Team USA Weekend Wrap-Up: March 10, 2014
PARALYMPIC WINTER GAMES
Team USA earned six medals in alpine skiing, the most of any nation, during the opening weekend of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
Alana Nichols took the silver and Laurie Stephens the bronze in the women’s downhill sitting division race Saturday. Allison Jones earned bronze in the women’s downhill standing class for her eighth career Paralympic medal and first in downhill skiing. Jones earned the first U.S. medal in both the Sochi Games and the London 2012 Paralympic Games, where she competed as a cyclist.
|Mark Bathum competes in the men's super G - visually impaired at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center on March 8, 2014.
Mark Bathum and guide Cade Yamamoto won silver in the men’s visually impaired super-G Sunday.
Stephens earned another bronze Monday in the super-G sitting division, while Stephanie Jallen earned bronze in the super-G standing division.
There were some scary moments for U.S. skiers in these Paralympic Winter Games as Tyler Walker crashed in a sitting downhill race and Nichols and Stephani Victor also crashed in the super-G. All three are recovering.
Oksana Masters gave the United States its first women’s cross-country skiing Paralympic medal in 20 years with a silver medal in the 12-kilometer race Sunday. Visually impaired skier Michelle Drolet was the last American woman to medal in cross-country, claiming a bronze medal in the women’s 5-kilometer free technique at the Lillehammer 1994 Paralympic Winter Games
The U.S. sled hockey team started 2-0 by defeating Italy, 5-1, Saturday and South Korea, 3-0, Sunday. Brody Roybal had two goals Saturday. Steve Cash, who didn’t give up any goals in Team USA’s gold-medal effort in Vancouver, had nine saves in Sunday’s shutout.
Patrick McDonald and teammates David Palmer, Jimmy Joseph, Penny Greely, and alternate Meghan Lino earned an 8-5 victory over Norway's Rune Lorentsen to improve to 1-2 in the wheelchair curling round robin standings at the Ice Cube Curling Center.
TRACK & FIELD
Kyle Clemons, David Verburg, Kind Butler III and Calvin Smith combined to set the only world record at the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championship Sunday in Sopot, Poland.
The U.S. 4x400-meter team smashed a 15-year-old record in the event by winning in 3 minutes, 2.13 seconds. The victory was the fifth straight for the United States in the men’s 4x400 at the World Indoor Championships.
Team USA wrapped up the three-day event with a world championships-leading eight gold medals and 12 total medals, more than twice as many as any other country.
The women’s 4x400-meter team set an American record in its closing win. Natasha Hastings, Joanna Atkins, Francena McCorory and Cassandra Tate finished in 3:24.83, more than 2.5 seconds better than the previous mark. McCorory also had an individual medal, winning the women’s 400.
Other U.S. gold medals were won by: Ryan Whiting, men’s shot put; Ashton Eaton, men’s heptathlon; Nia Ali, women’s 60-meter hurdles; Chanelle Price, women’s 800-meter; and Omo Osaghae, men’s 60-meter hurdles.
Eaton scored 6,632 points, which was good enough to win the title by 329 points, but he said he was disappointed that he did not beat his 2012 world record of 6,645 points. A day before Eaton won his title, his wife, Brianne Theisen-Eaton of Canada, earned the silver medal in the pentathlon.
Four-time Olympian Bernard Lagat, 39, became the oldest man to medal in the World Indoor Championships with a silver medal in the 3,000-meter, which he has previously won three times. Teammate Galen Rupp finished fourth.
Marvin Bracy added a silver medal in the men’s 60-meter. The United States earned two bronze medals: Kyle Clemons (men’s 400-meter) and Tianna Bartoletta (women’s 60-meter).
Olympic gold medalists Ted Ligety and Mikaela Shiffrin picked up historic world cup wins Saturday on courses that have special meaning to each.
Shiffrin clinched a second straight FIS World Cup slalom season title Saturday in Are, Sweden, when she claimed her fourth world cup win of the season. The 18-year-old is the youngest skier to win eight world cup races. All those wins have come since Dec. 20, 2012, when Shiffrin posted her first victory in Are.
“My first win was, of course, amazing,” said Shiffrin, the youngest Olympic champion and youngest season world cup champion in slalom history. “It just seemed like such a perfect night to get a world cup win. It was a dream come true and kind of the start of all this, because in my mind I finally felt like I really could be a good ski racer at the world cup level.”
Shiffrin will turn 19 on March 13.
Fellow 2014 Olympian Julia Mancuso, a bronze medalist in Sochi in the combined event, was 20th in the giant slalom Friday.
Meanwhile, Ligety became the first man in FIS Alpine World Cup history to win six times at the same venue when he captured the giant slalom title Saturday in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. The win was the 23rd of Ligety’s world cup career.
“This is definitely a really cool hill,” said Ligety, who was 16th in Sunday’s slalom race. “It has so much personality and it’s really a fun hill to ski. It has the steep parts. It has the rolls. It has a little bit of a gliding section. So, it’s a true GS skier’s hill.”
Kikkan Randall was 12th and Sadie Bjornsen 14th for their career-best finishes in the 30-kilometer classic Saturday at the world cup in Oslo, Norway.
Ski jumper Jessica Jerome finished 10th on the large hill world cup at Holmenkollen in Oslo, Norway. In Nordic combined, Taylor Fletcher was 22nd in the individual 10-kilometer Holmenkollen World Cup.
Brian Hansen set a track record and Heather Richardson won the Golden Skate of Inzell Award for winning the most world cup points during the weekend at the ISU World Cup Long Track in Inzell, Germany.
Hansen set his record while winning the 1,500-meter title Sunday. He also joined Mitch Whitmore and Jonathan Garcia in placing first in the team sprint competition. On Saturday, Hansen was third in the 1,000 while teammate Shani Davis took first place.
