By Tom Robinson | Nov. 25, 2013, 12 p.m. (ET)
Mirai Nagasu performs during the gala exhibition at the Rostelecom Cup on Nov. 24, 2013 in Moscow.

Madison Chock and Evan Bates skate at the Rostelecom Cup on
Nov. 24, 2013 in Moscow.

Mirai Nagasu and the ice dancing team of Madison Chock and Evan Bates earned bronze medals Saturday at the Rostelecom Cup, an ISU Grand Prix Series event in Moscow. The medal was the fourth of her ISU Grand Prix career for Nagasu, the fourth-place finisher in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

Team USA landed two spots in the ISU Grand Prix Final Dec. 5-8 in Fukuoka, Japan, based on points awarded for finishes in the six Grand Prix Series events. Defending U.S. champion Ashley Wagner qualified for the ISU Grand Prix Final, along with the world champion ice dancing team of Meryl Davis and Charlie White.

Adam Rippon, Jason Brown, Gracie Gold, and the ice dancing teams of Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani and Chock and Bates are all alternates.

Elsewhere, Courtney Hicks won her second women’s gold medal of the season at the Ice Challenge in Graz, Austria Saturday. The United States also won gold medals in pairs and ice dancing. Gretchen Donlan and Andrew Speroff posted the best free skate score to move ahead and win the pairs title while Tarah Kayne and Daniel O’Shea claimed the bronze medal. Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus won the ice dance gold medal.

Meanwhile, at the 2014 Pacific Coast Sectional Championships held in Oakland, Calif., 2010 Olympian Rachael Flatt finished second to qualify for a spot at the 2014 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston in January.

LUGE

Chris Mazdzer became the first U.S. luger to secure a nomination to the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team when he finished fourth in a world cup event Sunday in Igls, Austria. Mazdzer had pre-qualified by finishing sixth in the 2013 world championships and officially earned the nomination by placing in the top five this weekend. All nominations to the Olympic Games are subject to approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The fourth-place finish was a career-best for Mazdzer, who missed the podium by three-hundredths of a second.

“So close … so close,” said Mazdzer, who represented Team USA in 2010 in Vancouver. “It started snowing about halfway through the second run. I saw people coming from behind gaining multiple places. You saw people that were going faster now going slow.

“You try not to focus on that, but in the back of your mind you’re wondering, “What’s going on?’ ”

Erin Hamlin moved closer to securing her third Olympic appearance by placing sixth, while Summer Britcher placed eighth. Hamlin could clinch a spot on the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team before Dec. 14 by finishing at least fifth in any of the next three races at Winterberg, Germany, Whistler, B.C., or Park City, Utah.

The U.S. relay team missed the podium Sunday when the last team on the course bumped it to fourth place. Team USA was sitting in third place when the final team (Germany) came out and won, bumping the Americans to fourth. Hamlin, Mazdzer and the doubles combination of Christian Niccum and Jayson Terdiman made up the U.S. team.

“We all had pretty solid runs,” Hamlin said. “We know what to work on to gain more time. I’m confident that we can get on the podium.”

The luge team relay is a new event that will be contested in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Niccum and Terdiman placed 14th in doubles while the teams of Matt Mortensen and Preston Griffall were 15th and Jake Hyrns and Andrew Sherk were 18th.

PARA-SNOWBOARDING

Mike Shea won the gold medal in the lower limb impairment classification Friday in the first International Paralympic Committee World Cup event of the season in Landgraaf, Netherlands. Keith Gabel finished second to Shea while Amy Purdy also earned a silver medal in the women’s lower limb impairment division. Para-snowboard cross will make its debut at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

“I am beyond happy with the win and I am very pleased with how Team USA performed at the season opener,” Shea said. “It builds momentum going into the rest of the season. There was a lot of new talent from different counties — people have been training hard.”

BIATHLON

The U.S. team of Annelies Cook, Susan Dunklee, Tim Burke and Lowell Bailey placed 12th in mixed relay Sunday when the IBU World Cup season kicked off in Ostersund, Sweden. The event in Ostersund continues through Dec. 1.

Over the weekend, the US Biathlon Association announced that Bailey, Burke and Dunklee are the first three biathlon athletes nominated to the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team, pending approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

BOBSLED/SKELETON

Chris Fogt finished third in the World Push Challenge Saturday in Calgary, Alberta. Fogt, a captain in the U.S. Army who was unable to participate in the inaugural World Push Challenge last year because he was deployed in Iraq at the time, is part of the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program. He returned to competition and won a national push title earlier this year before putting together a strong effort in the second World Push Challenge. Dallas Robinson and Justin Olsen finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

Elsewhere, Meghan Sullivan finished ninth at the first European Cup race of the season Sunday in Altenberg, Germany. Sullivan was 14th in the second race. Lauri Bausch placed 14th and 10th in the two women’s races. Alex Ivanov had the best U.S. men’s finish of the weekend, placing 18th in the second race.

