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Lugers, Biathletes And Speedskaters Go For World Titles & More From Team USA This Weekend

By Paul D. Bowker | Feb. 14, 2020, 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.


U.S. Builds Momentum For Luge World Championships

Summer Britcher, a two-time Olympian, is coming off a rare third-place finish on a German track, while Chris Mazdzer, a three-time Olympian, is recovered enough from a neck injury to be racing in both men’s singles and doubles at this weekend’s luge world championships in Russia.

They are among seven U.S. athletes competing at worlds on the Krasnaya Polyana track used at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014. A neck injury ended 2018 Olympian Emily Sweeney’s season.

Britcher is coming off a strong world cup race in Oberhof, Germany, where she won a bronze medal and became the first U.S. woman to reach the podium in Oberhof since Cameron Myler did so in 1996. Britcher also won a silver medal in the team relay.

“It’s always motivating to go into worlds on a high note,” Britcher said. “I definitely feel good about going into this weekend. I had a good week of training and just excited to start racing.”

Joining her in the women’s competition are Ashley Farquharson and Brittany Arndt, who are also in contention for the podium in the U23 world championships, a race within a race at worlds.

Mazdzer, a 2018 Olympic silver medalist, is ready to go in both singles and doubles. He teamed up with two-time Olympian Jayson Terdiman in the anchor leg of the team relay in Oberhof, helping the U.S. win a silver medal.

“My neck is holding up well,” Mazdzer said. “The track here is really smooth, really fast. The conditions are fantastic and that makes it easier on the body.”

Also running in singles are two-time Olympian Tucker West and Jonny Gustafson.

The sprint finals are Friday, followed by doubles and women’s finals on Saturday, with men’s finals and the team relay on Sunday.

TV: 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. ET Saturday, 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Olympic Channel; 11 p.m. Saturday, 10:30 p.m. Sunday, NBCSN

Webcast: 5:30 a.m. Friday, 5:40 a.m. Saturday, 5:15 a.m. Sunday, olympicchannel.com

Follow along on social: FIL Luge on Twitter, USA Luge on Twitter and Summer Britcher on Instagram.

Olympians Ready For Podium Chase At Biathlon Worlds

Six Olympians are among the eight biathletes on the U.S. team for the IBU Biathlon World Championships.

All four U.S. women are 2018 Olympians, including two-time Olympian Susan Dunklee, who won a silver medal in mass start in the 2017 world championships and posted a 10th-place finish in a 10-kilometer world cup pursuit race on Jan. 19 in Ruhpolding, Germany. Joining her are Clare Egan, Joanne Reid and Emily Dreissigacker.

Two-time Olympians Sean Doherty and Leif Nordgren lead the men’s team. Joining them are Jake Brown, who is on his second world team, and Paul Schommer, who is making his world championship debut.

The world championships, which began Thursday with the mixed relay event, go through Feb. 23 in Antholz-Anterselva, Italy. The opening weekend consists of a women’s 7.5K sprint race Friday, men’s 10K sprint Saturday, and women’s 10K and men’s 12.5K pursuit races on Sunday.

TV: 8:45 a.m. ET Friday, 8:45 a.m. Saturday, 9:15 and 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Olympic Channel

Webcast: 8:45 a.m. Friday, 8:45 a.m. Saturday, 7 and 9:15 a.m. Sunday, NBC Sports App

Follow along on social: US Biathlon on Twitter, International Biathlon Union on Twitter and Susan Dunklee on Instagram.

Utah Olympic Oval Hosts Fastest Speedskaters In The World

The Utah Olympic Oval, which is known throughout the speedskating world as the fastest ice in the world, is host to the world’s fastest skaters this week.

And that could work out perfectly for defending world champions Brittany Bowe and Joey Mantia.

Bowe and Mantia are among nine U.S. long track speedskaters competing on home ice in the ISU World Single Distances Championships, which began Thursday and go through Sunday. The Utah Olympic Oval holds every world long track record except for the men’s 5,000-meter and women’s 3,000-meter.

