The month of April brings the transition from winter to spring, and with that change the snow and ice sports transition into off-season training while the summer sports swing into high gear. This April will highlight the changes as world championships cap several winter sports. With the beginning of a new summer quadrennium, Olympic hopefuls – some familiar, some ready to burst onto the scene – turn their eyes toward the Tokyo 2020 Games.
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U.S. Hockey Women Out To Defend World Gold On Home Ice
The heated rivalry between Team USA and Canada has renewed once again at the 2017 IIHF World Women’s Ice Hockey World Championships at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan. The teams are the only two to reach the tournament’s gold-medal game since its 1990 launch. The Americans have been on a tear of late, winning the last three and taking six of the last seven; however, they have never won in three prior attempts on home soil. Team USA won all three of its pool play games and will next compete in the April 6 semifinals with its sights set on gold the following day.
John Shuster Rink Focused On Upgrading Last Year’s World Bronze
Three-time Olympian John Shuster and teammates Tyler George, Matt Hamilton, John Landsteiner and Joe Polo have a chance to improve on the bronze won last year when they head in Edmonton, Alberta, this week for the 2017 curling world championships. Qualifying for the PyeongChang 2018 Games is based on points accrued at the 2016 and 2017 world championships. Shuster’s bronze last year gives Team USA 10 points going into Edmonton. That margin should easily earn a quota spot, but higher placement will result in better seeding next February in South Korea. Competing in his seventh world championships, Shuster has a wealth of international experience as member of Pete Fenton’s bronze-medal rink at the Torino 2006 Games and as Team USA’s skip in Vancouver and Sochi.
Will Sarah Hammer Continue To Grow Her World Medal Collection?
Sarah Hammer has been the most prominent track cyclist for Team USA over the past decade, reaping seven individual world championship gold medals. The four-time Olympic silver medalist can add to her collection at the world championships April 12-16 in Hong Kong. Her best chance is in omnium, where she has reached the podium five of the last six years, including golds in 2013 and 2014, and at the past two Olympics.
Team USA’s sole man competing at worlds, Zac Kovalcik, hopes to ride back to the worlds podium: The only men’s medal since Taylor Phinney’s individual pursuit gold and omnium bronze in 2010 is Bobby Lea’s 2015 bronze in the men’s scratch race.
Olympians, Former National Team Members Vie For NCAA Gymnastics Titles
The NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships, set for April 14-15 at the Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, Missouri, will have an Olympic feel thanks to UCLA and Utah. The Bruins feature the first two Olympic gold medalists to compete collegiately: Kyla Ross, a member of the London 2012 “Fierce Five” that won the team all-around; and Madison Kocian, who was part of the “Final Five” that gave Team USA consecutive team golds for the first time in Rio. Also look for Rio Olympic alternate MyKayla Skinner, who brought home the Pac-12 all-around and vault titles as a freshman at Utah.
Tatyana McFadden Goes For Her Fifth Straight Boston Marathon Win
Seven-time Paralympic gold medalist Tatyana McFadden shoots for her fifth consecutive Boston Marathon gold medal when the event’s 111th edition takes place April 17. McFadden also has five New York City Marathon victories, five Chicago victories and four London victories to her credit.
While McFadden has dominated her division, it’s been a while since an American has claimed an open division victory. 2004 Olympic marathon silver medalist Meb Keflezighi’s 2014 victory was the last for an American man, while the last U.S. women’s winner came in 1985 when Lisa Larsen Weidenbach claimed gold.
Team USA Figure Skaters Go For Fourth World Team Trophy Gold
The international figure skating season wraps up April 20-23 in Tokyo, where skaters from six nations will vie for the World Team Trophy. The competing nations – Canada, Russia, United States, Japan, China and France – are selected based on a qualifying system that assigns points from grand prix events and the world championships. Each team will be comprised of two entries in ladies and men’s competition and well as one each in pairs and ice dance. Team USA has finished on the podium in each of the past four events, including three gold medals. Team competition was added to the Olympic program at the Sochi 2014 Games.
Olympic Silver Medalists Dorman and Hixon Dive Back Into Competition
Sam Dorman and Michael Hixon, the reigning Olympic silver medalists in synchronized 3-meter diving, return to international competition April 21-23 at the FINA World Series of Diving in Windsor, Ontario. They will be joined by 2016 Olympian Jessica Parratto, a seven-time senior national champion who will compete in synchronized 10-meter with 14-year-old Tarrin Gilliland, a five-time junior national champion. Hixon and Parratto are slated to compete individually as well, in the 3-meter and 10-meter, respectively.
Hamilton Siblings Seek Team USA’s Second Straight Mixed Doubles Curling Podium
Siblings Becca and Matt Hamilton defeated reigning world bronze medalists Tabitha Peterson and Joe Polo at last month’s mixed doubles national championship and will represent Team USA at the world championships April 22-29 in Lethbridge, Alberta. Seven teams will join host South Korea next year at the Olympics based on points earned at the 2016 and 2017 worlds. Peterson and Polo earned 10 with last year’s bronze, so a top-seven finish will virtually assure Team USA a quota spot.