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Team USA Weekend Preview: Jan. 16, 2014

By Paul D. Bowker | Jan. 16, 2014, 2:30 p.m. (ET)

Great Britain's Elizabeth Yarnold (silver), Noelle Pikus-Pace (gold) and Shelley Rudman of Great Britain (bronze) pose with their medals at the Viessmann FIBT Bobsled & Skeleton World Cup at the Olympia Bob Run on Jan. 11, 2014 in St. Moritz, Switzerland. 

With 22 days remaining until the Opening Ceremony for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, many Team USA athletes are still working on getting their passports stamped for Russia. Bobsled and skeleton athletes will be nominated to the U.S. Olympic Team this weekend and snowboarders will be squeezing in Olympic qualifying competition as well. Americans will be competing around the world in some of their final events before taking on Olympic competition in Sochi. Read more details below in this week’s edition of the Team USA Weekend Preview.

BOBSLED & SKELETON

World Cup, Jan. 17-19, Igls, Austria

Katie Uhlaender poses at the NBC Olympics/United States Olympic Committee promotional shoot on April 26, 2013 in West Hollywood, Calif.

Olympic quotas and nominations for bobsled and skeleton will be determined by this weekend’s world cup stop in Igls, Austria. It is the final international event that will be used to decide the number of quota spots awarded to each nation in the two sports for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

The U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton plans to announce its skeleton athlete nominations to the U.S. Olympic Team on Saturday and the bobsled nominations Sunday. All nominations are subject to the approval of United States Olympic Committee.

Noelle Pikus-Pace, a clear favorite to be nominated for her second Olympic team with a No. 2 world ranking, is among those racing in women’s skeleton Friday. She has won five medals this season, including three gold. Katie Uhlaender also will race. Matt Antoine, John Daly and Kyle Tress will race in Saturday’s men’s skeleton.

Olympic gold medalist Steven Holcomb will team up with Steve Langton in the two-man bobsled Saturday. Curt Tomasevicz and Chris Fogt will join them in USA-1 in Sunday’s four-man bobsled. Holcomb, a two-time Olympian, is ranked No. 1 in two-man and No. 4 in four-man.

The United States will have three sleds in both the two-man and four-man. Nick Cunningham will race in two-man with Andreas Drbal and also pilot the four-man USA-2 sled. Cory Butner and Chuck Berkeley round out the two-man teams, and they will add Chris Langton and Adam Clark in the four-man race.

Elana Meyers, who is ranked No. 2 in women’s bobsled, will team up with Aja Evans in Sunday’s competition. Jamie Greubel will race with three-time Olympic track sprinter Lauryn Williams, and Jazmine Fenlator will race with two-time Olympic track hurdler Lolo Jones.

TV: 4 p.m.-5 p.m. ET Friday, 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Universal Sports

Also in bobsled/skeleton:

European Cup, Jan. 16-19, St. Moritz, Switzerland

SNOWBOARDING

Sprint U.S. Grand Prix, Jan. 16-19, Mammoth Mountain, Calif.

The final three Olympic qualification events for U.S. snowboarders will be squeezed into four days of competition at Mammoth Mountain. The nominations to the U.S. Olympic Team will be announced following the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix halfpipe final Sunday.

The third and fourth slopestyle Olympic qualification finals were scheduled for Thursday, while the third and fourth halfpipe Olympic qualification sessions will be held Friday. A quick rescheduling was necessary because of poor weather conditions causing last week’s halfpipe and slopestyle finals to be canceled at Breckinridge, Colorado. The fifth slopestyle final is scheduled for Saturday with the halfpipe final Sunday.

Two-time Olympic halfpipe gold medalist Shaun White is attempting to secure Olympic spots in both halfpipe and slopestyle.

Three-time Olympian Kelly Clark mathematically secured a halfpipe nomination in the first two Olympic qualifiers. Other athletes still closing in on Olympic nominations include Olympic bronze medalist Scotty Lago, Chas Guldemond, Greg Bretz, Arielle Gold and Jamie Anderson.

