Team USA Weekend Preview: Jan. 10, 2014
All eyes are on winter sports this weekend as the countdown to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games is within one month now. This weekend will conclude with the U.S. figure skating team being named on Sunday. In addition, athletes in bobsled, skeleton, snowboarding, freeskiing, freestyle skiing, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, luge and biathlon are in action. Check out the Team USA Weekend Preview for all of the details.
World Cup, Jan. 10-12, St. Moritz, Switzerland
Fewer than 10 days remain until the U.S. bobsled and skeleton nominations are made for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, and women’s skeleton star Noelle Pikus-Pace will be among those looking to make a statement this weekend in St. Moritz. Pikus-Pace is returning to the track where she won a world championship in 2007 and won the silver medal at the 2013 worlds.
The women’s skeleton races will be held Saturday.
Also leading the United States this weekend are Elana Meyers, the world cup leader in women’s bobsled, and Steven Holcomb, who has won a combined seven two- and four-man bobsled races this season. Curt Tomasevicz, Steve Langton and Chris Fogt will join Holcomb in USA-1. Nick Cunningham, who is ranked fifth in the world cup standings in two-man, will race with Abe Morlu before piloting the USA-2 four-man with Justin Olsen, Johnny Quinn and Dallas Robinson.
The women’s and men’s two-man bobsled will be held Saturday, followed by the four-man bobsled and a second round of men’s skeleton Sunday. Matt Antoine is ranked third in men’s skeleton and earned a bronze medal in Friday’s skeleton race.
TV: 5-6 p.m. ET Friday, Universal Sports
Also in bobsled/skeleton:
Intercontinental Cup, Jan. 11-12, Park City, Utah
North American Cup, Jan. 8-12, Lake Placid, N.Y.
European Cup, bobsled, Jan. 8-12, Igls, Austria; skeleton, Jan. 11-12, Koenigssee, Germany
Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Jan. 5-12, Boston, Mass.
The most important figure skating performances prior to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games will take place Saturday and Sunday at TD Garden in Boston.
The free skate in ice dancing, pairs and women will be held Saturday at the Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships, and the men’s final will be Sunday. The final scores will play big parts in determining the 15 skaters who will be nominated for spots on the U.S. Olympic Team. The United States will have three women, two men, three ice dancing teams and two pairs teams at the Sochi Winter Games. The Olympic Team will be named following Sunday’s competition.
Heavily favored to win a sixth national championship are ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White. They won the silver medal at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games and have won two world championships since then.
“We really have left no stone unturned,” White said of their preparation for the national championships and Winter Games. “We continue to grow our programs. Overall, in every aspect, we’ve tried to be the best that we can possibly be.”
Ashley Wagner will seek to win her third consecutive women’s championship on Saturday and earn her first Olympic berth. Other top women title contenders include Gracie Gold, Agnes Zawadzki, Christina Gao and Courtney Hicks.
Max Aaron is back to defend his 2013 U.S. men’s championship. Jeremy Abbott, a 2010 Olympian, will be among those challenging him.
Pairs contenders include Caydee Denney, a 2010 Olympian, and John Coughlin, as well as reigning champions Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir.
TV: 3-6 and 8-11 p.m. ET Saturday and 3-5 p.m. Sunday, NBC
Sprint U.S. Grand Prix, Jan. 8-11, Breckenridge, Colo.
Two-time Olympic halfpipe gold medalist Shaun White and 2010 Olympian Louie Vito are among those chasing after U.S. Olympic Team berths this week at the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix in Breckenridge, Colo. The event is the third of five Olympic qualification events for U.S. snowboarders.
Three-time Olympian Kelly Clark is the only athlete who has mathematically qualified for a nomination to the Olympic Team with her prior top finishes. Arielle Gold is in second place in the halfpipe Olympic qualification standings. Jamie Anderson leads Ty Walker in women’s slopestyle, a new snowboarding event at the 2014 Winter Games.
White is closing in on Olympic nominations in both halfpipe and slopestyle, but a win in halfpipe would likely propel him into one of the top spots in the Olympic qualification standings. He injured his ankle on the Dew Tour but still managed a third-place finish in slopestyle at the Copper Grand Prix.
Other top men in the Olympic nomination hunt include Greg Bretz, who has finished first and second in the first two halfpipe Olympic qualification competitions. Taylor Gold is coming off a halfpipe win at the Copper Grand Prix. Scotty Lago, a bronze medalist at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, needs a strong finish in Breckenridge to improve his eighth-place standing in halfpipe. Chas Guldemond is the standings leader over White in men’s slopestyle.
The slopestyle finals will be held Friday, followed by the halfpipe finals Saturday.
TV: 4:30-5:30 p.m. ET Saturday, NBC Sports Network; 2-3 p.m. Sunday, NBC
Also in snowboarding:
FIS World Cup Snowboarding, women’s and men’s snowboardcross, Jan. 10-11, Vallnord-Arcalis, Andorra
FIS World Cup Snowboarding, women’s and men’s parallel slalom, Jan. 10-12, Bad Gastein, Austria
Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix, Jan. 8-12, Breckenridge, Colo.