Meanwhile, at the FIBT North American Cup event in Park City, Gracie Clapp-Taylor and Annie O’Shea both earned bronze medals in skeleton. Elana Meyers earned gold medals with Aja Evans and with Lolo Jones.

For full results, click here. 

CYCLING

Katie Compton won by more than a minute, taking her latest UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup victory Saturday in Koksijde, Belgium. Compton leads the world cup standings with two gold medals and a silver medal. Logan Owen finished 16th in the U-23 Men’s race.

PARALYMPIC CYCLING

Clark Rachfal and David Swanson won the men’s tandem sprint Sunday to conclude the U.S. Paralympics Track Cycling National Championships in Carson, Calif. Rachfal and Swanson had also teamed for a time trial win Saturday.

Jeffrey “Scott” Martin won his second title of the weekend in the 10-kilometer scratch race.  Jennifer Schuble and Jamie Whitmore won two women’s races during the weekend. Whitmore set a record in the C3 500-meter time trial.

VOLLEYBALL

The U.S. men finished fifth at the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup after losing to Russia, 29-27, 25-22, 25-19 Sunday in Tokyo. The U.S. team the event 2-3.

Max Holt was named as the first-team middle blocker on the tournament all-star team after a tournament-high 17 blocks. Matt Anderson led all scorers with 14 points, including a match high 10 kills, three aces and a block.

The United States took part in two lengthy weekend matches, defeating Italy in five sets on Friday before losing to Iran in five sets on Saturday.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL

Lane Carico and Heather Hughes earned silver at the NORCECA Beach Circuit, losing to Canada's Kacie MacTavish and Caleigh Whitaker in San Jose, Costa Rica, which took place Friday through Sunday. Tri Bourne and John Hyden were second in the men’s tournament.

WRESTLING

Elena Pirozhkova moved up a weight class to 67 kg. and still won a gold medal Saturday at the Heydar Aliyev FILA Golden Grand Prix Finals Saturday in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Victoria Anthony added a silver medal at 48 kg. while Helen Maroulis (55 kg.) and Veronica Carlson (67 kg.) added bronze medals.

Jimmy Kennedy earned a bronze medal at 60 kg. Sunday to lead the United States in men’s freestyle. Kyle Dake was fifth at 74 kg.

Joe Betterman was ffith at 60 kg. and Spenser Mango was seventh at 55 kg. Friday as the only U.S. competitors in the Greco-Roman division.

Elsewhere, Andy Bisek (74 kg.) and Robbie Smith (120 kg.) won gold medals Saturday at the Haavisto Cup of Greco-Roman in Ilmajoki, Finland. Nate Engel (55 kg.) and Jordan Holm (84 kg.) added silver medals. The United States finished second in the team standings, just one point behind host Finland.

Trent Paulson and George Ivanov, both from nearby Council Bluffs, Iowa, won the co-main events at the first Victory Wrestling Challenge in Omaha, Neb., Friday night.

RUGBY

The USA Men’s Eagles closed out 2013 with their only two wins of the year. The Eagles defeated Russia, 28-7, Saturday in London to follow up last weekend’s win over Georgia.

Chris Wyles, playing in the home stadium of his club team, and Samu Manoa scored in the first half for a 12-0 lead. Adam Siddall converted both tries and later scored on three penalty goals.

SLED HOCKEY

The Buffalo Sabres needed a shootout to defeat the Dallas Stars, 3-2, Sunday in a battle of tournament unbeatens for the A Division title at the USA Hockey Sled Classic in Pittsburgh.

SAILING

Robert Scheidt was crowned 2013 Laser World Champion in Oman for the ninth time after winning the final race of the regatta. Scheidt, 40, of Brazil, returned to the Lasers after nine years in the Star class to compete at an Olympic Games in his home waters in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Charlie Buckingham was the top American in the field in 23rd.

For full results, click here.

JUDO

Hannah Martin earned a bronze medal Friday at the IJF Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

BOWLING

The United States won the top country award at the QubicaAMF World Cup, which concluded Saturday in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Danielle McEwan and John Szczerbinski each finished fourth in their division for the best combined finish by one country.

Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Tom Robinson is a freelance contributor for TeamUSA.org.

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