As the calendar flips to October, the temperature drops and the road to the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 is just heating up. This month, sliders, skaters, skiers and curlers all take steps to make their Olympic dreams a reality. But don't write off summer sports just yet, as gymnasts, archers and more compete on their biggest stage.
Take a look at 10 storylines to follow as Team USA athletes compete around the globe this month.
New Stars Step Into The Spotlight At The FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships
It’s a new dawn for USA Gymnastics, as the U.S. women’s world championship team has no Olympians on the world championship team for the first time since 2007. The squad is led by reigning national champion Ragan Smith and fellow 2016 Olympic alternate Ashton Locklear. On the men’s side, Olympic medalist Alex Naddour is joined in the finals by new national champion Yul Moldauer and 2016 Olympic alternate Donnell Whittenburg. All are looking to make a splash on the world stage at the event, which continues through Oct. 8 in Montreal.
Men’s Soccer Has The FIFA World Cup In Its Sights
The time is now for the U.S. men’s soccer team as it looks to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. With two games left remaining in the Hex (the qualifying tournament for CONCACAF), the USMNT sits in fourth place; the top three teams qualify automatically for the world cup, while the fourth-place team advances to an intercontinental playoff in November. On the docket for Team USA is Panama on Oct. 6 and Trinidad & Tobago on Oct. 10. If the U.S. men win both, they’re in.
Bobsled And Skeleton Season Kicks Off At The National Team Trials
After a summer of training culminating in combines and push championships, the season officially gets underway at the USA Bobsled & Skeleton National Team Trials. Across two weeks and two locations, athletes compete to be named to the national team ahead of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. Bobsled Olympic medalists Aja Evans, Chris Fogt, Jamie Greubel Poser, Steve Langton, Elana Meyers Taylor and Justin Olsen headline the field, while Matt Antoine, John Daly, Kyle Tress and Katie Uhlaender bring the Olympic pedigree to the skeleton competition. Action begins Oct. 7-8 with skeleton in Calgary, Alberta, and concludes Oct. 17-18 in Lake Placid, New York. Bobsledders will be in action in Lake Placid on Oct. 8 and Oct. 14.
Tatyana McFadden Looks To Reclaim Her Throne At The Chicago Marathon
In April, Tatyana McFadden competed in the Boston Marathon despite having surgery for blood clots just weeks prior. The winner of four consecutive marathon grand slams dating back to 2013, McFadden placed fourth in Boston to end her incredible streak. After skipping the London Marathon and sitting out the marathon at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships, she’s back in the saddle and ready to dominate the marathon world again in Chicago, where she’s the six-time reigning champion, on Oct. 8. Also in action are 2016 Olympic marathon bronze medalist Galen Rupp and legendary marathoner Joan Benoit Samuelson, who won gold at the Olympic Games Los Angeles 1984. Benoit Samuelson still owns the fastest time for an American woman at the Chicago Marathon.
Top Curlers Prove Their Mettle On Curling Night In America
Get ready, curling fans! The fourth edition of Curling Night in America begins Oct. 10 and runs each subsequent Tuesday on NBCSN, and you won’t want to miss it. Some of the top curling rinks in the country will be competing as they prepare to vie for a spot on the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team, so check it out for a potential PyeongChang preview. Team Jamie Sinclair represents for the women, while the Heath McCormick rink gets the nod for the men. In mixed doubles, the sibling duo of Becca and Matt Hamilton takes center stage.
Athletes Take Aim At The World Archery Championships
Coming off a silver-medal performance at the World Cup Final in September, three-time Olympian Brady Ellison leads the U.S. contingent at the World Archery Championships, held Oct. 15-22 in Mexico City. Ellison has a world championship medal of every color to his name; he won team gold and mixed team silver in 2013, and individual bronze in 2011. Can he return to the podium in 2017? On the women’s side, Olympians Mackenzie Brown and Khatuna Lorig look to add to their medal totals; Lorig has a mixed team silver from 2013, while Brown has an individual silver from the 2015 junior world championships.
The Best And Brightest Convene At The 38th Annual Salute To Women In Sports
Each year, the top women in the sports world gather at the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Annual Salute to Women in Sports. The awards banquet, held in New York City Oct. 18, will honor the Sportswoman of the Year award winners. In 2016, water polo player Ashleigh Johnson won in the team sports category and boxer Claressa Shields won as an individual. This year, the individual sports category includes Team USA’s Heather Bergsma (speedskating), Katie Ledecky (swimming), Tatyana McFadden (Para track and field), Becca Meyers (Para swimming) and Mikaela Shiffrin (alpine skiing). Finalists in the team category include Americans Valerie Arioto (softball), Brianna Decker (ice hockey), Heather Erickson (sitting volleyball), Maggie Steffens (water polo), Marie McCool (lacrosse), Elana Meyers Taylor (bobsled), Maya Moore (basketball) and Bethanie Mattek-Sands (tennis), nominated with her Czech partner Lucie Safarova.
The Figure Skating Season Kicks Off With A Bang (Or A Quad)
At long last, the figure skating grand prix season gets under way in a big way in October. First up is the Rostelecom Cup, held from Oct. 20-22 in Moscow. Reigning national champion and quad king Nathan Chen begins the Olympic season with all eyes on him. How many quadruple jumps can he land? He’ll be joined by Mariah Bell, Mirai Nagasu and Maia and Alex Shibutani. Skate Canada is up next, held Oct. 27-29 in Regina, Saskatchewan. Jason Brown and Ashley Wagner look to start their seasons off strong as returning Olympians, while Karen Chen and Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue try to make their case for their first Olympic selection.
Team USA Has Eyes On The Podium At The ISSF World Cup Final
Six-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode leads a strong U.S. contingent at the ISSF World Cup Final Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun, held from Oct. 23-28 in New Delhi. Rhode has five medals from the event to her name, including skeet gold from 2016, but she’ll have to hold off reigning world champion Dania Vizzi to defend her title. Olympic champion Ginny Thrasher will be in search of a medal in women’s 10m air rifle, while Olympians Keith Sanderson and Frank Thompson will compete in men’s 25m rapid fire pistol and skeet, respectively.
Mikaela Shiffrin Is Back In Action As The FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup Season Begins
At the first FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup of 2016 in Soelden, Austria, Mikaela Shiffrin finished half a second behind Switzerland’s Laura Gut to take second place in giant slalom. The 2017-18 season kicks off in the same place on Oct. 28-29, and Shiffrin is now on the hunt for a berth on her second Olympic team. Last season, she claimed the overall world cup crystal globe and won Team USA’s first women’s giant slalom world championship medal, a silver, in 12 years. In the men’s field, Ted Ligety may also have an eye on the podium as he returns from knee and back injuries.