Travis Ganong followed up what had been his career-best, fifth-place finish in the men’s downhill at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games by landing his first career Audi FIS Alpine World Cup podium. Then, he nearly did it again.
Ganong finished third Friday in the first of two weekend downhill races at Kvitjell, Norway, then came within five-hundredths of a second of doing it again when he placed fourth Saturday. Friday’s race was shortened because of rain and fog. Ganong wiped his goggles halfway through the run and finished within 12-hundredths of first place.
“This is a really big step in my career,” Ganong said. “I’ve been slowly building up the last four years on the world cup tour and this last month or so I’ve really been finding some speed. Now I’m at the point where I’m really relaxed and having fun.”
Saturday’s race was also shortened because of difficult conditions.
Bode Miller was eighth in the downhill Saturday. Two-time Olympic medalist Andrew Weibrecht finished a career-best seventh in Sunday’s super-G.
Weibrecht used the finish to move up to 22nd in the season world cup standings and land a spot in the March 13 World Cup Finals in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. The top 25 in each discipline compete in the finals. Weibrecht qualified to complete in the final along with Bode Miller, Ganong and Ted Ligety.
On the women’s side, Julia Mancuso finished 18th in the downhill Sunday to lead the United States at Crans Montana, Switzerland. The downhill was pushed back to Sunday and the super combined was canceled because of weather conditions. Stacey Cook finished 21st and clinched a spot at the World Cup Finals along with Mancuso.
Kikkan Randall and Sophie Caldwell gave the U.S. women their first double podium Saturday at the world cup sprints in Lahti, Finland. Randall, a two-time world cup sprint champion, was first, while Caldwell, a rookie, became the first U.S. woman other than Randall to reach a world cup podium in the modern era of cross-country competition.
“It was a very special day for me,” Caldwell said.
The win put Randall back on top of the season world cup sprint standings.
“It was super fun to share the podium with my teammate today,” Randall said. “Sophie is having an incredible breakthrough season and it’s so fun to head to the start with your teammate. I’m super impressed with her trajectory and I’m looking forward to pushing each other and the other girls to the next level.”
Simi Hamilton led the U.S. men in the sprint, finishing 20th.
Randall was 21st in the women’s 10-kilometers Sunday when Noah Hoffman was 24th in the men’s 15-kilometer. Brothers Bryan and Taylor Fletcher placed 14th in Saturday’s team sprint.
Hannah Kearney bounced back quickly after not finishing Saturday’s moguls race in Inawashiro, Japan, by winning Sunday’s dual moguls competition to regain the world cup moguls standings lead.
“There’s always an element of luck with mogul skiing,” said Kearney, the 2010 Olympic gold medalist who added a bronze medal to her Olympic collection in Sochi. “I had a bad top jump (Saturday) after I hit the mogul, exploded and lost my ski. It was definitely rough, but it was up to me to not feel sorry for myself after a few bad results.”
Heather McPhie was fourth, Sophia Schwartz seventh and Eliza Outtrim 10th. Pat Deneen led the U.S. men Sunday, finishing fifth. Bryon Wilson was seventh.
On Saturday, Bradley Wilson won the men’s moguls and McPhie took second in the women’s race.
Jessica Jerome finished second Sunday in the women’s normal hill competition in Rasnov, Romania, for her career-best world cup finish. Jerome, who was 15th Saturday in the first Rasnov competition, reached the podium for the second time in her career.
Jerome was the only U.S. competitor after Lindsey Van suffered a knee injury in training Friday. Van is scheduled to return to the United States for further evaluation. Both skiers took part in the historic Olympic debut of women’s ski jumping last month in Sochi.
Sarah Hammer won her seventh career world championship gold medal by successfully defending her women’s omnium title at the UCI Track World Championships in Cali, Colombia.
Hammer won three of the six events that made up the omnium Saturday and Sunday. She also earned a silver medal in 2011 and a bronze medal in 2012 before taking the last two gold medals in the omnium.
Hammer’s big weekend also included a silver medal in individual pursuit Friday.
“It’s amazing to be able to replicate last year,” Hammer said. “Anytime you’re a world champion, you have a huge target on your back. … The omnium is a battle of the mind and the body, so you have to have great execution on every single event, and I feel like I had success at that the last two days.”
Sam Mikulak, a 2012 Olympian, and Elizabeth Price, a 2012 Olympic alternate, won the all-around titles over an international field at the AT&T American Cup on Saturday in Greensboro, N.C.
“To say I was able to come out and win against some of the top girls from these countries is a huge accomplishment,” said Price, who is leading the all-around point standings of the FIG World Cup series, which includes the American Cup.
Fellow 2012 Olympian John Orozco was fifth in the men’s competition and is third in the series standings. Brenna Dowell was second to Price on the women’s side.
The senior and junior divisions resulted in ties for the all-around titles at the Nastia Liukin Cup Friday in Greensboro. Mackenzie Brannan and McKenna Kelley tied for the senor title while Rachael Flam and Lauren Ramirez shared junior honors.
