Team USA Weekend Preview: March 6, 2014

By Paul D. Bowker | March 06, 2014, 1:22 p.m. (ET)
Jon Lujan competes in the men's slalom standing race during the International Paralympic Committee Alpine Skiing World Cup at the Winter Games NZ at Coronet Peak on Aug. 22, 2013 in Queenstown, New Zealand.


Paralympic Winter Games, March 7-16, Sochi, Russia

Alpine skier Jon Lujan, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, was selected to carry the U.S. flag Friday at the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. The ceremony at Fisht Stadium is the opening act for the athletic competition, which will begin March 8 and continue through March 16 at many of the same venues used for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

“Obviously the flag to me represents our country, and ever since we became a country that flag has stood in every battle and every holiday and it’s draped over the coffins of our fallen military,” said Lujan, who has been a member of the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing National Team since 2012. “So there’s a lot of meaning behind that flag. To be able to carry it on an international level of this magnitude is unbelievable.”

Lujan, a Marine sergeant for more than eight and a half years, ruptured two discs in his back during a mission in Iraq in 2003. His spinal cord was damaged during surgery, leaving permanent nerve damage and paralysis in his lower legs.

Lujan is one of 80 U.S. Paralympians who will compete in Sochi. An impressive roster also includes Tatyana McFadden, a 10-time Paralympic medalist in track and field who is now competing in Nordic skiing; alpine skier Alana Nichols, a six-time Paralympic medalist who was the first U.S. woman to win a gold medal at both the winter and summer Paralympic Games; Amy Purdy, who will compete in the inaugural women’s snowboard cross and then become the first U.S. Paralympian on the hit TV show Dancing with the Stars; and Andy Yohe, a two-time Paralympic medalist who is captain of the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team.

Opening weekend events include alpine skiing, biathlon, sled hockey and wheelchair curling Saturday, and alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, sled hockey and wheelchair curling Sunday. The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team will open its schedule Saturday against Italy. All events will be streamed live at

NBC and NBCSN will combine to air 50 hours of television coverage for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, starting March 7 with the Opening Ceremony.

TV: 1 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. ET Saturday, NBC Sports Network; 1 p.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, NBC; 1 a.m. and 11 p.m. Sunday, NBC Sports Network.


IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships, March 7-9, Sopot, Poland

Four-time Olympian Bernard Lagat seeks his third consecutive indoor title in the 3,000-meter race at the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships, which begin Friday in Sopot, Poland. He is among 48 U.S. athletes who are hoping to repeat the success from the 2012 worlds, where the United States won a record 10 gold medals.

Janay DeLoach Soukup, a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, looks to medal in the 60-meter hurdles race after winning a silver medal in the women’s long jump at the 2012 world indoors.

Other 2012 Olympians include Jennifer Suhr in the women’s pole vault, Michelle Carter in the women’s shotput, Nick Symmonds in the men’s 800, Galen Rupp in the men’s 3,000 and Ashton Eaton in the heptathlon.

Mary Cain, 17, the U.S. champion at women’s 1,500-meter, will not compete because of a calf injury.

TV: 8 p.m. ET Friday, Universal Sports

Webcast: 4 a.m. and noon ET Saturday; 9:50 a.m. Sunday,

Also in track and field:

USA Youth Indoor Track & Field Championships, March 7-9, Landover, Md.

Webcast: 9 a.m. ET Saturday and Sunday,


FIS World Cup Alpine, women’s giant slalom and slalom, March 6-8, Are, Sweden

Mikaela Shiffrin, the world cup points leader in slalom and the 2014 Olympic gold medalist in the event, is expected to compete Saturday in the final slalom event prior to the World Cup Finals.

Other U.S. skiers include four-time Olympic medalist Julia Mancuso, who finished 18th in the downhill last week at Crans Montana, Switzerland, and Megan McJames.

TV: 6:30 p.m. ET Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday, Universal Sports

Webcast: 4:30 a.m. Saturday,

FIS World Cup Alpine, men’s giant slalom and slalom, March 8-9, Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

Ted Ligety, who won the gold medal in the men’s giant slalom at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, is expected to be back chasing after another podium finish in a world cup giant slalom Saturday at Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. Bode Miller, a five-time Olympian who earned a bronze medal in the men’s super-G in Sochi, will be among those joining Ligety.

The event provides the last chance for skiers to qualify for the World Cup Finals in slalom and giant slalom.

TV: 11 a.m. ET Saturday and Sunday, Universal Sports

Webcast: 3:30 a.m. Saturday and 4:30 a.m. Sunday,

Also in skiing:

FIS World Cup, Men’s Ski Jumping, March 6-7, Trondheim, Norway

FIS World Cup, Women’s Ski Jumping, March 8, Oslo, Norway

FIS World Cup, Men’s Ski Jumping, March 8-9, Oslo, Norway

Webcast: 9:15 a.m. ET Sunday,

FIS World Cup, Nordic Combined, March 8, Oslo, Norway

FIS World Cup, women’s and men’s cross country, March 8-9, Oslo, Norway

Webcast: 5:50 a.m. ET Saturday and 7 a.m. Sunday,

FIS World Cup, Freestyle, women’s and men’s ski cross, March 6-7, Arosa, Switzerland


USA Curling National Championships, March 1-8, Aston, Pa.

The men’s and women’s championship matches will be held Saturday in the USA Curling National Championships at IceWorks Skating Complex in Aston, Pa.

The winning teams will represent the United States at the world championships in March at different venues. Beijing will be host to the men’s worlds; St. John, New Brunswick, will be host to the women.