The third Olympic qualifying event for U.S. freeskiers could produce a memorable weekend as athletes scramble to be nominated for the first U.S. Olympic Team in freeskiing. The Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix includes men’s and women’s slopestyle finals Friday and halfpipe finals Sunday.
Winter X Games gold medalist Nick Goepper is the only freeskier who has mathematically qualified for an Olympic Team nomination. Goepper leads the men’s slopestyle standings after two previous podium finishes. Bobby Brown, McRae Williams and Tom Wallisch will be looking to hit the podium Friday. Maggie Voisin is No. 1 in the women’s standings.
Devin Logan, who is attempting to make the Olympic Team in both halfpipe and slopestyle, is in third place in slopestyle and fourth place in halfpipe.
Halfpipe contenders include Aaron Blunck, Maddie Bowman and Brita Sigourney. Each has two top-three finishes but have not mathematically secured their Olympic nominations. Bowman leads the women’s standings. David Wise trails Blunck in the men’s standings.
TV: 1-2 p.m. ET Sunday, NBC; 9-10 p.m. Monday, NBC Sports Network
FIS World Cup Alpine, women’s downhill, supe- G and Super Combined, Jan. 9-12, Altenmarkt/Zauchensee, Austria
Two-time Olympian Stacey Cook and Laurenne Ross are among the U.S. skiers who will race in a world cup women’s downhill Saturday. The event also includes super combined on Sunday.
The final world cup slalom prior to the nomination of the U.S. team for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games will be held Tuesday in Flachau, Austria. World cup slalom leader Mikaela Shiffrin will seek her fourth straight podium finish in that race.
FIS World Cup Alpine, men’s giant slalom and slalom, Jan. 11-12, Adelboden, Switzerland
Two-time Olympian Ted Ligety returns to Adelboden, Switzerland, for giant slalom and slalom world cup racing. He is the 2013 world champion in giant slalom and also the defending champ in that discipline at Adelboden.
Also in skiing:
FIS World Cup Ski Jumping, men, Jan. 10-12, Tauplitz/Bad Mitterndorf, Austria
FIS World Cup Ski Jumping, women, Jan. 11-12, Sapporo, Japan
FIS World Cup Nordic Combined, Jan. 11-12, Chaux-Neuve, France
Visa Freestyle International, FIS World Cup, women’s and men’s moguls and aerials, Jan. 9-11, Deer Valley, Utah
An Olympic qualification event is taking place through Saturday at the Deer Valley Resort in Utah. Olympic champion Hannah Kearney, Bryon Wilson and Heather McPhie are among the top moguls skiers. Dylan Ferguson, Emily Cook and Ashley Caldwell will compete in aerials. Kearney won Thursday night’s moguls competition.
Aerials finals are scheduled for Friday night, followed by another set of moguls finals and superfinals Saturday night.
TV: 3-4:30 p.m. and 9-10:30 p.m. ET Friday, Universal Sports; 11 p.m. Friday and 4:30 p.m. Sunday, NBC Sports Network
FIS World Cup Cross Country, women and men individual and team sprint, Jan. 11-12, Nove Mesto, Czech Republic
World cup champion Kikkan Randall will be back with the U.S. squad for the Nove Mesto World Cup on Saturday and Sunday in the Czech Republic. Liz Stephen is coming off a U.S.-best seventh-place finish in the Tour de Ski.
Also in cross country skiing:
U.S. Cross Country Championships, Jan. 4-10, Soldier Hollow, Utah
World Cup, Jan. 11-12, Oberhof, Germany
Chris Mazdzer, a two-time Olympian, enters the seventh world cup event of the season in fifth place in the men’s singles standings.
Other top U.S. medal contenders include three-time Olympian Erin Hamlin, Kate Hansen and Summer Britcher in women’s singles; Tucker West in men’s singles; and Matt Mortensen and Preston Griffall in doubles. All have been nominated for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team.
There will not be a team relay event in Oberhof.
Also in luge:
Junior World Cup, Jan. 10-11, Sigulda, Latvia
IBU Cup, Jan. 8-12, Ridnaun-Val Ridanna, Italy
Individual races will be held Saturday and the sprints Sunday at the IBU Cup in Ridnaun, Italy, with five U.S. Olympic Team nominations on the line. Three women and two men will be nominated following the IBU Cup competition.
Sara Studebaker led the United States with a ninth-place finish Monday in the women’s 7.5-kilometer sprint. Other U.S. athletes include Hannah Dreissigacker, Lanny Barnes and Tracy Barnes, and men’s competitors Sean Doherty, Russell Currier, Jeremy Teela and Casey Smith.
World cup athletes Tim Burke, Lowell Bailey, Susan Dunklee, Annelies Cook and Leif Nordgren have already been nominated to the U.S. Olympic Team.