TV: 11 p.m. ET Friday, Universal Sports

Also in snowboarding:

FIS World Cup, men’s and women’s halfpipe and slopestyle, Jan. 16-19, Stoneham, Canada

FIS World Cup, men’s and women’s parallel giant slalom, Jan. 18, Rogla, Slovenia

FREESKIING

Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix, Jan. 17-19, Park City, Utah

The final two qualification events in freeskiing for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games will be held this weekend in Park City, Utah. David Wise and Maddie Bowman mathematically secured their nominations to the U.S. Olympic Team, by winning the halfpipe finals in Breckenridge, Colo.

The rest of the men’s and women’s athletes will be battling for Olympic spots this weekend.

“The pressure is off for me now,” Wise said. “I’m so stoked. I’m excited to go ski at Park City. Now the pressure is off. I can work on my runs a little more and maybe work on some things I still need to hone in for Sochi.”

TV: 3 p.m.-5:30 p.m. ET Friday, NBC Sports Network; 2:30 p.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, NBC; 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Saturday, 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Sunday, NBC Sports Network

FREESTYLE SKIING

FIS World Cup, women’s and men’s aerials, Jan. 18, Lake Placid, N.Y.

The final aerials event prior to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games will be held Saturday in Lake Placid, N.Y. Mac Bohonnon had a career-best second-place finish Tuesday at the world cup in Val St. Come, B.C. Two podium finishes are required to meet Olympic qualification criteria. Ashley Caldwell has a prior podium finish on the women’s side.

The U.S. moguls team heads to Val St. Come for its final Olympic qualification event. Patrick Deneen mathematically clinched a nomination for the U.S. Olympic Team Wednesday, when he finished second in moguls at the USANA Freestyle World Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y. Defending Olympic champion Hannah Kearney, who has already met the Olympic qualification criteria, had her sixth podium finish in Lake Placid, earning a bronze medal.

LUGE

World Cup, Jan. 18-19, Altenberg, Germany

The race for Olympic seeds is on as the world cup circuit moves to Altenberg, Germany, on Saturday and Sunday. Chris Mazdzer, a two-time Olympian, enters the event as the highest-ranked American in fifth place in the men’s singles standings.

Higher seedings will lead to earlier starts and likely better conditions in the luge competition at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The Altenberg World Cup and the World Cup Finals in Latvia will be the final two of three determining events for the Sochi seedings.

Other top U.S. athletes include Tucker West, who is in 16th place in men’s singles; Christian Niccum and Jayson Terdiman, who placed a season-best ninth last week in Oberhof in doubles; two-time Olympian Erin Hamlin, who placed 10th in women’s singles in Oberhof; and Kate Hansen, who was 12th last week.

A team relay will be held Sunday. The United States is in third place in the relay standings.

Also in luge:

Junior World Cup, Jan. 18-19, Konigssee, Germany

ALPINE SKIING

FIS World Cup Alpine, women’s downhill and super-G, Jan. 16-19, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy

With just one week remaining before the alpine skiing nominations are made for the U.S. Olympic Team, the women will compete Saturday in a world cup downhill and Sunday in a super-G in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. Three-time Olympian Julia Mancuso, Stacey Cook, Laurenne Ross, Jacqueline Wiles and Julia Ford are among those racing.

TV: 10 a.m. ET Saturday and Sunday, Universal Sports

FIS World Cup Alpine, men’s super combined, downhill and slalom, Jan. 16-19, Wengen, Switzerland

Four-time Olympian Bode Miller, two-time Olympian Ted Ligety and three-time Olympian Marco Sullivan are among those competing this weekend in Wengen, Switzerland. The men’s downhill will be held Saturday, followed by a slalom race Sunday.

TV: 9 p.m. ET Friday, 7:30 a.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. Sunday, Universal Sports

Also in skiing:

FIS World Cup, Men’s Ski Jumping, Jan. 17-19, Zakopane, Poland

FIS World Cup, Women’s Ski Jumping, Jan. 18-19, Zao, Japan

FIS World Cup, Nordic Combined, Jan. 17-19, Seefeld, Austria

FIS World Cup Cross Country, women and men, Jan. 18-19, Szklarska Poreba, Poland

FIS World Cup Freestyle, women’s and men’s slopestyle, Jan. 17-18, Gstaad, Switzerland

FIS World Cup Freestyle, women’s and men’s skicross, Jan. 15-17, Val Thorens, France

PARALYMPIC SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING

World Cup, Jan. 17-20, Copper Mountain, Colo.