The matchups for the gold-medal games will be set following Friday’s semifinals. Among the leading women’s teams in round-robin play were Allison Pottinger, Cassie Potter and Nina Spatola, which each won seven of their first nine matches. Teams skipped by Craig Brown, Brady Clark and Heath McCormick were the men’s tournament leaders.


U.S. National Championship, skeleton, March 6-7, Lake Placid, N.Y.

Matt Antoine, a bronze medalist at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, and Olympic teammate Kyle Tress are among those competing for a national skeleton championship this week at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y. Antoine was the leader heading into Friday's two final runs after posting record-breaking runs of 53.41 and 53.44 seconds Thursday.


E.ON IBU World Cup, March 6-9, Pokljuka, Slovenia

The men’s and women’s pursuit races will be Saturday, followed by the mass start races Sunday in the Pokljuka World Cup. It is the first world cup event since the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Also in biathlon:

IBU Junior World Championships, Feb. 28-March 7, Presque Isle, Maine


Essent ISU Long Track Junior World Championships, March 7-9, Bjugn, Norway

Nine U.S. skaters, including 2014 Olympian Emery Lehman, will compete at the Essent ISU Long Track Junior World Championships. The racing begins Friday in Bjugn, Norway.

Also in speed skating:

ISU World Cup Long Track, March 7-9, Inzell, Germany

ISU Junior World Short Track Championships, March 7-9, Erzurum, Turkey


Challenge Cup, March 6-9, The Hague, Netherlands

Douglas Razzano, who finished sixth at the Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships, is among nine U.S. skaters competing in the Challenge Cup in The Hague, Netherlands. He is the only U.S. senior-level skater competing.

Other skaters are Amy Lin and Elena Taylor in women’s, Chase Belmontes and Kevin Shum in men’s, and the pairs teams of Jessica Lee and Robert Hennings, and Aya Takai and Brian Johnson. Lin and Taylor are making their international debuts.


PATCO Sprint Triathlon Pan American Championships, March 8, Sarasota, Fla.

Sarah Haskins will go after her second consecutive victory Saturday in the ITU PATCO Sprint Triathlon Pan American Championships in Sarasota, Fla. She won the women’s race last week in the season-opening Pan American Cup in Clermont, Fla.

More than 80 international elite athletes will compete in a one-lap 750-meter swim, three-lap 20-kilometer bike race and one-lap 5-kilometer run at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota. The Junior North American Championships will also take place Saturday.

In addition to Haskins, U.S. athletes in the elite women’s race include Sara McLarty and Kaitlin Donner.

Lukas Verzbicas, who finished ninth in Clermont, is among the title contenders in the elite men’s race. Other U.S. men include Jarrod Shoemaker and Hunter Lussi.


Algarve Cup, March 5-12, Parchal and Albufeira, Portugal

The U.S. Women’s National Team will play Sweden on Friday and Denmark Monday in the 21st annual Algarve Cup in Albufeira, Portugal. The United States has won the Algarve Cup title a record nine times.

Sydney Leroux scored her 27th international goal in a 1-1 tie with Japan Wednesday, extending the national team’s unbeaten streak to 43 games.

“We had a lot of chances that we should have finished, but that’s the game of soccer,” said Leroux, who also hit the post with a shot in the 73rd minute. “Hopefully we’ll come out next game and finish those chances.”

U.S. Under-18 Women‘s National Team vs. Sweden, March 8, La Manga, Spain

The U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team begins play in the 12 Nations Tournament on Saturday against Sweden in La Manga, Spain. The U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team won the Six Nations Tournament, which concluded Wednesday in La Manga.


Grand Prix, men’s saber, March 8, Budapest, Hungary

London 2012 Olympians Daryl Homer and Jeff Spear are among the U.S. athletes expected to compete Saturday in the Budapest Grand Prix for men’s saber. Homer opened the 2014 World Cup season by placing sixth last month in Madrid, Spain.

Also in fencing:

World Cup, women’s epée, March 7, Barcelona, Spain


US National Team Trials, March 7-9, Fort Worth, Texas

London 2012 Olympians Ariel Hsing, Erica Wu, Lily Zhang and Timothy Wang are among those entered to compete in the US National Team Trials. The competition will be held Friday through Sunday at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, Texas.


USA Red vs. Blue match, March 7, Del Mar, Calif.

The U.S. Women’s Volleyball Training Team will play a Red-Blue match Friday night at the Fairgrounds Volleyball Center in Del Mar, Calif. The match is open free to the public and includes a question-and-answer session with athletes after the match. The training team is in the midst of its eight-week winter training block.


Youth Continental Championships, March 6-10, Quito, Ecuador

Thirteen current or former national champions are representing the United States at the Youth Continental Championships in Quito, Ecuador. The tournament features top youth boxers from North, Central and South America. Preliminary round bouts will be held Friday, semifinals Saturday and championship matches Sunday.

The U.S. team: Nico Hernandez, men's light flyweight; Caitlin Orosco, women's flyweight; Carlos Balderas, men's bantamweight; Isidro Ochoa, men's lightweight; Antonio Vargas, men's flyweight; Jajaira Gonzalez, women's lightweight; Jonathan Navarro, men's light welterweight; Javier Estrada, men's welterweight; Charles Conwell, men's middleweight; Martha Fabela, women's middleweight; Bobby Harris, men's light heavyweight; Matthew Mollet, men's heavyweight; Darmani Rock, men's super heavyweight.


Hassle Free Open Championships, March 8-9, Foster City, Calif.

Trials sessions for international competitions will be held Saturday and Sunday at the Hassle Free Open Championships in Foster City, Calif. The trials are U.S. qualification events for the 2014 Pan American Championships, Junior Pan American Championships, Pan American Youth Championships, Junior World Championships and Youth Olympic Games.

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