Team USA Weekend Wrap-Up: Jan. 27, 2014
Steven Holcomb and Curt Tomasevicz secured the FIBT World Cup season points title in two-man bobsled Saturday and then joined with Steve Langton and Chris Fogt to win the final four-man world cup race of the season Sunday in Koenigssee, Germany.
“The momentum we’re building heading into the Olympics is incredible,” said Holcomb, who piloted a four-man sled that included Tomasevicz to an Olympic gold medal in 2010. “My team has worked so hard and sled technician Jim Garde has been working day in and out making sure the sled does exactly what I need it to. We came out today and put it all together, and it feels great to end the season on this note.”
Holcomb finished as the combined two-man and four-man world cup bobsled points leader after piloting the four-man team to second-place in the final standings.
|Aja Evans and Elana Meyers receive their first place medals for
during the Viessmann IBSF Bobsled and Skeleton World Cup event at Utah Olympic Park on Dec. 6, 2013 in Park City, Utah.
“It came down to the unfortunate crash we had in Winterberg,” Holcomb said. “We would have won the overall four-man title if it hadn’t been for that, and it goes to show how every race counts.
“Our goal was a top-five overall finish, and we not only met that, but actually exceeded it. We’re right where we want to be going into Sochi.”
The team’s next competition is the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games next month in Russia.
The United States had a successful final weekend of world cup competition. Elana Meyers and Aja Evans used a strong second run to jump up from eighth place to second place in the women’s bobsled competition on Sunday. All three U.S. women’s pilots wound up in the top 10 in the final standings.
Meyers placed second in the final standings by medaling in seven of eight races, including five with Evans. Fellow pilot Jamie Greubel finished third and Jazmine Fenlator seventh in the final standings.
Cory Butner and Chris Langton led the United States in the two-man bobsled Saturday, finishing fourth. Nick Cunningham and Andreas Drbal were sixth. Holcomb and Tomasevicz placed seventh in the race to wrap up the points title.
Matt Antoine placed fourth in the final men’s skeleton race and finished third in the points standings. Noelle Pikus-Pace won Friday in a women’s skeleton that was shortened to a single run due to heavy snow. She finished almost a half-second ahead of the field to finish second in the final points standings.
“I struggled a lot this week,” said Pikus-Pace, who raced for the first time following the death of her maternal grandfather earlier in the week. “I didn’t take as many runs as I planned because I was having a difficult time focusing. It’s been very hard not being home right now.
“I was just hoping for a top-six finish here, and I am grateful to have finished with the win.”
Kate Hansen gave the United States its first world cup singles luge title since 1997 when she won the women’s title Saturday at the World Cup Final in Sigulda, Latvia. Hansen set a Sigulda track record of 41.887 in her second run for a total of 1:23.976 to overcome leader Alex Gough of Canada.
“The ice was hard,” Hansen said. “The start was a little rough but I pulled really fast. The transitions were clean for the most part. There’s more I could have done, but I’m really stoked by it all.”
Erin Hamlin, who like Hansen was nominated to the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team, finished fourth. Hamlin and Hansen finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in the final world cup standings.
Read more about Kate Hansen’s historic victory here.
Chris Mazdzer was seventh Sunday in the men’s race that concluded the world cup season. He finished fifth in the world cup standings.
Elsewhere, Tucker West earned a silver medal Saturday at the Junior World Cup in Oberhof, Germany.
WINTER X GAMES
Olympic gold medalist Kelly Clark became the most decorated female athlete in X Games history Saturday in Aspen, Colo., when she won her fourth straight X Games snowboard superpipe title and 12th career X Games medal.
“I think it’s one of the best events of the year, coming here to X Games and getting to showcase our snowboarding and take women’s snowboarding forward,” said Clark, who has been nominated to the U.S. Olympic Team that will compete in Sochi. “It’s been one of my privileges to be part of that.”
Chloe Kim, 13, had the lead briefly before finishing second.
Another U.S. Olympian, Danny Davis, won the men’s snowboard superpipe Sunday night. Eight-time superpipe champion and five-time slopestyle champion Shaun White passed on the X Games this year to train for Sochi, where he will attempt to win his third consecutive Olympic halfpipe gold medal. White also was nominated to the U.S. Olympic Team for the inaugural Olympic slopestyle competition.
Nick Goepper, scheduled to be among the first U.S. freeskiing Olympians when the sport makes its Olympic debut next month, won his second consecutive ski slopestyle gold medal.
Ted Ligety finished second in the super combined Sunday after Bode Miller took third in the downhill Saturday in the FIS World Cup Alpine at Kitzbuehel, Austria. Ligety used a strong slalom run to claim the super combined silver medal in the final world cup race prior to the Olympic Winter Games.
On the women’s side, Stacey Cook finished fifth in downhill races both Friday and Saturday at the FIS World Cup alpine stop in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. Julia Mancuso was seventh Saturday after taking ninth Friday.
In the final race before Sochi, Cook placed 13th in the super-G Sunday.
After the weekend’s races, Cook, Ligety, Miller and Mancuso were among the 20 athletes nominated to the U.S. Olympic Alpine Ski Team. World champion Mikaela Shiffrin was also among the alpine selections Sunday.
“We’re on a really good track right now,” Alpine director Patrick Riml said. “All the programs, both the tech and speed athletes, are showing real good improvements and progressions. I’m very pleased with where we are right now going into the Games.”
Read more about the skiers nominated to the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team in Sochi here.
