Lindsey Jacobellis flies through the air in front of Maelle Ricker of Canada in the women's semifinals at the FIS Snowboard Cross World Cup Dec. 21, 2013 in Lake Louise, Alberta.
Snowboardcross racers Trevor Jacob, Alex Deibold, Nate Holland and Lindsey Jacobellis met selection criteria for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team based on their results this weekend in the FIS World Cup event in Vallnord, Andorra.
|Nate Holland (yellow) leads the field in his semifinal heat during Winter X Games 2012 at Buttermilk Mountain on Jan. 28, 2012 in Aspen, Colo.
Jacob recorded his first snowboardcross victory Saturday. Two-time Olympian Holland was fourth, Nick Baumgartner sixth and Deibold 10th. Baumgartner led the U.S. men with an eighth-place finish on Sunday.
Seth Wescott, the two-time defending Olympic champion, struggled to a 31st place finish Sunday in his second competition back after reconstruction of his left ACL. Wescott’s Olympic hopes are not officially over, though, as he could still make the four-man team as a discretionary pick.
Jacobellis, a two-time Olympian who earned a silver medal in 2006, finished up the Olympic selection period by placing third in women’s races Saturday and Sunday. Jackie Hernandez was ninth Saturday.
The world cup scheduled for Jan. 17-19 in Veysonnaz, Switzerland, was canceled, ending the Olympic selection period early.
The Olympic qualifying process is also undergoing change in halfpipe and slopestyle after weather forced cancellation of Saturday’s event in Park City, Utah. Qualifying rounds had been completed in both events at the third of five qualifiers. A U.S.-only qualifying event at Mammoth Mountain is tentatively planned as a replacement.
Halfpipe skiers Maddie Bowman and David Wise mathematically qualified for nominations to the first U.S. Olympic Freeskiing Team with wins Sunday at the U.S. Grand Prix in Breckenridge, Colo.
The final had been rescheduled twice because of heavy snow. The final two Olympic qualifications events will be held this week in Park City, Utah.
Aaron Blunck finished second in the FIS World Cup standings for halfpipe. The world cup season concluded with Sunday’s final.
Lanny Barnes, Russell Currier, Sean Doherty, Hannah Dreissigacker and Sara Studebaker were nominated to the U.S. Olympic Team for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games Sunday following the conclusion of the IBU Cup in Ridnaun-Val Ridanna, Italy.
Tim Burke, Lowell Bailey, Leif Nordgren, Susan Dunklee and Annelies Cook had all been nominated prior to the weekend event. Bailey, Barnes and Burke will be competing in their third consecutive Winter Games. Studebaker will be appearing in her second straight.
Bailey, Burke and Dunklee earned early nominations by finishing in the top 15 in the world in the 2012-13 season. Cook and Nordgren were nominated following the December world cup stops.
Dreissigacker finished 10th in the women’s 15-kilometer individual Saturday at Riduan. Currier was 23rd in the men’s 20-kilometer individual.
Elsewhere, Bailey finished 25th in the 20-kilometer individual Saturday at the E.ON IBU World Cup event in Ruhpolding, Germany.
Kikkan Randall won an FIS World Cup race for the 10th time, taking the women’s freestyle sprint Saturday in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. Andy Newell led the U.S. men, finishing 17th.
“It was pretty loud and there were lots of shadows from the lights so I couldn’t tell if the others were right on my tail,” Randall said. “I pushed all the way to the line and was really happy to take the victory.”
Newell joined Simi Hamilton to finish fifth in the classic team sprint Sunday. Sophie Caldwell and Ida Sargent were sixth in the women’s team sprint.
Elsewhere, Reese Hanneman won the classic sprint over Erik Bjornsen Friday for his first title at the U.S. Cross Country Championships in Soldier Hollow, Utah. Rosie Brennan was second in the women’s race, first among U.S. competitors.
Jeremy Abbott and the ice dancing team of Meryl Davis and Charlie White are headed back to the Olympic Winter Games as national champions coming off their efforts at the 2014 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships this past weekend in Boston.
Abbott won his fourth U.S. men’s title Sunday while Davis and White won their record sixth ice dancing title Saturday. Champions also were crowned Saturday in women’s (Gracie Gold) and pairs skating (Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir), and the 15-person U.S. Olympic Figure Skating Team was named Sunday.
Click here to meet the 2014 U.S. Olympic Figure Skating Team.
Davis and White, silver medalists in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, became the first team to break 200 points while winning a record sixth straight U.S. title.
“We’re so proud of everything we’ve accomplished and it meant so much to be able to come in here, take the title and head into the Olympics with it,” Davis said. “We’re working to earn gold.”
Davis and White are favorites to win the United States’ first Olympic gold medal in ice dancing in Sochi.
