By Paul D. Bowker | Nov. 30, 2018, 12:01 a.m. (ET)

 

As you settle into your holiday weekend, Team USA athletes are getting ready to compete all around the world. Keep track of some of the biggest events and how to follow them on Team USA This Weekend.

Olympic Qualification Process Begins For Men's Rugby
Carlin Isles runs with the ball in a match at the HSBC Sydney Sevens on Jan. 28, 2018 in Sydney.

 

The path toward Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 begins now for the USA Men’s Eagles Sevens.

The U.S. men open the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series this weekend in Dubai, where Team USA will face Spain, Wales and two-time defending World Cup champion New Zealand in the preliminary round on Friday.

The U.S. women’s sevens team is also in Dubai. They arrive following a second-place finish in its season opener and a victory over 2016 Olympic champion Australia.

The U.S. men finished an impressive sixth in the World Rugby Sevens Series last year. A fourth-place finish this year would secure a spot in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Among those returning to the men’s lineup are team captain Madison Hughes, Perry Baker and Carlin Isles. Baker, a World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year nominee, and Isles each scored 86 tries last season and accounted for more than 40 percent of the Eagles’ tries in 2017.

“Olympic qualification is the target for us in what will be an even more competitive season and I have no doubt the standard will improve once again,” said men’s coach Mike Friday.

Following Friday’s preliminary round, the playoffs will take place Saturday.

The women played their preliminary round on Thursday, and head into the playoff round on Friday.

The stacked U.S. lineup is filled with 2016 Olympians and this week includes Ashlee Byrge making her World Rugby Sevens debut after being promoted by the residency sevens program.

“Ashlee’s an individual that’s been fighting for an opportunity for a while,” coach Chris Brown said. “Her consistency of application over the past month alongside her enhancement in a game understanding has seen her advance into the Dubai squad. When it comes to consistency of training intent, we can always count on Ashlee being one of the examples to follow.”

Follow along on social: World Rugby Sevens on Twitter, USA Rugby on Instagram, #EaglesUnited on Twitter

 

Alpine Skiing - Birds Of Prey World Cup at Beaver CreekTed Ligety competes at the Olympic Winter Olympic Games PyeongChang 2018 on Feb. 13, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. 

 

Four-time Olympian Ted Ligety is ready to make his season debut at the Birds of Prey World Cup event in Beaver Creek, Colorado. Ligety, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and five-time world champion, headlines the competition in the men’s giant slalom on Sunday. Following three days of downhill training, Birds of Prey also includes downhill on Friday and super-G on Saturday.

Ryan Cochran-Siegle, a 2018 Olympian, is coming off a week in which he began the season with two top-20 finishes at Lake Louise, Alberta. He finished 12th in super-G and 20th in downhill.

Among those joining Ligety and Cochran-Siegle at Beaver Creek are 2018 Olympian Tommy Biesemeyer, who finished sixth in downhill training on Wednesday, and four-time Olympian Steven Nyman, who finished 15th in downhill training.

TV: 12:30 p.m. ET Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday, NBCSN; 5 p.m. Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday, NBC; 6 p.m. Saturday, 11:30 p.m. Sunday, Olympic Channel

Webcast: 12:30 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday, 11:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, NBC Sports Gold

Follow along on social: U.S. Ski Team on Twitter, Birds of Prey World Cup on Twitter, Ted Ligety on Instagram


Biathlon World Cup Opener
Susan Dunklee competes at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on Feb. 10, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. 

 

The biathlon world cup season opens this weekend for two-time Olympians Susan Dunklee and Sean Doherty, and five other members of the U.S. Biathlon team in Pokljuka, Slovenia. The U.S. has seven quota spots in the season opener: three women and four men.

Dunklee, who became the first American woman to win an individual world medal with a silver medal in the mass start in 2017, will be joined by Clare Egan, Joanne Reid or Emily Dreissigacker, all 2018 Olympians. A coaching decision will determine which two athletes will join Dunklee this week.

