Steve Cash and Jen Lee celebrate after Team USA won the sled hockey gold-medal game against Russia at Shayba Arena on March 15, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.
The United States became the first team to win back-to-back sled hockey gold medals at the Paralympic Winter Games when Marine Corps veteran Josh Sweeney scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory over host Russia Saturday in Sochi.
“We have worked hard all year and this is a great group of guys,” said Andy Yohe, who captained both gold-medal teams. “We’re pretty excited, and we should be.”
Sweeney forced a turnover just inside the blue line, moved in, made a fake, and then put a shot under the crossbar at 9:28 of the second period.
“I saw the defender, he had the puck and I just went after him,” Sweeney said. “I did a little fake because that’s what you want to do when you’re up against a goalie that good. It wasn’t anything that my other teammates couldn’t have done.”
The U.S. defense allowed just six shots, and goaltender Steve Cash came up with two key saves in the third period. Cash later carried the American flag in the Closing Ceremony Sunday.
Oksana Masters earned a bronze medal Sunday in the women’s 5-kilometer sitting cross-country race, wrapping up the U.S. medal efforts.
Masters, who also claimed a bronze medal in rowing at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, earned a silver medal in the 12-kilometer cross-country race earlier in the Games.
For all of the Paralympic news from Sochi, click here.
Ted Ligety and Mikaela Shiffrin clinched world cup season titles Saturday in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. Ligety’s title came down to a last-run shootout, winning a tiebreaker with Austria’s Marcel Hirscher to win the crystal globe for the fifth time as giant slalom champion. Ligety is coming off a gold-medal victory in the event at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Ligety needed to win and have Hirscher finish fourth or worse. Hirscher missed out on third place by one-hundredth of a second, giving Ligety a title. Ligety also won five races this season.
“I definitely knew at the start of the day that I had a chance, but you know it’s not a good chance when it comes to Marcel,” Ligety said. “The only way you can win is by winning.”
Shiffrin, meanwhile, who last month became the Olympic slalom champion, used her fifth win of the season to take the world cup women’s slalom title.
Shiffrin won her second straight slalom season title with the help of a 1.44-second romp in Saturday’s race.
“I’m very proud,” Shiffrin said. “One of my goals this year was to hold onto the slalom globe and I did that today.”
Ligety was 12th in the slalom and Shiffrin 12th in the giant slalom in Sunday’s season finales. Shiffrin, Julia Mancuso, David Chodounsky and Tim Jitloff finished second Friday in the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup Finals Nations Team Event.
Hannah Kearney moved back into the FIS World Cup standings lead Sunday by winning the dual moguls in Voss-Myrkdalen, Norway. Bradley Wilson finished third to lead the U.S. men. Kearney and Patrick Deneen finished third in Saturday’s women’s and men’s moguls races.
Taylor Fletcher finished 11th in the men’s 10-kilometer event Saturday to lead the United States at the FIS World Cup Finals in Falun, Sweden. Kikkan Randall was 13th in the women’s 10-kilometer freestyle pursuit Sunday.
On the ski jumping hill, Jessica Jerome finished eighth Saturday in the normal hill in Falun, Sweden. Sunday’s competition was canceled because of weather conditions.
Heather Richardson and Shani Davis were honored this weekend as the Grand World Cup title winners at the Essent ISU World Cup Heerenveen. This is the first time since the award’s inception that an American has won the title, let alone two Americans sweeping both the men's and women's titles.
Richardson also wrapped up the season championship in the 1,000-meter distance and finished second in the 500-meter.
Lowell Bailey reached the E.ON IBU World Cup podium for the first time in his career with a bronze medal Saturday in the men’s 10-kilometer sprint at Kontiolahti, Finland.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Bailey said. “I’m obviously really happy. I’ve been working toward this for over 10, 20 years. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time, and I’ve been knocking at the door the last three years.”
Susan Dunklee was eighth in the women’s 7.5-kilometer sprint Saturday and seventh in the 10-kilometer pursuit Sunday. Bailey was 14th in the 12.5-kilometer pursuit.
Team USA put on a dominating display to roll past Ukraine, 7-1, to finish third in the Men’s Freestyle World Cup in Inglewood, Calif.
Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs capped a dominating weekend by earning a 15-4 technical fall over Ukraine’s Giya Chykladze in the 74-kilogram class. Burroughs is now 15-0 in his career in the world cup.
Calyton Foster scored an impressive 7-2 win over two-time world champion Ibragim Aldatov in the 86-kilogram class. Foster went 4-0 on the weekend. He earned a win over Olympic and world bronze medalist Ehsan Lashgari of Iran Saturday night.
The United States went 4-1 in the two-day event, losing only to Iran, while finishing third for the third straight day.
Elsewhere, the United States finished sixth in the Women’s Freestyle World Cup in Tokyo. The United States lost to Mongolia on a tiebreaker Sunday in the fifth-place match. Adeline Gray went 4-0 with two wins over past world champions and another over a world silver medalist.
The United States got off to a 3-0 start in the first two days to share first place out of 12 teams at the Ford World Women’s Curling Championships in New Brunswick, Canada. The event continues through March 23.
Allison Pottinger’s rink, which includes Nicole Joraanstad, Natalie Nicholson, Tabitha Peterson and Tara Peterson, represents the United States.
Ryan Hadden and Seth Inman held on to the top two spots that they carried over from the fall to lead the way in trap shooting Sunday at the USA Shooting Spring Selection Match in Kerrville, Texas. The match continues, with championships in other events, through March 23.
Jake Wallace moved up through the ranks Sunday to claim the third men’s spot for the team that will compete in world cup events in May, June and July.
Rachel Heiden and Ashley Carey were the top women trap shooters, followed by Janessa Beaman.
David Boudia teamed with Troy Dumais for a fifth-place finish in 3-meter synchronized diving Friday, then added a sixth-place finish on his own in the men’s 10-meter Sunday in the FINA World Series opener in Beijing. Boudia was seventh in Saturday’s 3-meter. Boudia and Dumais teamed for the first time.
Amanda Burke and Deidre Freeman also formed a team for the first time and took ninth in the women’s 3-meter synchronized. Anna James and Jessica Parratto were seventh in women’s 10-meter synchronized.
Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker won the ice dancing gold medal and Nathan Chen moved up from sixth place after the short program to earn the men’s bronze medal Sunday at the ISU World Junior Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter finished fourth in ice dancing.
Madeline Aaron and Max Settlage finished fifth in pairs. Amber Glenn was the highest finisher among the U.S. women, placing seventh.
Chris Brooks was fourth and Josh Dixon fifth on the high bar Sunday at the FIG World Cup in Cottbus, Germany. Brooks tied for fifth on the parallel bars. Brandon Wynn was fifth on the still rings Saturday.
Geoff Kabush and Katerina Nash posted wins in the US Cup Pro Series race at San Dimas, Calif., Saturday.
Ibtihaj Muhammad, Eliza Stone, Dagmara Wozniak and Mariel Zagunis joined together for the women’s team saber gold medal at the world cup event in Antalya, Turkey.
Torrie Albini, Shannon Taylor and Michelle Kasold scored in the final 10 minutes Friday when the U.S. women defeated Canada, 3-0, to complete a four-game sweep in their series in Lancaster, Pa.
TRACK & FIELD
Shalane Flanagan set a national-record time of 47.03 Saturday morning at the USA 15-kilometer Championships, to win the Gate River Run in Jacksonville, Fla. Ben True won the men’s championship in a time of 43.04.
The USA 15-kilometer Championships are the third stop on the USA Running Circuit, which concludes this fall with the US National Road Racing Championships. The top 10 finishers at each race on the circuit qualify to compete in the US National Road Racing Championships.
Freddy Krueger and Raimi Merritt won titles Sunday in Mandurah, Australia, in the opening event of the IWWF Water Ski & Wakeboard season.
Krueger covered 216 feet to win the men’s jumping title for the third straight year. Merritt won the women’s wakeboarding title.
Elsewhere, the U.S. Senior Barefoot Water Ski Team claimed the overall team silver medal, the U.S. Elite and Junior Barefoot Water Ski Teams each earned overall bronze medals and nine U.S. individuals combined for 19 more medals at the Barefoot Water Ski World Championships, a six-day event that concluded Sunday in Mulwala, Australia. Keith St. Onge won gold medals in men’s slalom and jumping.
Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Tom Robinson is a freelance contributor for TeamUSA.org.