Bowe, a two-time Olympian, has won nine world medals and is the defending champion in the 1,000-meter race. She’ll be looking for the top of the podium after having her U.S. record of seven consecutive wins at that distance halted last week in Calgary, Alberta. Bowe, the world-record holder in the 1,000, is on the start list at 500, 1,000 and 1,500 meters.

Also skating in the 1,000 are former short-tracker Kimi Goetz and Brianna Bocox. Joining them in the women’s competition are 2018 Olympic bronze medalist Mia Kilburg (3,000, 5,000 and mass start), Paige Schwartzburg (mass start) and 2018 Olympian Erin Jackson (500).

“It’s the world championships, so everyone will be peaked and ready to perform,” Goetz said. “Spectators should expect world records, national records and lots of personal bests.”

Mantia, a two-time Olympian, is the defending champion in the mass start and is coming off a third-place finish in the 1,500-meter last week in Calgary. He has one gold medal in the mass start this world cup season. In addition to the mass start, he’ll race in the 1,000 and 1,500.

Also in the men’s competition are two-time Olympian Emery Lehman (1,500) and Ian Quinn (mass start).

TV: 1 and 6 a.m. ET Saturday, 1:30 a.m. Sunday, 1 a.m. Monday, Olympic Channel

Webcast: 4 p.m. Friday, 2:30 p.m. Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday, NBC Sports App

Follow along on social: Team USA on Twitter, U.S. Speedskating on Twitter and U.S. Speedskating on Instagram.

U.S. Sailors Aim To Claim Olympic Spots

Five U.S. sailors will have an Olympic celebration this weekend in Australia.

The world championships in three boat classes are the final Olympic selection events for American sailors in the 49erFX, Nacra 17 and Laser classes. The U.S. has qualified quota spots in all three classes for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

The U.S. is not qualified in the 49er class, but if the U.S. does secure a quota spot, the winner of the selection process in 49er would become an Olympian, as well.

Anna Tobias, who won an Olympic gold medal in 2008 in her Olympic debut in Laser Radial, and Paris Henken, who made her Olympic debut in 2016 in Rio, are battling Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea for the Olympic berth in 49erFX, which features two-woman crews. Tobias and Henken entered the competition with a four-point lead, but trailed Roble and Shea by three positions after nine races on Port Phillip Bay in Geelong, Australia.

In the Nacra 17 class, Riley Gibbs and Anna Weis held a nine-point lead in the selection trials. After three days of racing in Geelong, they were in 18th place, eight spots behind Sarah Newberry and David Liebenberg.

The final round of fleet racing in the 49erFX, 49er and Nacra 17 classes is Saturday.

Charlie Buckingham, a 2016 Olympian, entered the final selection regatta in the men’s Laser single-handed class with a comfortable 18-position lead over Chris Barnard. Buckingham had a strong third-place finish on Wednesday. The competition finishes up Sunday in Melbourne.

Follow along on social: U.S. Sailing on Instagram, Anna Tunnicliffe Tobias on Instagram and World Sailing on Twitter.

Cross-Country Skiing – Ostersund Ski Tour Opener
The FIS Ski Tour 2020 begins Saturday in Ostersund, Sweden, with men’s and women’s freestyle races. The tour travels to four venues in two countries (Sweden and Norway) over nine days, finishing up on Feb. 23 in Trondheim, Norway. Fifteen U.S. skiers will be on the starting line for the opening freestyle races on Saturday, including three-time Olympian Simi Hamilton, and two-time Olympians Jessie Diggins, Sophie Caldwell and Sadie Maubet Bjornsen. The opening weekend consists of women’s 10-kilometer and men’s 15K freestyle races Saturday, followed by women’s 10K and men’s 15K classic pursuit races Sunday. The second stop on the tour is Tuesday in Are, Sweden, for freestyle sprints. Also on the U.S. women’s start list are Alayna Sonnesyn, Rosie Brennan, Hailey Swirbul, Rosie Frankowski, Katharine Ogden, Caitlin Patterson and Julia Kern. Joining Hamilton in the men’s competition are David Norris, Kevin Bolger, Ben Lustgarten and Logan Hanneman.