Another Olympian making a return trip to the Winter Games is Evan Bates, who competed with Emily Samuelson back in 2010 and earned a spot in Sochi with Madison Chock. Chock and Bates finished second to Davis and White in Boston. Finishing in third in the dance event were Maia and Alex Shibutani. All three teams were nominated to the U.S. Olympic Team in Sochi, pending approval by the United States Olympic Committee.
The women’s competition wrapped up on Saturday night with 18-year-old Gracie Gold running away with her first U.S. senior national title with a total score of 211.69, but the situation just behind her required a bit more discussion. Competing in her first senior championships, 15-year-old Polina Edmunds finished second. Mirai Nagasu, who was fourth in the 2010 Winter Games, bounced back after some inconsistency in recent years to finish third. Meanwhile, two-time defending U.S. champion Ashley Wagner finished fourth.
U.S. Figure Skating evaluated Olympic spots based on performances not only at these nationals but at other major events.
“If you look at Ashley Wagner’s record and performance, she has got the top credentials of any of our female athletes,” U.S. Figure Skating president Patricia St. Peter said. “She has delivered consistently over the past year.”
Also Saturday, Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay were second to Castelli and Shnapir in pairs and landed the second Olympic spot. Caydee Denney, a 2010 Olympian, finished third with John Coughlin. They are the first alternates.
The event wrapped up Sunday with the men’s free skate. Skating in what he said would be his last U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Abbott landed a quad in his free skate en route to his fourth title of his career. Second-place finisher Jason Brown was awarded the other men’s spot on the Olympic team. Max Aaron, the 2013 U.S. champion, was third and is the first alternate.
BOBSLED & SKELETON
Skeleton racer Noelle Pikus-Pace posted her third win and fifth medal of the season by winning the world cup race Saturday in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
“This has been such a great week,” said Pikus-Pace, the only woman to finish in less than 1:10 on both runs. “I was a little behind at the start today and I knew some athletes made some mistakes in the first run, so I needed to attack each curve.”
Pikus-Pace barely missed a medal in Vancouver, finishing fourth, and after temporarily retiring she is back and on a tear this season. Fellow American Katie Uhlaender was sixth in St. Moritz.
Men’s skeleton racer Matt Antoine, who had earned a bronze medal Friday, finished sixth in the men’s race on Sunday.
The U.S. bobsled teams fell just short of medals in St. Moritz. Jamie Greubel and Emily Azevedo were fourth in the women’s bobsled Saturday when Steven Holcomb and Chris Fogt placed fifth in the two-man bobsled. In the four-man bobsled race Sunday, Holcomb, the 2010 Olympic champion, piloted the team of Fogt, Curt Tomasevicz and Steve Langton to seventh place. After seven straight wins to start the season, Holcomb has now missed the podium in five consecutive races.
Two more world cup events remain before the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Defending Olympic moguls champion Hannah Kearney picked up her second win of the week Saturday in moguls at the Visa Freestyle International FIS World Cup at Deer Valley, Utah.
“That felt like a prettier run than my one two nights ago,” Kearney said. “I tried to find the balance of speed, but also control, and that felt much cleaner.”
Eliza Outtrim was fourth and Heidi Kloser fifth. Pat Deneen was fourth in the men’s moguls event Sunday.
Jonathon Lillis was fourth in aerials Friday when Emily Cook was the only U.S. woman to advance on the finals on the way to her seventh-place finish.
Ted Ligety crashed halfway through Saturday’s second run of the giant slalom at the FIS World Cup in Adelboden, Switzerland. Ligety was in third place following the first run. David Chodounsky was eighth in the slalom Sunday.
Elsewhere, Julia Mancuso was 13th in the downhill Saturday at the FIS World Cup women’s event in Altenmarkt/Zauchensee, Austria. Laurenne Ross was 20th in the super combined Sunday.
Bryan Fletcher and Billy Demong were among the leaders for much of the team sprint before finishing seventh Sunday at the FIS World Cup event in Chaux Neuve, France. Demong was 13th in the individual event on Saturday.
Todd Lodwick, a five-time Olympian who has been nominated for a record sixth Olympic appearance, crashed and suffered a left shoulder injury in a provisional event Friday. He will be further evaluated in the days ahead.
Lindsey Van finished fifth at the women’s world cup event in Sapporo, Japan, Sunday. Jessica Jerome was seventh after leading U.S. jumpers with a 10th-place finish in Saturday’s competition.
A dozen spots for the USA National Championships were determined during challenge rounds for the men in Blaine, Minn. and the women in Grafton, N.D., during the weekend. A field of 20 teams competed in Minnesota for six men’s spots, beginning Thursday. The women got started Friday with nine teams chasing six spots in North Dakota.
The qualifiers join eight teams that had already advanced to the March 1 nationals in Aston, Pa. based on High Performance Program and Order of Merit points standings.
Teams skipped by Craig Brown, Joey Bonfoey, Tyler George, Alex Leichter, Pete Stolt and Eric Fenson joined those skipped by John Shuster, Pete Fenson, Heath McCormick and Brady Clark in the men’s field. Shuster will be leading Team USA in the Sochi Olympic Games, with Craig Brown as his fifth.
