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20 Things We Learned About Team USA Last Week

By Darci Miller | April 03, 2017, 1:41 p.m. (ET)

Maia and Alex Shibutani pose after winning ice dance bronze at the 2017 World Figure Skating Championships on April 1, 2017 in Helsinki.


Team USA athletes do a lot in a week. In case you missed any of it, here's a glimpse at our takeaways from the last seven days.

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1. Just months ago, pairs figure skater Alexa Scimeca Knierim was fighting for her life – but that didn’t stop her and her husband/skating partner Chris Knierim from competing at the World Figure Skating Championships.

2. Track star Deajah Stevens took the road (to Rio) less traveled, spending a year at a junior college before enrolling in Oregon’s powerhouse track and field program.

3. The last time a U.S. men’s curling team won a world title was in 1978. John Shuster, Tyler George, John Landsteiner and Matt Hamilton look to change that. 

4. Though figure skaters from around the world are competitors, they’re also close friends. For Madison Chock, going to the world championships is like a reunion.

5. Olympic gymnast Chainey Umphrey is now Dr. Albert Chainey Umphrey MD. Where did his passion for medicine come from? A broken leg when he was 15.

6. Ice hockey goalie Nicole Hensley made her world championship debut in 2016, shutting out Russia to give Team USA the win. She made her second start in 2017 and went a step further, blanking Canada. 

7. Last year’s win against Russia came on March 31, 2016 and saw the U.S. dominate, 8-0. On April 1, 2017 – one year and one day later – the U.S. defeated Russia by a score of 7-0.

8. Until his world championship free skate, Nathan Chen had landed 20 consecutive quadruple jumps in competition. Though he fell at worlds, he became the first man in history to attempt six quads in a single free skate.

9. Maia and Alex Shibutani earned world championship bronze, which was their second career medal of that color from the event – the first came way back in 2011. 

10. Though Olympic and world champion Simone Biles is currently not competing, the U.S. women’s gymnastics team is doing A-OK. The team USA Gymnastics sent to the City of Jesolo Trophy was young and inexperienced, yet dominated to take the team and all-around titles.

11. Team USA won 19 medals total in Jesolo, led by Riley McCusker in the senior division while the junior team won eight medals in event finals. The future of USA Gymnastics looks bright! 

12. Dressage rider Laura Graves and her horse Verdades – nicknamed “Diddy” – finished second in the FEI World Cup Dressage Final

13. Nobody is as persistent as show jumper McLain Ward. He competed at the FEI World Cup Jumping Final 16 times without taking the title, but on his 17th try, he finally (finally!) reached the top of the podium with horse HH Azur.

14. Soccer player Julie Johnston tied the knot with football player Zach Ertz. How’s THAT for an athletic couple? 

15. Two-time Olympic figure skating medalist Nancy Kerrigan is taking on a new challenge in “Dancing with the Stars.” How does she deal with the pressure? Practice, practice, practice… and massages. 

16. One of the most iconic ice dance performances of all time was performed by British skaters Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean to “Bolero,” and it won them Olympic gold in 1984. Nowadays, Dean works as a choreographer… and a U.S. ice dance team gets to benefit.

17. Now known as “the quad king,” Nathan Chen claims that he “didn’t really think (about quads)” until two years ago.

18. Paralympic track and field star Breanna Clark won 400-meter gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games… 40 years after her mom won silver in the 4x400 at the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games. 

19. The U.S. women’s ice hockey team has won three consecutive world titles and six of the last seven.

20. U.S. figure skaters spent some time in a cave at the world championships; the practice rink at the facility in Helsinki is underground, carved into rock.