TV: 10:10 and 11:30 a.m. ET Saturday, 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Olympic Channel

Webcast: 7:30 and 10:10 a.m. Saturday, 8 and 10 a.m. Sunday, NBC Sports App

Men’s Alpine Skiing – Saalbach-Hinterglemm World Cup
This week’s world cup stop in Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria, features a super-G race Friday. Travis Ganong, a 2014 Olympian, is having his best season in three years, entering the competition with an 11th-place ranking in super-G and 14th-place ranking in downhill. He finished 10th in his last super-G on the legendary course in Kitzbuehel, Austria. Other expected U.S. starters include four-time Olympian Steven Nyman and 2018 Olympian Ryan Cochran-Siegle.

TV: 5 a.m. ET Friday, Olympic Channel

Webcast: 5 a.m. Friday, NBC Sports App

Women’s Alpine Skiing – Kranjska Gora World Cup
The FIS women’s world cup tour moves to Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, for a pair of tech races this weekend. A giant slalom race is scheduled for Saturday, followed by slalom on Sunday. Expected on the start list for the U.S. are Nina O’Brien and Paula Moltzan. O’Brien had a career-best 11th-place finish in the parallel giant slalom at Sestriere, Italy, on Jan. 19. Moltzan has a pair of top 20 world cup finishes this season in the slalom.

TV: 7 a.m. ET Saturday, 7:30 a.m. Sunday, Olympic Channel

Webcast: 4 and 7 a.m. Saturday, 4:15 and 7:45 a.m. Sunday, NBC Sports App

Slopestyle/Halfpipe Calgary Snow Rodeo
Two-time Olympic champion David Wise and Olympic bronze medalist Brita Sigourney are among 47 U.S. skiers and snowboarders competing for podium finishes in this week’s Snow Rodeo FIS World Cup competition in Calgary, Alberta. Wise began the week brilliantly, finishing first in Wednesday’s qualifying for Friday’s final in men’s halfpipe skiing. Joining him in the finals are Lyman Currier, Birk Irving, Taylor Seaton, Cassidy Jarrell and Hunter Hess. Sigourney and Devin Logan, two-time Olympians, are among three American women in the final. U.S. skiers on the start list in men’s slopestyle skiing include two-time Olympic medalist Nick Goepper and Colby Stevenson, who won gold medals at X Games Aspen and the U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain, California. Dusty Henricksen, a U.S. Grand Prix winner, is among eight U.S. starters in men’s slopestyle snowboarding. Finals in slopestyle skiing and halfpipe snowboarding are Saturday, followed by the slopestyle snowboarding finals on Sunday.

TV: 8 p.m. ET Friday, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, Olympic Channel; 12 a.m. Sunday, NBCSN

Webcast: 8 p.m. Friday, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, NBC Sports App

Short Track Speedskating – Dordrecht World Cup
The U.S. short track team is in Dordrecht, Netherlands, this weekend for the final world cup stop of the 2019-20 season. Among those in the women’s competition is Maame Biney, a 2018 Olympian who won a bronze medal in the 1,500-meter at the ISU Four Continents Championships. Joining her are Kristen Santos, Corinne Stoddard, Hailey Choi, Shreya Arun and Julie Letai. Biney and Santos both reached the B finals last week in Dresden, Germany. Skating for the men are 2018 Olympian and Four Continents bronze medalist Thomas Hong, Aaron Tran, Andrew Heo, Ryan Pivirotto, Brandon Kim and Joonhwa Hong. The competition begins with qualifying rounds Friday. Finals in the men’s and women’s 1,000 and 1,500, and 2,000 mixed relay are Saturday, followed on Sunday by the finals in men’s and women’s 500 and 1,000, and women’s 3,000 relay and men’s 5,000 relay.