Richardson won 500-meter races Friday and Saturday. She and Brittany Bowe also finished 1-2 in the women’s 1,000 Sunday. Bowe added a bronze medal in the 1,500 on Friday.
Sugar Todd joined Canada’s Kaylin Irvine and Czech Republic’s Karolina Erbanova to win the women’s team sprint.
Elsewhere, Emery Lehman won medals on consecutive days at the ISU Long Track Junior World Championships in Bjugn, Norway. Lehman earned bronze medals in the 3,000 on Friday and in the 5,000 on Saturday.
Thomas Insuk Hong finished fourth in the 500 Saturday in the ISU Short Track Junior World Championships in Erzurum, Turkey.
Matt Antoine followed up his bronze medal in men’s skeleton at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games by claiming a title Friday in the U.S. championships. Antoine and Savannah Graybill each protected their leads from Thursday with the help of record-setting efforts Friday in Lake Placid, N.Y.
“We had Olympians racing with our top development athletes, so it was a great mix of experienced athletes and rookies battling it out,” U.S. head skeleton coach Tuffy Latour said. “Both Matt and Savannah set track records, and the Olympic Regional Development Authority crew did a great job preparing the track. Overall, as a coaching staff, we couldn’t be happier with ending a great season on a high note.”
Antoine had the two fastest starts, 4.96 and 4.97, in Friday’s runs and his closing 53.39-second effort was the fastest ever clocked on the Lake Placid course.
“Every day on the track, it’s a competition with myself,” Antoine said. “It’s always about pushing myself out of my comfort zone to see where I can improve.”
Antoine’s combination of four runs in 3:33.68 gave him a 3.38-second win to cap a season that included three world cup medals and one Olympic medal. Development team member Mike Rogals was second and Olympian Kyle Tress was third.
Graybill won by 4.03 seconds with the help of a record time of 55.22 in her first run Friday. Samantha Culiver finished second and Sherri Emery third.
The record times will not be recognized by the international federation because they were not set in international competition.
Pete Fenson’s and Nina Spatola’s rinks won titles when the USA Curling National Championships, an eight-day event in Aston, Pa., concluded Saturday.
Fenson, the 2006 Olympic bronze medalist, skipped a team that included Shawn Rojeski, Joe Polo and Ryan Brunt. They won the title with a 9-3 victory over Craig Brown’s team, which also included Kroy Nernberger, Matt Hamilton and Jon Brunt. Fenson has eight national titles, including six as skip.
Spatola and her team of Becca Hamilton, Tara Peterson and Sophie Brorson pulled out a 5-4 win over a team skipped by 10-time national champion and two-time Olympian Allison Pottinger. Pottinger’s team also included Nicole Joraanstad, Natalie Nicholson and Tabitha Peterson.
The Fenson and Pottinger teams will represent the United States at world championships later this month.
Douglas Razzano finished second in senior men’s division at the Challenge Cup in The Hague, Netherlands. Elena Taylor was second in junior women’s.
Jessica Lee and Robert Hennings won the junior pairs title while Aya Takai and Brian Johnson finished second. Takai and Johnson earned a minimum Total Elements Score needed to compete in the World Junior Figure Skating Championships, which begin today and run through March 16 in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Tim Burke was seventh in the 15-kilometer mass start Sunday at the E.ON IBU World Cup in Pokljuka, Slovenia. Lowell Bailey was 10th in Saturday’s 12.5-kilometer pursuit.
Sarah Haskins won for the second straight weekend when she claimed the title Saturday at the ITU PATCO Sprint Triathlon Pan American Championships in Sarasota, Fla. Haskins finished the 750-meter swim, 19.3-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run in 57:03.
Tamara Gorman was third. Ben Kanute finished second and Luke Farkas fourth in the men’s race.
Stephanie Jenks won the women’s title in the Junior North American Championships. Ricardo Reyes and Grace Obando won the Youth F1 titles.
Sweden brought an end to a 43-game unbeaten streak by the U.S. women with a 1-0 victory Friday in the Algarve Cup in Portugal. Lotta Schelin’s header in the 24th minute produced the game’s only goal. The United States completes group play Monday against Denmark, trying to get into the third-place match.
An opening 1-1 tie with Japan had extended the U.S. record to 36-0-7 in a streak that lasted exactly two years.
Lily Zhang, Prachi Jha, Crystal Wang, Erica Wu, Timothy Wang, Adam Hugh, Yahao Zhang and Jimmy Butler made the team with their efforts at the U.S. National Team Trials, which were held Friday through Sunday in Fort Worth, Texas.
The United States upset top-seeded China, 43-36, in the quarterfinals before settling for fourth place in the women’s epée world cup in Barcelona, Spain. The United States fell short of a medal when it lost to Hungary, 38-35, in the semifinals and Romania, 23-22, in the bronze-medal match.
Elsewhere, Daryl Homer reached the round of 16 at the men’s saber world cup in Budapest, Hungary.
The United States won seven gold medals and three silver medals in Sunday’s final round at the Youth Continental Championships in Quito, Ecuador. Antonio Vargas, Charles Conwell, Matthew Mollet and Darmani Rock won men’s titles while Caitlin Orosco, Jajaira Gonzalez and Martha Fabela won women’s titles. Vargas repeated the flyweight title he won last year.
Nico Hernandez, Jonathan Navarro and Bobby Harris added men’s silver medals. Carlos Balderas and Isidro Ochoa added bronze medals. The United States got medals from 12 of 13 boxers to win the team trophy.
Jenny Arthur (women’s), Derrick Johnson (men’s) and Harrison Maurus (youth) set American clean-and-jerk records during the Hassle Free Open Championships Saturday and Sunday in Foster City, Calif. The event served as trials for several international competitions.