After winning 14 medals in four days of world cup competition at the Panorama, B.C., the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing Team will be back in action at the world cup in Copper Mountain, Colo. Points scored by athletes for their finishes determine the world rankings that will be used for qualification for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. Allison Jones, a seven-time Paralympic medalist, won three medals in Panorama.

The world cup will also include Para-snowboarding. Among the U.S. snowboarders are Keith Gabel and Evan Strong, who share the world cup points standings lead in men’s standings in snowboardcross.

BIATHLON

E.ON IBU World Cup, Jan. 16-19, Antholz-Anterselva, Italy

Men’s and women’s pursuit races will be held Saturday and the team relays Sunday in the E.ON IBU World Cup in Antholz-Anterselva, Italy. Lowell Bailey is coming off a week in which he placed 21st in the pursuit and 25th in the 20-kilometer individual event.

The US Biathlon nominations for the U.S. Olympic Team were announced Tuesday. Joining Bailey are Tim Burke, Lanny Barnes, Annelies Cook, Russell Currier, Sean Doherty, Hannah Dreissigacker, Susan Dunklee, Leif Nordgren and Sara Studebaker. The nominations are subject to the approval of the United States Olympic Committee.

Also in biathlon:

IBU Cup, Jan. 16-18, Ruhpolding, Germany

CURLING

Continental Cup of Curling, Jan. 16-19, Las Vegas

Three-time U.S. Olympians John Shuster and Erika Brown, the skips of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Curling Team, will team up with Canada’s Olympic teams to compete as Team North America against Team World in the World Financial Group Continental Cup of Curling. The tournament has a format similar to golf’s Ryder Cup and is being played at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The format includes singles, mixed doubles and team.

Shuster’s men’s team also includes two-time Olympian Jeff Isaacson, Jared Zezel and John Landsteiner. The women’s team led by Brown also includes three-time Olympian Debbie McCormick, and Olympians Jessica Schultz and Ann Swisshelm.

The schedule includes Shuster and Brown facing Team World’s Thomas Ulsrud and Miyo Ichikawa in mixed doubles Saturday. Shuster’s team will face Ulsrud on Saturday and Brown’s team will face Team World’s Eve Muirhead on Friday.

TV: 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. ET Sunday and 8 p.m.-10 p.m. Jan. 26, NBC Sports Network; 5 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Universal Sports

SPEEDSKATING

Essent ISU Long Track World Sprint Championships, Jan. 18-19, Nagano, Japan

Racing in the Essent ISU Long Track World Sprint Championships will take place Saturday and Sunday in Nagano, Japan. It is the last international event prior to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Top U.S. skaters include 2010 Olympian and 2013 world sprint champion Heather Richardson, Brittany Bowe and two-time Olympic champion Shani Davis. All have been nominated to the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team, pending approval by the United States Olympic Committee.

Also in speed skating:

Great Lakes Long Track Championships, Jan. 18-19, Pettit National Ice Center, Milwaukee.

SWIMMING

Arena Grand Prix, Jan. 16-18, Austin, Texas

Six-time Olympic medalist Allison Schmitt, 12-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky are among more than 400 swimmers entered in the second Arena Grand Prix event. It takes place through Saturday at the University of Texas in Austin.

Conor Dwyer and Megan Romano are the points leaders after one event in the Arena Grand Prix series. Ryan Lochte, an 11-time Olympic medalist, will not compete because of a knee injury.

TV: 7 p.m. ET Friday and 10 p.m. Saturday, Universal Sports

FENCING

World Cup, Men’s Foil, Jan. 17-19, Paris

The U.S. Men’s Foil Team, which rose to the top of the world rankings after winning the 2012-13 world cup overall championship, begins the 2013-14 season Friday in Paris.