Mike Shea and Marc Dervaes both won back-to-back gold medals over the weekend at the International Paralympic Committee Alpine Skiing Para-Snowboard World Cup at Big White Ski Resort in Kelowna, British Columbia.
Shea, who won the men’s lower limb snowboard cross race Saturday, finished his best two of three runs Sunday in a combined time of 2 minutes, 29.2 seconds. U.S. teammate Evan Strong was just 1.31 seconds behind to claim the silver medal.
In the men’s upper limb race, Dervaes claimed a gold medal with a combined time of 2.42.9, which was 17.3 seconds ahead of second-place Matthew Robinson of Australia.
Amy Purdy and Heidi Jo Duce had strong performances in the women’s lower limb races, taking silver and bronze medals respectively.
Over two days of competition at Big White, Team USA earned a total of 11 medals (four gold, four silver, three bronze). Team USA heads to La Molina, Speain for the IPC Alpine Para-Snowboard World Cup Final Feb. 10-12. The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games are set for March 7-16.
Tarah Kayne and Daniel O’Shea captured the pairs silver medal while Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim took the bronze medal Friday in the ISU Four Continents Championships in Taipei City, Chinese Taipei.
Richard Dornbush was the highest American men’s finisher in fifth, while Courtney Hicks was the top finisher in the women’s competition in fifth as well. Joshua Farris was sixth and Adam Rippon placed eighth. Samantha Cesario posted an eighth-place finish and Mirai Nagasu, who earlier this month earned the bronze medal at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston, was 10th.
Earlier in the competition, the United States had claimed two medals in ice dancing Thursday as Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue captured the gold medal and Alexandra Aldridge and Daniel Eaton earned a bronze medal.
Jeff Wright and Margie Smith led their teams to USA Curling Senior National Championships at separate Wisconsin sites Sunday. Wright and his Chicago-area team that included Russ Armstrong, Russ Brown and Nils Johansson will head to Scotland to represent the United States in the Senior World Championships after winning the five-day men’s event in Portage.
Smith teamed with Norma O’Leary, Debbie Dexter and Shelly Kosal to win the women’s title over four days at Stevens Point.
Elsewhere, 10 men’s and 10 women’s teams began competition Sunday in the USA Curling Junior National Championships, which will continue through Feb. 1 in Seattle.
Katie Compton, who already clinched the elite women’s season points race title, was unable to complete the final UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup race Sunday in Nommay, France. An earlier streak of five straight wins helped Compton to the world cup title for the second straight season. Kaitlin Antonneau finished seventh in Compton’s absence. Jeremy Powers led the U.S. men, finishing 15th. Logan Owen was 15th in the Under-23 men’s race.
The United States won twice Sunday, including a 31-0 romp over Spain in the Shield Final at the IRB HSBC Sevens World Series stop in Las Vegas. After going 1-2 in pool play Friday and Saturday, the United States was eliminated from cup contention. Another loss Saturday dropped the team out of the bowl bracket into the consolation Shield play on Sunday.
Zach Test scored two tries in each Shield game Sunday: the win over Spain and the 28-14 semifinal win over Uruguay. After losing twice by a total of nine points Friday, the United States beat Spain 31-10 in the final pool game behind two tries by Brett Thompson, who also had one in each of Sunday’s games.
Marlen Esparza extended her own record for USA Boxing National Championships titles Saturday in Spokane, Wash., by winning the event for the eighth time. Esparza, a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, defeated Virginia Fuchs in a rematch of the 2013 flyweight final, forcing Fuchs to need a standing eight count midway through the unanimous decision.
Fellow Olympians Queen Underwood and Claressa Shields also captured titles. Underwood won her seventh national title with a decision over Mikaela Mayer in the lightweight final. Shields, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist, defeated defending champion Franchon Crews in the middleweight final.
Lightweight Genaro Gamez and light welterweight Abraham Nova scored technical knockouts in the men’s finals. Other men’s champions were Leroy Davila, Malik Jackson, Jarico O’Quinn, Abraham Nova, Jose Alday, LeShawn Rodriguez, Julius Butler, Joshua Temple and Cam F. Awesome.
The other women’s champions were: Alex Love, Christina Cruz, Tiara Brown, Destiny Chearino, Danyelle Wolf, Dara Shen and Krystal Dixon.
Robbie Smith was named Outstanding U.S. Wrestler Saturday for his performance in the 130-kilogram weight class at the Jack Pinto Cup in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Smith, two-time Olympian Spenser Mango, Joe Betterman, Andy Bisek and Jordan Holm all went unbeaten in the event in which four U.S. Greco-Roman dual meet teams each went through a series of four matches with international teams.
Pinto, a 6-year-old wrestler, was one of the victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Joe Gallardo, the tournament’s leading scorer, and Haji Wright scored second-half goals Saturday to lift the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team to a 2-1 victory over host Turkey in the championship game of the Aegean Cup in Manisa.
Erika Jones won the compound women’s gold medal at the Indoor World Cup, which was held Friday through Sunday in Telford, Great Britain. David Houser won the compound junior men’s gold. Levi Morgan earned the men’s compound bronze.
Andras Horanyi led the United States with a 31st-place finish at the world cup men’s epee event Sunday in Legnano, Italy.
Elsewhere, the United States won two gold medals at the Pisa Foil Cadet European Cup in Italy. George Haglund took the men’s gold medal and Jarred Gou took the silver medal Sunday. Imam Blow won the women’s gold medal and Nicole Vaiani claimed the bronze medal Saturday.
Hannah Martin earned the bronze medal at 63 kilograms Sunday in the African Open at Casablanca, Morocco.