm Beach, Jan. 24-26, Wellington, Fla.

Olympic riders Steffen Peters, Tina Konyot and Adrienne Lyle are among five Americans competing this week at the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach event in Wellington, Fla. The competition at the Palm Beach County Jim Brandon Equestrian Center is the only North American stop this year on the World Dressage Masters Series presented by the Axel Johnson Group. Saturday’s events include the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI5* and FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI5*.

Peters, a three-time Olympian, is the two-time defending champion. Peters will ride Legolas 92, an 11-year-old Westphalian gelding. Ravel, Peters’ former horse, was retired following the London 2012 Olympic Games. Peters and Ravel won bronze at the 2010 Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games and gold at the 2009 FEI World Cup. In addition to Konyot, riding Calecto V, and Lyle, aboard Wizard, also riding for the United States are Heather Blitz and James Koford. Blitz will ride her own Paragon and Koford will ride Rhett.

Webcast: 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday, usefnetwork.com

TENNIS

Australian Open, Jan. 14-27, Melbourne, Australia

Sloane Stephens knocked off Olympic gold medalist and 15-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, but fell to top-seeded Victoria Azarenka, 6-1, 6-4, Thursday. That left no Americans with a chance to win the singles championships in men or women. Novak Djokovic of Serbia will go for his third consecutive Australian Open men’s title Sunday.

TV: 3 a.m.-5:30 a.m. ET Saturday and 3-6:30 a.m. Sunday, ESPN

SAILING

ISAF World Cup, Jan. 27-Feb. 2, Miami, Fla.

Fleet racing in the Olympic classes begins Monday in the week-long ISAF Sailing World Cup in Miami. Five days of opening-series racing for elite-level sailors will be followed by double-points races Feb. 2. Competition will be held in the 13 sailing classes that will also be held at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

More than 300 sailors from 35 nations will compete, many of them Olympic medalists and World Cup medalists. The Miami event is the second World Cup regatta this season as the chase for 2016 begins.

TRIATHLON

USA Triathlon Winter National Championships, Jan. 27, Butte, Mont.

The 2013 USA Triathlon championship season begins Sunday at the Powderhound Winter Triathlon and Homestake Lodge in Butte, Mont., when the Winter Triathlon National Championships are held. All three events of the competition will be conducted on snow: 5-kilometer trail run, 10k bicycle race, 5k Nordic ski. Mike Wolfe and Rebecca Dussault are defending champions.

WATER POLO

Men’s National Team vs. Argentina, Jan. 26, Irvine, Calif.

The USA Men’s Senior National Team will face Argentina in an exhibition match Saturday at Northwood High School in Irvine, Calif. The match is a final preparation prior to the UANA World Aquatics Championship Qualification Tournament, which begins Wednesday in Canada. The United States will play Canada in its opening match Wednesday night in Calgary, Alberta.

CURLING

USA Curling Junior National Championships, Jan. 26-Feb. 2, Wayland, Mass.

Competition begins Saturday for 10 men’s teams and 10 women’s teams in the USA Curling Junior National Championships. The tournament will decide the squads that will represent the United States at the World Junior Championships in late February in Sochi, Russia.

Title contenders include the Minnesota women’s team led by Cory Christiansen and the USA Curling High Performance men’s team skipped by Korey Dropkin. Teams Christiansen and Dropkin are defending champions. Dropkin’s team includes Alex Fenson, the son of 2006 Olympic bronze medalist Pete Fenson. Miranda Solem leads the High Performance women’s team.

Also in curling:

World Curling Tour, The National, Jan. 23-27, Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia, Canada

World Curling Tour, German Masters, Jan. 25-27, Hamburg, Germany

LUGE

Junior World Cup, Jan. 24-25, Calgary, Canada

While the USA Luge senior team trains this week in Whistler, B.C., for next week’s FIL World Championships, the junior team will finish up competition Friday in the Junior World Cup and Junior American Pacific Championship in Calgary, Alberta. The event began successfully Thursday for the United States as Theresa Buckley won gold in youth women’s singles. Riley Stohr won bronze in youth men.

SYNCHRONIZED SKATING

Leon Lurje Trophy, Jan. 26-27, Gothenburg, Sweden

Three U.S. teams, including the Crystallettes of Dearborn, Mich., will begin their 2013 international season Saturday and Sunday at the Leon Lurje Trophy competition in Gothenburg, Sweden. The Crystallettes are current U.S. silver medalists.

Also representing the United States will be the synchronized skating team from Miami (Ohio) University and the Synchroettes of West Orange, N.J. The Synchroettes will skate in the junior division.

Also in synchronized skating:

Midwestern/Pacific Coast Synchronized Sectional Championships, Jan. 24-26, Kalamazoo, Mich.

GYMNASTICS

Nastia Liukin Cup Series, Jan. 25-27, various locations

The fourth annual Nastia Liukin Cup Series continues this weekend with invitational meets at four venues: Sand Dollar/Whitlow Invitational, Kissimmee, Fla.; Wisconsin Dells Gymnastics Vacation Classic; Parkettes Invitational, Allentown, Pa.; San Diego Classic, San Diego, Calif. The top gymnasts selected from 19 invitational meets held over six weeks will advance to compete in the Nastia Liukin Cup on March 1 in Worcester, Mass.

Eight gymnasts earned spots at competitions last week: Emily Gaskins of Coral Springs, Fla.; Reagan Campbell of Highland Village, Texas; Samantha Partyka of Katy, Texas; Ashleigh Gnat of Lake Mary, Fla.; Charity Jones of Miami, Okla.; Mariah Peterson of South Jordon, Utah; Mackenzie Brannan of Austin, Texas, and Drew Watson of Nacogdoches, Texas. Another seven spots are up for grabs this weekend.

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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