Wondering what to watch and where to go in 2017? We’ve got you covered. This year there are several major events in Olympic sports taking place across the United States. From the Winter X Games this month in Colorado to the BMX world championships in July in South Carolina to the U.S. Olympic Team Trails for Curling in November, Olympic sports fans will have plenty to cheer for.
Here are 10 big events to keep an eye on in 2017:
Show-Me The Figure Skating Championships – Kansas City, Missouri (Jan. 19-22)
With the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games just one year away, the Olympic road certainly winds through Kansas City, Missouri, in January to kick off the new year. The Sprint Center in Kansas City and Silverstein Eye Centers Arena in Independence will be host to the 2017 U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Jan. 14-22. The senior championships, which begin Jan. 19, will include Olympians Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold, Jason Brown, Marissa Castelli, and the ice dancing pairs of Maia and Alex Shibutani, and Madison Chock and Evan Bates, among others. Both coming off career-low grand prix placements, multiple-time U.S. champions Gold and Wagner look to redeem themselves in Kansas City. Will 17-year-old Nathan Chen steal the spotlight and win his first title? The sister-and-brother Shibutanis are defending U.S. champs and won a bronze medal in the Grand Prix Final in December, while Tarah Kayne and Daniel O’Shea are the defending pairs champions.
Get Extreme At Winter X Games – Aspen, Colorado (Jan. 26-29)
Looking for the best of snowboarding and freeskiing? Then Aspen is the place. This year’s Winter X Games Aspen is scheduled for Jan. 26-29. All the regular showcase events highlighted by Olympic medalists and 2018 Olympic hopefuls will be in the X Games, including superpipe and slopestyle snowboarding and skiing, plus snowboardcross. The event will also include big air snowboarding, which will make its Olympic debuts in PyeongChang next year, and also the X Games Aspen debut of snow bike racing. Among the athletes to watch: Olympic snowboarding gold medalists Kelly Clark and Jamie Anderson, 10-time X Games snowboardcross champion Lindsey Jacobellis, snowboarding teen phenom Chloe Kim, and Olympic freeskiing gold medalists David Wise, Maddie Bowman and Joss Christensen.
Beach Volleyball Tour Kicks Off In Florida – Fort Lauderdale, Florida (Feb. 7-12)
Fort Lauderdale Beach Park in Florida will be the 2017 starting point for beach volleyball in the Swatch Major Series this February. The first five-star FIVB tournament of the year will include the top beach volleyball teams in the world. Among those will be a large contingent of U.S. teams, expected to include 2016 Olympians Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross, Brooke Sweat, Lauren Fendrick, Phil Dalhausser, Nick Lucena, Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson.
Skiing For Globes At The Alpine World Cup Finals – Aspen, Colorado (March 15-19)
When Olympic women’s slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin goes after a FIS crystal globe or two or three in March, she’ll do so on home snow. The Audi FIS Alpine World Cup Finals will be held in March in Aspen, Colorado, which could lead to a home-snow advantage for Shiffrin and the rest of the U.S. Ski Team. The competition, scheduled for March 15-19, consists of world cup finals in men’s and women’s slalom, giant slalom, downhill and super-G, in addition to a team event March 17. Shiffrin is a three-time women’s slalom overall world cup champion and entered 2017 as the overall world cup leader and slalom leader; she also won the last two giant slalom races. An added plus: The World Cup Finals will come just a few days after Squaw Valley, California hosts world cup races in women’s slalom and giant slalom. 2017 marks the first time a U.S. resort will host the World Cup Finals since 1997.
Home Ice For World Women’s Hockey – Plymouth, Michigan (March 31-April 7)
The U.S. Women’s National Team will be on home ice when it goes after another world championship in April. USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan, will be the venue for the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship, scheduled for March 31-April 7. Team USA, the three-time defending world champion, will aim for its eighth world title, and don’t be surprised if it’s Team USA and Canada in the championship game. They’ve played in the final of every world championship tournament. The event was last held in the U.S. in 2012, when Canada took the title in Burlington, Vermont. Team USA is grouped with Canada, Russia and Finland in the preliminary round.
Para Swimming, Indy Style – Indianapolis (June 9-11)
The new year brings a new world tour in Paralympic swimming. And in June, Indianapolis will be a host city for the inaugural World Para Swimming World Series. The World Series begins a five-stop tour in March in Copenhagen, Denmark. Indianapolis will host the fourth stop in the World Series on June 9-11. The competition begins the four-year cycle toward the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and serves as a build-up to the 2017 world championships, which begin Sept. 30 in Mexico City. “What an amazing opportunity it will be to bring awareness of para swimming to the United States,” said U.S. swimmer Becca Meyers, a three-time gold medalist at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. “I am looking forward to being a part of this series and to build on my success from Rio while having more opportunities to compete against other international athletes.”
BMX’s Best Come To Town – Rock Hill, South Carolina (July 25-30)
The summer of 2017 will bring world-class BMX cyclists to Rock Hill, South Carolina. The UCI 2017 BMX World Championships will be held in July at Rock Hill’s Novant Health BMX Supercross Track. Cyclists from more than 40 nations are expected for the world championships with races scheduled for July 25-30. Among the potential U.S. cyclists are 2016 Olympic gold medalist Connor Fields, silver medalist Alise Post, and Olympic teammates Brooke Crain, Nic Long and Corben Sharrah. Crain won a bronze medal on the same track in a UCI BMX Supercross World Cup this past September. The world championships were last held in the U.S. in 2001 when Louisville, Kentucky hosted.
World’s Best Row On In Florida – Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida (Sept. 24-Oct. 1)
Welcome to Florida, rowers. When the World Rowing Championships come to Nathan Benderson Park in the Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida, area in September, it’ll mark the first time in more than 20 years that the United States has held the world rowing event. Competition will include Olympic classes ranging from one-person boats to the women’s and men’s eight, and five Paralympic classes. The U.S. women’s eight will seek its 12th straight world or Olympic title, dating back to 2006. The action over Nathan Benderson’s 2,000-meter course begins Sept. 24. At the 2015 world championships, the U.S. took home seven medals, including golds by the women’s four, quadruple sculls and eight.
Curling Kicks Off The Olympic Trials – Omaha, Nebraska (Nov. 12-19)
The race for the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team will begin in earnest in Omaha, Nebraska, in 2017. Baxter Arena at the University of Nebraska Omaha will be host to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling, which is the first U.S. Olympic Team Trials event leading to the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games. The trials are set for Nov. 12-19. Omaha has hosted Olympic Trials for swimming, but this will be the first major curling event held in the city. Curling won’t be the only sport to hold Olympic Trials in 2017. Expected to be held late this year are short track speedskating, ski jumping/Nordic combined and mixed doubles curling, which makes its Olympic debut in PyeongChang.
World Weightlifters Power Up In SoCal – Anaheim, California (Nov. 28-Dec. 5)
For the second time in three years, the best lifters in the world will be headed for the United States. The Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, will host the IWF Weightlifting World Championships from Nov. 28-Dec. 5. It will be the first world championships in lifting since the 2015 event, which was held in Houston. Anaheim stepped in as the venue for the 2017 world championships when Penang, Malaysia, needed to withdraw as host city. “The 2015 IWF World Championships in Houston were magical,” said Ursula Garza Papandrea, USA Weightlifting Board of Directors Chair. “We cannot wait to host the world’s best athletes back here in the United States. It will be a great competition.”
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1990. He is Olympics editor and Assistant Sports Editor at the Cape Cod Times in Massachusetts. Bowker has written for TeamUSA.org since 2010 as a freelance contributor on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.