Joining Doherty in the men’s competition are two-time Olympian Leif Nordgren, Paul Schommer and Travis Cooper. Max Durschi is the alternate.

The event begins Sunday with mixed relay races.

TV: 5 p.m. ET Sunday, Olympic Channel

Webcast: 6 a.m. Sunday, NBC Sports Gold

Follow along on social: US Biathlon on Twitter, IBU Cup Biathlon on Twitter, Biathlon Pokljuka on Instagram

 

Alpine Skiing - Women's Lake Louise World Cup
Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates winning first place at the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup on Nov. 25, 2018 in Killington, Vt.

 

Two-time Olympian Mikaela Shiffrin shifts to the speed events this weekend at Lake Louise, Alberta.

Shiffrin claimed her 45th career world cup podium last week in Killington, Vermont, winning slalom.

Shiffrin leads the overall world cup rankings with 310 points and is already more than 100 points ahead of Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova. Shiffrin’s first world cup downhill win came last year at Lake Louise.

At Lake Louise, Shiffrin is scheduled to compete in downhill races Friday and Saturday, and the super-G on Sunday. Shiffrin topped the Americans in Wednesday’s downhill training run, finishing eighth. Among those joining her in the downhill are downhill specialist Laurenne Ross, a two-time Olympian, and Alice Merryweather, a 2018 Olympian who won a junior world championship in downhill in 2017.

Three-time Olympic medalist Lindsey Vonn was planning to make her season debut this week, but an injury in training forced her to withdraw.

TV: 2 p.m. ET Saturday, 5:30 p.m. Sunday, NBCSN; 2:30 p.m. Friday, 10 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday, Olympic Channel

Webcast: 2 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday, NBC Sports Gold

Follow along on social: Mikaela Shiffrin on Instagram, FIS Alpine on Twitter, Lake Lousie Audi FIS Ski World Cup on Twitter


Nordic Skiing - Lillehammer World Cup Weekend
Lillehammer, host of the Olympic Winter Games in 1994 and Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2016, is host to world cups in cross-country, ski jumping and Nordic combined this week.

Among the U.S. cross-country skiers are two-time Olympians Jessie Diggins, Sadie Bjornsen and Sophie Caldwell, who all had top-10 finishes in last year’s classic sprint race in Lillehammer. Bjornsen had an eighth-place finish, tops among Americans, in last week’s 10-kilometer individual classic race in Ruka, Finland.

Among the U.S. men are Erik Bjornsen, a two-time Olympian who finished 42nd last week, along with three-time Olympian Simi Hamilton and Kevin Bolger.

The schedule calls for men’s and women’s freestyle sprints on Friday, women’s 10-kilometer freestyle and men’s 15-kilometer freestyle on Saturday, and women’s 10-kilometer classic pursuit and men’s 15-kilometer classic pursuit on Sunday.

In women’s ski jumping, Nita Englund, who made her Olympic debut in 2018, and Tara Geraghty-Moats are in Lillehammer for their season-opening world cup. Competition is scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The first two events are on the HS98 hill, with Sunday’s competition moving to HS140.

Three-time Olympian Taylor Fletcher is in Lillehammer, along with teammates Jasper Good and Ben Loomis, for three days of Nordic combined competitions. The world cup begins Friday with a Gundersen large hill HS98 jump with a 5-kilometer race. A mass start race will be held Saturday, followed by a large hill HS98 jump and 10-kilometer race Sunday.