Teams skipped by Alex Carlson, Caitlin Maroldo, Abigayle Lindgren, Amy Lou Anderson, Sarah Anderson and Em Good joined those skipped by Allison Pottinger, Cassie Potter, Nina Spatola and Courtney George in the women’s field. Potter is the fifth on Team Erika Brown for the Winter Games in Sochi.
Christian Niccum and Jayson Terdiman finished a season-best ninth in men’s doubles luge Saturday at the world cup event in Oberhof, Germany. Matt Mortensen and Preston Griffall were 11th.
Erin Hamlin was 10th in women’s singles while Kate Hansen was 12th.
Chris Mazdzer was 18th in men’s singles Sunday.
PARALYMPIC ALPINE SKIING
Mark Bathum and Andrew Kurka won gold medals in downhill competition Friday when the International Paralympic Committee Alpine Skiing World Cup opened in Panorama, B.C.
Bathum, a 2010 Paralympic silver medalist, won the men’s visually impaired race with guide Cade Yamamoto. Kurka won in the men’s sitting division. Chris Devlin-Young took the bronze.
Three-time Paralympic gold medalist Alana Nichols earned the silver in the women’s sitting downhill in her first world cup competition since suffering three torn ligaments in her shoulder last summer. Laurie Stephens took bronze.
Danelle Umstead and guide/husband Rob Umstead took third in the women’s visually-impaired division while Allison Jones took third in women’s standing.
The competition continues through Tuesday.
The United States played the last of its games prior to the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games and took two out of three from Canada Thursday through Saturday in Indian Trail, N.C. Paul Schaus, Rico Roman and Kevin McKee all scored in Saturday’s 3-1 victory to complete the three-game series.
“This was a great way for us to finish international competition before we head to the Paralympics in March,” said coach Jeff Sauer, who will lead the U.S. squad through two training camps prior to heading to Russia. “Much like (Friday), we used our speed effectively and played with a lot of intensity. Overall, we are happy with how we played this weekend and are looking forward to continuing to improve as we prepare for Sochi.”
Canada won the first game, 4-1, Thursday. Declan Farmer and Josh Sweeney scored in Friday’s 2-1 victory. Goalie Steve Cash made 10 saves Friday and 12 Saturday to get the wins.
The team is scheduled to arrive in Sochi Feb. 28 and begin Paralympic Winter Games competition March 8 against Italy.
Katie Compton won her 10th straight U.S. championship while Jeremy Powers captured his second Sunday, the final day of the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships. Compton finished the elite women’s race in 42:36, 49 seconds ahead of Elle Anderson.
“I think they’re getting harder every year because I think the pressure grows a little bit and everyone is getting stronger,” Compton said.
Powers won for the second time in three years, beating Ryan Trebon by 43 seconds.
Kaitlin Antonneau defended her women’s U-23 national championship as the top rider in the elite women’s race. Antonneau, from Marian University, had repeated as Division I college women’s champion Saturday.
Logan Owen won a national title for the ninth straight year when he won the men’s U-23 title Saturday. He made the move up from juniors to U-23 this year.
TRACK & FIELD
Chris Derrick won the senior men’s title by finishing the 8-kilometer race in 24:11 Saturday to lead the United States at the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country race in Scotland. Derrick followed up last year’s title by Bobby Mack. After finishing second in 2012 and winning in 2013, Mack was fourth this time.
Team USA finished third in the overall team standings with the help of a second-place team finish in three different races. Team Europe edged the United States by three points in the senior men’s and junior men’s races. The U.S. junior women were also second.
The United States clinched a spot in the Jan. 17 semifinals of the CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship when it defeated Jamaica, 3-0, in George Town, Cayman Islands. The United States improved to 2-0 in Group A play, which it will conclude with a game against Guatemala Monday night. The top three teams in the tournament qualify for the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada.
There were four successful title defenses among the 35 champions determined in four age groups Saturday at the USA Boxing Junior and Youth Open in Reno, Nev.
Daniel Gonzalez defender his title in the junior men’s flyweight division, Ashley Perez defended the junior women’s flyweight title, Devin Haney defended the junior men’s featherweight title and Suray Mahmutovic defended the junior men’s light heavyweight title.
Victor Morales was named outstanding boxer of the junior men’s tournament after winning the bantamweight title over defending champion Vergil Ortiz.
Diana Estrada was named outstanding boxer of the junior women’s tournament after a split decision over Kaely Perez at 125 pounds.
Flyweight Shakur Stevenson and lightweight Jajaira Gonzalez were the youth division outstanding boxers.
The USA Taekwondo Senior National Team, Junior National Team, Cadet National Team and Youth Olympic Games Team all were determined during competition at the USA National Team Trials Friday through Sunday in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Tom Robinson is a freelance contributor for TeamUSA.org.