Team USA’s alpine skiers are ready to kick off their start to the Olympic season with the opening of the FIS World Cup circuit this weekend in Soelden, Austria. Meanwhile, the U.S. bobsled national teams will be named Sunday and long track speedskating is holding its U.S. Single Distance Championships. Several top U.S. figure skaters will be in Canada for the second ISU Grand Prix event of the season as well. Check out the Team USA Weekend Preview for all of the info on these winter sports and a handful of summer sports as well.
FIS Alpine World Cup, Oct. 26-27, Soelden, Austria
Olympic gold medalists Ted Ligety, Bode Miller and Julia Mancuso are among nine U.S. skiers who will kick off the 2013-14 FIS World Cup season this weekend in Soelden, Austria.
Ligety, the defending world champion in giant slalom, will ski in the Soelden giant slalom Sunday. He has won the season-opening race the last two years. Joining him will be Miller, Tim Jitloff, Tommy Biesemeyer, Robby Kelley and Kieffer Christianson.
“Soelden is an incredible place to start the season,” Ligety said. “Fortunately we’re always able to get some good training on the glacier leading up to the weekend, and it’s a hill I feel comfortable on.”
Mancuso, Megan McJames and 2013 slalom world champion Mikaela Shiffrin will compete in the women’s giant slalom Saturday. Four-time world cup overall champion Lindsey Vonn had considered making her return to the slopes following knee surgery in Soelden but chose to skip the event and instead focus on the world cup stop Nov. 29 in Beaver Creek, Colo., instead.
“I am confident the extra month of training will ultimately put me in the best position to have a successful season,” Vonn said.
TV: 6:30 a.m. ET Saturday and 7:30 a.m. Sunday, Universal Sports
Webcast: 3:30 a.m. Saturday and 4:30 a.m. Sunday, universalsports.com
Skate Canada International, Oct. 25-26, St. John, New Brunswick, Canada
Olympian and three-time U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott and 2013 U.S. silver medalist Gracie Gold will seek podium finishes at Skate Canada International. The event is the second stop in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series.
U.S. ice dancers Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue made their season Grand Prix debut last weekend at Skate America in Detroit where they placed fourth. They will compete again this weekend in Canada.
In all, 16 U.S. skaters will compete at Skate Canada. Among the others are Christina Gao and Courtney Hicks in the women’s competition, and reigning U.S. silver medalist Ross Miner and Joshua Farris in the men’s competition.
TV: 4 p.m.-6 p.m. ET Sunday, NBC; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday, Universal Sports; noon and 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Universal Sports
Webcast: 1:50 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday, icenetwork.com
Also in figure skating:
Cup of Nice, Oct. 23-27, Nice, France
Rachael Flatt, the 2010 U.S. champion and Olympian, is continuing her comeback as she competes in this international senior B competition. She has not competed in an international competition since 2012 when she placed ninth at Skate America. Joining her in the women’s event is Kiri Baga, who will be making her senior international debut.
U.S. Long Track Single Distance Championships, Oct. 25-27, Kearns, Utah
The path toward the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games begins Friday for 2013 world sprints champion Heather Richardson and a number of other long track speedskaters. The U.S. Long Track Single Distance Championships will be held Friday through Sunday at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns, Utah.
The results will determine spots on the U.S. team for the fall world cup competitions. Action starts Friday in men’s and women’s 500 meters, women’s 3,000 and men’s 5,000. The 1,000-meter races are scheduled for Saturday, followed by the 1,500 and team pursuit races Sunday.
The long track speedskaters will return to the Olympic Oval in December for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
USA Bobsled/Skeleton Team Trials, Oct. 25-30, Park City, Utah
Bobsled selection races will continue in Park City, Utah, Friday with the final women’s bobsled event and the first men’s four-man bobsled competition. The men will compete in the four-man event again Saturday before the national team is named Sunday. The competition will determine the athletes who will be named to compete in world cup events. Points earned in world cup races will play a role in the selection of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team.
Steven Holcomb and Chris Fogt already won the two-man competition on Oct. 20.
The final two days of the women’s and men’s skeleton trials will be held on the 2002 Olympic track Oct. 28-Oct. 29 in Park City. Noelle Pikus-Pace and Matt Antoine won the first two women’s and men’s races, respectively. Pikus-Pace, Katie Uhlaender and John Daly are already on the 11-member national team based on results from last season.
ISSF World Cup Final, Oct. 23-28, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Four-time Olympian Glenn Eller will seek his third career gold medal in the ISSF World Cup Finals, when he competes Friday in the men’s double trap event in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Eller has been on target this fall, winning his second world championship title and finishing No. 1 at the USA Shooting Fall Selection Match.
Other U.S. shooters at the world cup final are two-time Olympic champion Vincent Hancock, Corey Cogdell, Josh Richmond, Ian Rupert and Brian Burrows. Hancock, a four-time silver medalist at the world cup finals, will compete in men’s skeet Sunday and Monday.
