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Alpine Skiing World Cup Season Kicks Off & More From Team USA This Weekend

By Paul D. Bowker | Oct. 25, 2019, 12:01 a.m. (ET)

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


Shiffrin, Ligety Lead U.S. Into Alpine Skiing World Cup Opener In Soelden

The race for alpine skiing crystal globes begins Saturday in Soelden, Austria.

Standing tall in the traditional world cup season opener is two-time Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin, who won the 2018-19 world cup overall crystal globe in addition to three of the four crystal globes awarded for individual disciplines, plus world titles in slalom and super-G.

In total she won a record 17 world cup races in 26 tries last season to boost her career total to 60 wins. The only world cup season championship Shiffrin didn’t win in 2018-19 was downhill.

Ted Ligety, a two-time Olympic champion and four-time winner at Soelden, leads the U.S. men.

Soelden, which sits on the Rettenbach glacier with an elevation of more than 4,400 feet, is an Alpine resort that typically is perfect for early season skiing. The U.S. team trained on the mountain last week before it was closed for world cup preparation.

The women’s giant slalom is Saturday, followed by the men’s giant slalom on Sunday.

“Definitely have been skiing a ton of GS, which is awesome,” Shiffrin said. “The weather has been great and there’s more snow than I remember here the past few years.”

Joining Shiffrin in the women’s competition are Nina O’Brien, AJ Hurt, Keely Cashman and Storm Klomhaus, who has endured six knee surgeries to make her first world cup start Saturday.

Ligety won the men’s giant slalom in four of five years at Soelden but not since 2015. Joining him Sunday are two-time Olympian Tommy Ford, who was ranked No. 9 in giant slalom last season, along with 2018 Olympian Ryan Cochran-Siegle, three-time Youth Olympic Games gold medalist River Radamus, Brian McLaughlin and Nick Krause.

Webcast: 5 and 8 a.m. ET Saturday, 5 and 8 a.m. Sunday, NBC Sports App

Follow along on social: U.S. Ski Team on Twitter, FIS Alpine on Twitter and Mikaela Shiffrin on Instagram.

With Skate America In The Books, It’s On To Skate Canada

Ice dance partners Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue got their season off to an impressive start with a win in Skate America last weekend.

This week they’ll attempt to lock down a spot in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final for the fifth consecutive year with a win at Skate Canada.

Hubbell and Donohue, who finished fourth at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 and are two-time world medalists, are among 12 U.S. skaters competing Friday and Saturday in Skate Canada in Kelowna, British Columbia. It is the second stop on the ISU Grand Prix series.

Also going after a Grand Prix Final berth is Bradie Tennell, a 2018 Olympian who won a silver medal in the women’s competition in Skate America.

The short programs are Friday, followed by the free programs on Saturday.

Also competing in ice dance are the U.S. teams of Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker, and Caroline Green and Michael Parsons.

Two U.S. teams are skating in pairs: the husband-and-wife 2018 Olympic team of Alexa Knierim and Chris Knierim, and Jessica Calalang and Brian Johnson, who placed fourth in their grand prix debut last week in Las Vegas.

Camden Pulkinen is making his grand prix debut in the men’s competition.

TV: 4:30 p.m. ET Sunday, NBC; 8 p.m. Monday, Olympic Channel

Webcast: 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 8:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m. Saturday, NBC Sports App

Follow along on social: U.S. Figure Skating on Twitter, Skate Canada on Twitter and Madison Hubbell on Instagram.

Top Canoe/Kayak Slalom Athletes Head To Tokyo For Test Event

Michal Smolen, a 2016 Olympian, joins three other U.S. paddlers in Tokyo this weekend for the Olympic Test Event in canoe/kayak slalom.

Smolen is entered in one-man kayak. Joining him are Evy Leibfarth (women’s kayak and canoe) and Zachary Lokken (men’s canoe). Leibfarth, 15, is coming off a summer season in which she won a bronze medal in her second world cup appearance. She is the first American woman to win a world cup medal in canoe slalom.

All four events (men’s canoe, men’s kayak, women’s canoe, women’s kayak) will be featured in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Three days of competition at Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre in Tokyo includes preliminary heats Friday and Saturday, and semifinals and finals Sunday.

Follow along on social: American Canoe Association on Twitter, Michal Smolen on Instagram and Evy Leibfarth on Instagram.

Surfing – Rip Curl Pro Portugal
Carissa Moore has a chance this weekend to clinch both her fourth world championship and her first Olympic berth as the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal arrives at a dramatic finish. Moore can clinch the world title by winning the event, which may finish as soon as Friday depending on surf conditions. If that doesn’t happen this week, the women’s world title will come down to the World Surf League’s final event of the season, which begins next month in Hawaii. Among those chasing her in the title race is 2018 runner-up Lakey Peterson, a fellow American. The two could meet in the semifinals. Moore has a lead of more than 7,000 points in the title race, and a win in Portugal would earn her 10,000 points. Up to two U.S. women could qualify for next year’s Olympic team with top-eight finishes in this year’s World Surf League standings. The battle for those two spots comes down to Moore, Peterson and fourth-ranked Caroline Marks, all of whom are in the quarterfinals in Portugal. Fellow American Courtney Conlogue rounds out the top five, trailing Peterson by nearly 9,000 points. She was eliminated in the round of 16. Kolohe Andino, who has already clinched a men’s Olympic berth, is the only American in the quarterfinals on the men’s side. Surf conditions are forecast to build through the weekend, beginning Friday.

Climbing – Inzai World Cup
Ashima Shiraishi enters the final world cup lead competition in 11th place in the women’s standings, and Sean Bailey is 15th in the men’s standings. Lead is one of three disciplines that will make up the combined medal event at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, when sport climbing makes its Olympic debut. The semifinals and finals are Sunday in Inzai, Japan. Joining Shiraishi in the women’s competition are Kyra Condie, Margo Hayes, Alex Johnson and Estelle Park. In addition to Bailey, U.S. climbers in the men’s competition are John Brosler, Nathaniel Coleman, Jesse Grupper and Rudolph Ruana.

TV: 4 p.m. ET Sunday, Olympic Channel

Judo – Abu Dhabi Grand Slam
Olympian Nick Delpopolo is among nine U.S. athletes competing in the Abu Dhabi grand slam tournament Thursday through Saturday. Delpopolo is competing in the 81 kg. weight class. John Jayne is competing in the men’s 91 kg. class. Seven U.S. women are competing: Amelia Fulgentes and Leilani Akiyama, 57 kg.; Hannah Martin, 63 kg.; Chantal Wright, 70 kg.; Nefeli Papadakis, 78 kg.; and Mackenzie Williams and Nina Cutro-Kelly, 78+ kg.

Squash – PSA World Championships
Amanda Sobhy, a three-time gold medalist at the Pan American Games Lima 2019, is the No. 8 seed in the PSA Women’s World Championship in squash. The tournament, which began Thursday, goes through Nov. 1 in Cairo. Other Americans include 18th-ranked Olivia Blatchford Clyne, Olivia Fiechter, Haley Mendez, three-time U.S. junior champion Marina Stefanoni and Reeham Sedky.

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