Sean Doherty won gold medals in the youth men’s sprint Saturday and the youth men’s 10-kilometer pursuit Sunday at the IBU Junior World Championships in Presque Isle, Maine. Doherty recently became the second-youngest Olympian in U.S. Biathlon history when he competed in Sochi at age 18. Racing continues Tuesday.
Three women’s teams and two men’s teams got off to 2-0 starts by winning both Saturday and Sunday at the USA National Championships in Aston, Pa. Monday’s competition was canceled because of heavy snow in the area. The championships continue through Friday.
Allison Pottinger, a 10-time national champion and two-time Olympian, skips one of the 2-0 women’s teams. Alex Carlson and Nina Spatola skip the other 2-0 teams. The 2-0 men’s teams are led by Alex Leichter and John Shuster, who just wrapped up his third Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.
Elsewhere, the World Junior Championships are underway in Flims, Switzerland. They conclude Wednesday.
Olympian Sarah Haskins returned to competition for the first time since the birth of her daughter and won the Clermont ITU Sprint Triathlon Pan American Cup in Florida’s Lake Louisa State Park. Haskins completed the 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run in 1:02.55.
“You never know how your body is going to respond after taking such a long time off,” said Haskins, who did not race in 2013. “It’s a great race and it’s close to home. I just really wanted to come out and do what I love to do, which is race hard.”
Sara McLarty led coming out of the water and was part of a pack of U.S. women that took sixth through 10th place. Rebeccah Wassner was sixth, followed by Chelsea Burns, McLarty, Kaitlin Donner and Michelle Mehnert.
William Huffman was third in the men’s race in 56:57. Kaleb VanOrt was fifth, Lukas Verzbicas ninth and Jarrod Shoemaker 10th.
Andrew Nielsen and Summer Cook won the USA Triathlon Under-25 Development Races.
Mariel Zagunis defeated Russia’s Olga Kharlan 15-10 in the gold-medal match of the Bolzano World Cup for women’s saber in Italy. The United States reached the team semifinals where it fell, 45-44, to Russia before dropping the bronze-medal match to Poland, 45-42.
Elsewhere, Kelley Hurley earned the bronze medal at the Saint-Maur World Cup for women’s epee in France. The United States won its last three team matches to place ninth.
The United States Under-23 Women’s National Team posted a win in its first match of the year, beating Japan 1-0 in the opener of the Six Nations Tournament in La Manga, Spain. Kealia Ohai scored the game’s only goal in the 56th minute on an assist from Katie Stengel. Abby Smith made five saves in the shutout. The United States will play Sweden Monday and Norway Wednesday.
The United States defeated Denmark, 237-233, in the men’s compound gold-medal match Saturday for one of the 10 U.S. medals earned at the World Archery Indoor Championships in Nimes, France.
Reo Wilde, who also earned individual silver in the compound, joined Braden Gellenthien and Jesse Broadwater to form the gold-medal-winning team. Christie Colin took individual women’s compound silver and was part of the women’s team compound silver with Erika Jones and Crystal Gauvin.
Two-time Olympian Brady Ellison earned a men’s recurve bronze.
Bridger Deaton, Dillon McGeorge and Charlie Weinstein won the compound junior men’s gold medal. Deaton picked up the individual bronze.
Emily Bee, Lexi Keller and Brogan Williams teamed for the junior women’s recurve silver. Bee took silver and Keller bronze individually.
The U.S. women earned four silver medals and three bronze medals at the Klippan Lady Open in Sweden.
Victoria Anthony, Whitney Conder and Randi Miller reached the final but lost to place second. Helen Maroulis also made the final, but defaulted because of an injury, settling for silver. Alyssa Lampe, Jennifer Page and Adeline Gray fought back to place third.
Sarah Hildebrandt, Kayla Miracle, Kelsey Campbell and Alli Ragan placed fifth to help the United States finish on top of the point standings.
Elsewhere, Kevin LeValley earned a silver medal at the Medved International in Minsk, Belarus. B.J. Futrell and Zach Rey added bronze medals.
World cup gold medalist Will Brown and Olympians Jason Turner and Brian Beaman made it through the Men’s Air Pistol Selection Match Friday to earn the right to represent the United States at the International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup March 27-April 4 in Fort Benning, Ga.
The USA Shooting Pistol Selection Match concludes Monday in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The U.S. team of Frances Land, Wilton Porter, Lillie Keenan and Michael Hughes combined for victory for the second straight year in the Young Rider competition at the Nations Cup at CSIO4* Wellington Saturday in Florida.
The modern pentathlon world cup in Acapulco, Mexico, was halted Sunday because of extreme heat.
The Haydenettes and Miami University continued successful runs at the U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships, which concluded Saturday in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Haydenettes won their fifth straight and 22nd total senior championship. Miami won its 10th straight and has now won 16 of the 18 collegiate titles in the event’s history.
The Haydenettes, from Lexington, Mass., and the second-place Crystallettes will represent the United States at the World Synchronized Skating Championships in April in Italy.
Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Tom Robinson is a freelance contributor for TeamUSA.org. Material from various news services and press releases from National Governing Bodies was used to compile this report.