U.S. Women’s National Team vs. New Zealand, Oct. 27, San Francisco
Hot off a 4-0 win last week against Australia, the U.S. Women’s National Team will begin a two-game friendly series against New Zealand Sunday. The first game will be played at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.
The United States is unbeaten in its last 36 games. The teams will play again Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio.
All-time scoring leader Abby Wambach scored her 162nd career goal and goalkeeper Hope Solo notched her 67th shutout in the win over Australia.
Webcast: 6:30 p.m. ET Sunday, ussoccer.com
IWF World Championships, Oct. 16-27, Wroclaw, Poland
Jared Fleming, the 2013 U.S. champion and American junior record-holder at the 94 kg. class, will compete Saturday at the IWF World Championships in Poland. Donovan Ford, David Garcia and Caine Wilkes will also compete Saturday and Sunday in the men’s 105 kg. class as the worlds finish up.
UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup, Oct. 26, Tabor, Czech Republic
Katie Compton will seek her second consecutive world cup podium finish in Saturday’s race in Tabor, Czech Republic. She placed second to win the silver medal in the elite women’s race last weekend in the Netherlands. Compton is the defending world cup elite women’s champion.
Other expected U.S. starters include Jonathan Page in the elite men’s race, and Kaitlin Antonneau, Arley Kemmerer, Meredith Miller and Christine Vardaros in the elite women’s race.
Also in cycling:
Gateway Cross Cup, USA Cycling Professional Cyclo-cross Calendar (Pro CX), Oct. 26-27, St. Louis
USA Triathlon Super Sprint Series, Oct. 26, San Diego
ITU World Cup champion Katie Hursey and 2008 Olympian Julie Ertel will be among the competitors in the Fearless Pro Super Sprint Triathlon Saturday in Mission Bay near San Diego. The race is the final event in the USA Triathlon Super Sprint Series.
Among those in the elite men’s field are USA Triathlon Elite Sprint national champion Eric Lagerstrom and USA Triathlon Collegiate national champion Ben Kanute. The elite event consists of two non-stop circuits of the same course: 300-meter swim, 8-kilometer bike race and 2.5-kilometer run.
TV: 8 p.m.-9 p.m. ET Nov. 11, Universal Sports
ITU World Cup, Oct. 27, Guatape, Colombia
Jarrod Shoemaker, Greg Billington and Lindsey Jerdonek will represent the United States at the final ITU World Cup event of the year in Guatape, Colombia. Shoemaker placed fourth at the Cozumel World Cup three weeks ago.
Also in triathlon:
USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championships, Oct. 26, Tucson/Oro Valley, Ariz.
FIVB Grand Slam, Xiamen, China
Six U.S. teams are competing in the FIVB Xiamen Grand Slam tournament in China. Three U.S. teams are seeded among the top 10, including No. 5 April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings, and No. 9 Lauren Fendrick and Brittany Hochevar in the women’s tournament. Women’s pool play matches were to be played Thursday and Friday, followed by the second and third rounds Saturday, and the semifinals and finals Sunday.
Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson are seeded No. 6 in the men’s tournament. They split their first two matches Wednesday. Three rounds of single-elimination matches will be held Friday, followed by the semifinals and finals Saturday.
Les Etoiles de Pau CCI4*, Oct. 23-27, Pau, France
Five-time Olympian Phillip Dutton and his Olympic horse, Mr. Medicott, are among seven U.S. horse-rider combinations competing in the Les Estoiles de Pau CCI4* competition in France. The event is the first leg of the 2013-14 FEI Classics and has drawn 75 entries from 11 nations.
Also competing for the United States: Clark Montgomery, riding Universe; Hannah Sue Burnett, aboard Harbour Pilot; Lynn Symansky, aboard Donner; Marilyn Little, aboard RF Demeter; Kristi Nunnink, aboard R-Star; and Michael Pollard, aboard Mensa G.
World Combat Games, Oct. 25-26, St. Petersburg, Russia
Two-time Olympic champion Mariel Zagunis will take aim at a medal Friday in women’s saber and men’s foil world champion Miles Chamley-Watson will compete Saturday in the World Combat Games. They are among four U.S. fencers in the competition. Also competing will be Race Imboden in men’s foil and Ibtihaj Muhammad in women’s saber.
TV: 11 p.m. ET Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday, Universal Sports
Junior World Championships, Oct. 24-27, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Sophia Swain, a gold medalist at the Junior Pan American Championships, and the brother-sister combo of George and Annie Truong are among 20 U.S. athletes competing at the IJF Junior World Championships in Slovenia. Swain is the daughter of four-time U.S. Olympian Mike Swain and Brazil Olympian Tania Ishii Swain.
Futures 50 Classic, Oct. 25-27, Santa Ana, Calif.
Two-time Olympic medalist Betsey Armstrong and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Annika Dries will be among the nation’s top women’s water polo athletes in the Futures 50 Classic. The tournament is split into four teams named after the four locations where Olympic tournaments in women’s water polo were held: Team Sydney, Team Athens, Team Beijing and Team London. The athletes on the teams are a mix of the USA Water Polo national teams.