Also in biathlon:
E.ON IBU World Cup, Jan. 8-12, Ruhpolding, Germany
PARALYMPIC ALPINE SKIING
IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup, Jan. 10-14, Panorama, Canada
The U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing National Team will compete Friday through Tuesday at the IPC World Cup in Panorama, Canada. The team had 10 first-place finishes at the NorAm Cup last week in Winter Park, Colo. Two-time Paralympian Ralph Green won three medals at the NorAm Cup and three-time Paralympic Games gold medalist Alana Nichols won a gold medal in the giant slalom and a silver medal in the sitting slalom.
The U.S. team for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games will be named in February.
USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships, Jan. 8-12, Boulder, Colo.
Katie Compton will seek her 10th consecutive national title and cyclists from three divisions will chase after world championship berths in the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships in Boulder, Colo.
Compton, who has clinched the 2013-14 world cup championship with five consecutive world cup wins, will race in the elite women’s race Sunday. Elite men contenders include Jeremy Powers, two-time national champion Ryan Trebon, Tim Johnson and 2013 national champ Jonathan Page. Powers, the 2013 USA Cycling Pro CX points champion, and Trebon were members of the world team in 2013.
Winners of the elite women’s, elite men’s, U23 men’s and junior men’s races will clinch spots in the 2014 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in February in Netherlands.
Maureen Bruno-Roy won the event’s first national title Wednesday in the women’s singlespeed race and Tim Allen won the men’s race.
USA Curling Challenge Round, Jan. 8-12, Blaine, Minn., and Grafton, N.D.
Six men’s and six women’s spots for the 2014 USA Curling National Championships will be determined at this weekend’s Challenge Round in two locations.
Competition among 20 men’s teams began Thursday at Four Seasons Curling Club in Blaine, Minn. Nine women’s teams begin play Friday at the Grafton (N.D.) Curling Club.
Eight teams have already qualified for the nationals based on the High Performance Program and Order of Merit Points Standings: John Shuster, Pete Fenson, Allison Pottinger, Cassie Potter, Nina Spatola, Courtney George, Heath McCormick and Brady Clark. The national championships begin March 1 in Aston, Pa. Shuster will also be leading the U.S. men’s team at the Sochi Winter Games, and Potter is the fifth on Team Erika Brown for Sochi.
CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship, Jan. 9-19, Cayman Islands
The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team will face Jamaica on Saturday and Guatemala on Monday in pool play of the CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship in the Cayman Islands. The United States is one of eight nations battling for three qualification berths in the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
If the U.S. women finish among the top two in its group, it would advance to the Jan. 17 semifinal round. The 20-player roster includes 2013 NCAA champions Katelyn Rowland, a goalkeeper, and Lauren Kaskie, a midfielder, of UCLA.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday and Monday, Fox Soccer Plus
USA Taekwondo National Team Trials, Jan. 10-14, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Competition begins Friday for more than 500 athletes in the USA Taekwondo National Team Trials. The event, which will take place at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., will determine spots on the USA Taekwondo Senior National Team, Junior National Team, Cadet National Team and Youth Olympic Games Team.
USA Pentathlon National Team Qualifier, Jan. 9-12, Colorado Springs, Colo.
The first of four USA Pentathlon National Team Qualifiers begins Friday at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Competition will be held at the senior, junior and youth levels, and determines national rankings for senior and junior athletes.
TRACK & FIELD
Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country, Jan. 11, Edinburgh, Scotland
Bobby Mack returns to defend his title at the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country. He won the race in 2013 and was runner-up in 2012. He is one of 30 Team USA athletes who will compete in senior and junior divisions.
Other U.S. senior runners include Chris Derrick, who helped Team USA to a runner-up finish at the world cross country championships, and 2013 National Club Cross Country champion Joe Gray. The event also includes the Great Britain & Northern Ireland squad and Team Europe.
U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team vs. Canada, Jan. 9-11, Indian Trail, N.C.
The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team is preparing for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games by playing Canada in a series of games this weekend in Indian Trail, N.C.
Nastia Liukin Cup Series qualifier, Jan. 10-12, Atlanta, Ga.
The Atlanta Crown Invitational, which begins Friday, is the opening qualifier for the fifth annual Nastia Liukin Cup Series. The series includes 20 events in 14 states. Eighteen senior gymnasts and 18 junior gymnasts will advance out of the qualifiers to compete in the Feb. 28 Nastia Liukin Cup in Greensboro, N.C.
USA Boxing Junior and Youth Open, Jan. 5-11, Reno, Nev.
Championship bouts will be held in all weight divisions Saturday at the USA Boxing Junior and Youth Open in Reno, Nev. AIBA Male Junior Boxer of the Year Shakur Stevenson, and junior women world champions Caitlin Orosco and JaJaira Gonzalez are among more than 260 athletes. Stevenson won his first 114-pound bout by a 3-0 score Wednesday.
Olympic bronze medalist Marlen Esparza and London 2012 Olympic Games teammates Queen Underwood and Jose Ramirez are attending the event to support the up-and-coming boxers.
North American Tour Grand Final, Jan. 11-12, Milpitas, Calif.
Three-time national men’s champion Timothy Wang, a 2012 Olympian, will be among 16 players competing for the North American Tour Grand Final title on Saturday and Sunday. The tournament will take place at the India Community Center in Milpitas, Calif.