Cross-Country TV: 6 a.m. ET Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, Olympic Channel; 10:30 p.m. Saturday, NBCSN

Cross-Country Webcast: 6 a.m. Friday, 4:30 and 6:15 a.m. Saturday, 4:15 and 5:45 a.m. Sunday, NBC Sports Gold

Nordic Combined TV: 6 a.m. Friday, Olympic Channel

Nordic Combined Webcast: 5 and 8:30 a.m. Friday, 3:30 and 8:15 a.m. Saturday, 4:35 and 8:05 a.m. Sunday, NBC Sports Gold

Ski Jumping TV: 7 p.m. Friday, 8:30 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday, Olympic Channel

Ski Jumping Webcast: 11:30 a.m. Friday, 11:15 a.m. Saturday, 6:45 a.m. Sunday, NBC Sports Gold 


Men's Ski Jumping World Cup
Kevin Bickner, a 2018 Olympian, heads to Nizhny Tagil, Russia, this week for a pair of world cup competitions. Night events on the HS134 hill are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

TV: 7 p.m. ET Saturday, 10 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Olympic Channel

Webcast: 9:45 a.m. Friday, 9:45 a.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. Sunday, NBC Sports Gold

Luge World Cup In Whistler

Two-time Olympian Summer Britcher hopes to add a podium to her season’s strong start this weekend at Whistler, British Columbia, at the venue that hosted luge at the 2010 Olympics. Britcher had sixth- and fourth-place finishes in last week’s season-opening races in Igls, Austria, the best runs of any American.

Emily Sweeney, a 2018 Olympian, joins the U.S. team this week after finishing up her preseason training last week. Also taking center stage is Olympic silver medalist Chris Mazdzer, who is racing both men’s singles and doubles. Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman, a two-time Olympian, finished 10th in their first doubles event last week, then moved up into ninth place in the sprint competition.

The men’s singles and doubles are Friday in Whistler, followed by the women’s and relay competition Saturday.

TV: 8:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m. ET Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday, Olympic Channel; 8 p.m. Sunday, NBCSN


Men's Bowling World Championships
Andrew Anderson is a rookie at the men’s world championships, but he is bowling like a veteran.

Anderson, who competes on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour, has reached the semifinals in both the singles and doubles championships, leading a U.S. squad that is going after a team championship. Anderson will team up with EJ Tackett in Sunday’s medal round of the doubles tournament. Anderson, who was the first to roll a perfect game this week in the world championships, is the top seed in the singles medal round, scheduled for Saturday. Also in the singles semifinals is second-seeded Kyle Troup.

Anderson, Tackett and Troup are also combining in the trios competition, along with U.S. teammates Jakob Butturff, Tommy Jones and Chris Barnes on another squad. The trios medal round is Monday.


Track Cycling World Cup In Berlin
Olympic silver medalists and three-time world champions Jennifer Valente and Kelly Catlin are among six Americans competing in this week’s track cycling world cup in Berlin. Valente, Catlin, Kim Geist, Emma White and Christina Birch are competing in the women’s team pursuit. The U.S., three-time defending world champions in team pursuit, is ranked fifth in the world cup standings. The team pursuit race is Friday. Also riding this weekend is Kendall Ryan in the women’s Madison on Sunday.

TV: 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday, Olympic Channel


USA Swimming's Winter Nationals
Five-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky wasted little time in qualifying for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

Ledecky, the defending two-time Olympic champion in the women’s 800-meter freestyle, won the event on Wednesday night in the USA Swimming Winter National Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, to qualify for the Olympic swimming trials. The winter nationals, which go through Saturday at the Greensboro Aquatic Center, is the first event in which swimmers can qualify for the trials, which will be held in Omaha, Nebraska, in June 2020.

Ledecky is also the top seed in the 200 and 400 freestyles. Other Olympians in the winter nationals include four-time Olympic medalist Simone Manuel, who is the top seed in the women’s 50 and 100 freestyles. 

The finals are at 5 p.m. local time each night.

TV: 5 p.m. ET Friday, Olympic Channel; 10 p.m. Sunday, NBCSN

Webcast: 5 p.m. Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday, NBC Sports App; 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. Saturday, usaswimming.org


"Curling Night in America"
Curl up to the TV for the fifth episode of  “Curling Night in America” on Friday night. In episode 7, the U.S. women take on Italy. The show goes from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.


Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is sports editor of the Cape Cod Times and a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.