TV: 12 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET Sunday, Olympic Channel

Webcast: 7 a.m. Saturday, 7 a.m. Sunday, NBC Sports App

Skeleton – Sigulda World Cup
Kendall Wesenberg, a 2018 Olympian, and Megan Henry are ranked among the top 10 in women’s skeleton entering this weekend’s final world cup stop of the season in Sigulda, Latvia. Henry is ranked seventh in the world cup standings and Wesenberg, who had an eighth-place finish two weeks ago in St. Moritz, Switzerland, is 10th. Savannah Graybill will join them in Sunday’s race. No. 16-ranked Austin Florian, Andrew Blaser and Alex Ivanov are the U.S. starters in the men’s race on Saturday. Henry, Blaser and Ivanov will be racing on the Sigulda track for the first time in their careers. The U.S. bobsled team is not competing in Sigulda because they are in Altenberg, Germany, training for the upcoming world championships.

TV: 5 p.m. ET Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, Olympic Channel

Webcast: 5 and 6:45 a.m. Saturday, 3 and 4:30 a.m. Sunday, NBC Sports App

Aerials – Moscow World Cup
Megan Nick, who captured her first world cup podium with a second-place finish last week at Deer Valley, Utah, is among 12 U.S. skiers in Moscow for a world cup stop on Saturday. The U.S. team is coming off a solid world cup performance at Deer Valley. Three of the top five finishers in the women’s contest were Americans, and 2018 Olympians Eric Loughran and Jon Lillis finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in the men’s competition. Winter Vinecki and Kaila Kuhn, who finished fourth and fifth last week, will be joined in Moscow by three-time Olympian Ashley Caldwell, Madison Varmette and Megan Smallhouse in the women’s competition. Chris Lillis, Justin Schoenefeld, Quinn Dehlinger and 2016 Olympian Alex Bowen will join Loughran and Jon Lillis in the men’s contest.

TV: 1 p.m. ET Saturday, Olympic Channel

Webcast: 11 a.m. Saturday, NBC Sports App

Field Hockey – FIH Pro League
The U.S. women’s field hockey team faces another top-10 team this weekend in Christchurch, New Zealand. The U.S., ranked 14th in the world, faces seventh-ranked New Zealand on Saturday and Sunday. A victory in either of the games would boost the U.S. into a No. 13 world ranking. Taylor West scored twice last week in a pair of losses to No. 3 Argentina. The U.S. is seeking its first win of the FIH Pro League season after opening the season with one loss to No. 1 Netherlands and two to Argentina. New Zealand has one win and one draw in its first four matches.

Karate – Premier League
Tom Scott, a three-time Pan American Games medalist, is among 10 U.S. karatekas competing in a Karate1 Premier League stop this week in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The competition has drawn nearly 600 athletes and is a key Olympic ranking tournament coming less than two months before the Olympic ranking period ends April 6. Karate will make its Olympic debut this summer in Tokyo, and the top four in each weight class will secure berths in the Olympic tournament. Scott is ranked fourth in the men’s 75 kg. class and has fifth- and seventh-place finishes among his last three tournaments. Joining him in the men’s tournament are Brian Hilliard, 67 kg.; Kamran Madani, 84 kg.; and Brian Irr, 84+ kg. Maya Wasowicz is competing in the women’s 68+ kg. class. Sakura Kokumai, who placed fifth in the Premier League stop in Paris in January, and Jessica Kwong are competing in women’s kata, and Mason Stowell, Gakuji Tozaki and Ariel Torres-Gutierrez are in men’s kata.

Open Water Swimming - World Series
Haley Anderson, who has already qualified for her third U.S. Olympic Team, is among three American swimmers who are on the start list for Saturday’s FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim Series 2020 opener in Doha, Qatar. Joining Anderson are Hannah Moore and Hayley Pike. Anderson qualified for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 with a second-place finish in the 10-kilometer race at the world championships. She became the first American open water swimmer to win an Olympic medal when she won a silver medal in London in 2012. Saturday’s 10K race in Doha is the first of 10 stops on the FINA Swim Series tour. Among those Anderson will be battling Saturday is Olympic champion Sharon Van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands.

Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic and Paralympic 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.