The targets are clearly on their backs.

“It all starts again in Paris,” coach Greg Massialas said. “We certainly have our work cut out for us as other teams are preparing much more for us this year. At the same time, I feel that our guys are really looking forward to the challenges that we will be facing this season.”

Among those men is Miles Chamley-Watson, who made U.S. history at the 2013 Senior World Championships when he won the gold medal. It was the first world gold medal for a U.S. men’s fencer. Chamley-Watson, Alexander Massialas, Gerek Meinhardt and Race Imboden combined to win a team silver medal at the world championships.

The U.S. men’s and women’s epee teams also begin their international seasons with a grand prix tournament in Doha, Qatar. Among those competing are two-time Olympian Soren Thompson in the men’s tournament, and London 2012 Olympic bronze medalists Courtney and Kelley Hurley in the women’s tournament.

Also in fencing:

North American Cup, Jan. 17-20, Virginia Beach, Va.

CYCLING

UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Jan. 17-19, Guadalajara, Mexico

Sarah Hammer, a silver medalist at the London 2012 Olympic Games, will chase after a podium finish in the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico. She won the omnium at the previous world cup event in December in Mexico.

The United States is in fourth place in the point standings. Other U.S. riders include Kimberly Geist, Jennifer Valente, Ruth Winder, Beth Newell, Madalyn Godby and Jacob Duehring.

SOCCER

CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship, Jan. 9-19, Cayman Islands

The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team will face Trinidad & Tobago in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship on Friday in the Cayman Islands. A victory would qualify the United States for the 2014 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup.

McKenzie Meehan scored three goals in a 10-0 win Monday over Guatemala. The United States, which won its group with a 3-0 record, is seeking a berth in Sunday’s championship game.

TV: 7 p.m. ET Friday, Fox Soccer Plus

GYMNASTICS

Nastia Liukin Cup Series qualifiers, Jan. 17-20, various locations

The fifth annual Nastia Liukin Cup Series continues this weekend with three qualifying competitions. The series includes 20 events in 14 states. Grace Glenn of Charlotte, N.C., won a senior spot and Bailey Ferrer of Orlando, Fla., won a junior berth at last week’s opening event in Atlanta. In all, 18 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. This week’s events: Lady Luck Invitational, Jan. 17-19, Las Vegas.; Kim Zmeskal’s Texas Prime Meet, Jan. 17-19, Irving, Texas; CGA Coaches Spectacular, Jan. 17-20, Cincinnati.

TRACK & FIELD

USA Half Marathon Championships, Jan. 19, Houston

Long-distance runners will take to Houston’s streets Sunday for the USA Half Marathon Championships. The event is part of the Chevron Houston Marathon. The Aramco Houston Half Marathon is expected to attract 25,000 runners, including defending women’s champion Adriana Nelson and 2012 Olympian Lisa Uhl. Three-time Olympian Meb Keflezighi is expected to race in the marathon.

SOFTBALL

ISGU International Fast Pitch Tournament, Jan. 16-19, Altamonte Springs, Fla.

The USA Softball Men’s National Team pool was split into two teams for this week’s International Sports Group Union (ISGU) International Fast Pitch Tournament in Florida. The tournament is being used by U.S. coaches as an evaluation of 25 players. The National Team roster will be trimmed to 17 later this year for the International Softball Federation (ISF) World Championship and Pan American Games qualifying tournament in November.

This week’s tournament featuring 31 international teams is being played at Seminole Softball Complex and Merrill Park in Altamonte Springs, Fla.

SQUASH

U.S. Pro Squash Series, Jan. 15-19, St. Louis, Mo.

Julian Illingworth, who won the inaugural U.S. Pro Squash Series championship in 2013, is among 16 athletes competing in the season opener in St. Louis, Mo.

ROLLER SPORTS

Pan American Roller Sports Figure Championships, Jan. 17-20, Kissimmee, Fla.

Competition begins Friday in the Pan American Roller Sports Figure Championships and Pan Am Games qualifier. The event will be held at Skate Reflections in Kissimmee, Fla.

Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor for TeamUSA.org

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