Oct 21, 2013, 1:14 PM EST
Several Olympic hopefuls took steps toward Sochi on Sunday and Monday.
The biggest strides came in luge in Park City, Utah, where the fall World Cup teams were named following the final selection races Sunday.
Kate Hansen, sliding with a broken bone in her right foot, completed a sweep of the women’s races to boost her chances of making the U.S. Olympic team.
The 2008 world junior champion said she “T-boned” a wall in training Wednesday, saying she cried and it was the hardest crash of her career.
“Obviously, no one wants to break their foot, but I’m capable of things that I never thought I would be capable of,” Hansen said in a USA Luge interview. “Whether or not the Olympics happen or any of this works out, I think I’ve proven some things to myself and some people that I can do it.”
Hansen is joined on the fall World Cup team by 2010 Olympians Erin Hamlin and Julia Clukey and by Summer Britcher. For the men, 2010 Olympian Chris Mazdzer also swept selection races and is joined by Taylor Morris, Joe Mortensen and Tucker West on the World Cup team.
The doubles World Cup teams are Matt Mortensen and Preston Griffall, Jake Hyrns and Andrew Sherk and Christian Niccum and Jayson Terdiman.
The first luge World Cup is Nov. 16-17 in Lillehammer, Norway, and USA Luge will name its Olympic team in mid-December. It’s expected to be three women, three men and two doubles teams.
In bobsled, 2010 Olympic four-man champion Steve Holcomb finished a sweep of two-man selection races Sunday night in Park City. Holcomb teamed with Chris Fogt one week after riding with Steve Langton.
Holcomb, who was pre-qualified for the World Cup team, completed two runs in 1 minute, 37.20 seconds. Nick Cunningham and Dallas Robinson were second (1:37.55), and Cory Butner and Chuck Berkeley were third (1:37.62).
“I know I need to step up my game because the other drivers are stepping up theirs,” Holcomb said, according to a U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation press release. “This is shaping up to be a solid team trials. We’ve been analyzing the new BMW sleds and making some changes along the way, and hopefully we’ll have it all figured out so we’re ready to go even faster by the time we’re back here for the World Cup.”
It marked the same order of pilot finishes as the first set of selection races in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Oct. 12, leaving a clear picture for three likely U.S. Olympic spots.
The bobsled selection races will finish in Park City on Friday and Saturday with the final women’s race and the men’s four-man races. The national team for upcoming World Cup races will be named Oct. 27. The first World Cup is Nov. 30 in Calgary.
In skeleton, Noelle Pikus-Pace and Matthew Antoine won the first of four national team selection races in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Monday.
Pikus-Pace, the 2013 world silver medalist and a 2010 Olympian, posted runs of 56.80 and 56.45 seconds to finish a comfortable 0.92 seconds ahead of second-place Annie O’Shea in 1:53.25.
“The first week back is always a little nerve-racking,” Pikus-Pace said, according to a USBSF press release. “We are off of the ice for six months, so everyone is anxious to see where they stack up and where off-season training has put them. It’s nice to get the first trips down the track out of the way so we can all look forward to the competitions. After 10 years of sliding, it comes back pretty quickly, but I still feel the butterflies the beginning of each new season.”
Antoine clocked times of 54.81 and 55.20 for a total of 1:50.01, .96 ahead of second-place John Daly, a 2010 Olympian. He feels better after a 2012-13 season hampered by recovery from knee surgery.
“I’ve had one focus and one goal, which was to get back to where I was physically and to get my head back into the game, and I’ve kept my head down working towards that,” Antoine said. “I’ve worked on getting faster and stronger, and never doubted my sliding ability. I want to be my best in Sochi. Last year didn’t go well for me and part of me feels like I’m undervalued heading into the season. Now I can concentrate on the task at hand and continue to get even better.”
Athletes will continue races for 11 national team spots (six men, five women) on Tuesday morning with the second of four runs. Pikus-Pace, 2012 world champion Katie Uhlaender and Daly have byes onto the national team.
Dec 8, 2013, 3:39 PM EST
Ted Ligety dominated as usual. Bode Miller looked like the Miller of old. The Americans went one-two in a World Cup giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Sunday. It marked the first time the U.S. put two men on a World Cup podium since Jan. 17, 2009. The world champion Ligety won in a two-run time of 2…
Dec 8, 2013, 1:52 PM EST
Lindsey Vonn improved for the second straight day in her first races in 10 months. The Olympic downhill champion placed fifth in a World Cup super-G in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Sunday. Vonn skied the course in 1 minute, 23.71 seconds. Winner Lara Gut of Switzerland was .85 of a second faster. Vonn, in her first races since blowing…
Dec 8, 2013, 12:51 PM EST
American Heather Richardson and her fiance both won races on the final day of the World Cup speed skating stop in Berlin on Sunday. Richardson, the world sprint champion, won the 1000m in 1 minute, 14.51 seconds, .91 better than U.S. teammate Brittany Bowe. Russian Olga Fatkulina was third. Berlin marked the final World Cup before the Olympics, meaning it’s…
Dec 8, 2013, 12:15 PM EST
Erin Hamlin finished fifth in a World Cup luge race to secure her third Olympic berth on Saturday night. Hamlin, 27, of Remsen, N.Y., is the second USA Luger to clinch a spot in Sochi, joining now two-time Olympian Chris Mazdzer. Hamlin is now a three-time Olympian. The 2009 world champion finished 12th in Torino and 16th…
Dec 8, 2013, 12:08 PM EST
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Dec 8, 2013, 8:57 AM EST
One of Jesse Owens‘ four 1936 Berlin Olympics gold medals sold for the highest price ever for a piece of Olympic memorabilia on Sunday morning. The medal sold for $1,466,574, according to its listing on SCP Auctions. There were 30 bids in the auction that began Nov. 20. The bidding price was at $370,000 with about…
Dec 7, 2013, 4:28 PM EST
Steve Holcomb is four for four this season. The Olympic champion drove a four-man bobsled to victory in his hometown of Park City, Utah, on Saturday. Holcomb, with Curt Tomasevicz, Steve Langton and Chris Fogt, won with a two-run time of 1 minute, 34.76 seconds. Germany’s Max Arndt was second, .35 of a second back. Russian Aleksander Kasyanov was third. Holcomb, Arndt and…
Dec 7, 2013, 3:58 PM EST
Lindsey Vonn made major strides in less than 24 hours between her first two races since major knee surgery. The Olympic downhill champion finished 11th in a downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta, on Saturday afternoon. On Friday, Vonn was 40th in another Lake Louise downhill, her first race since blowing out her right knee at the…
Dec 7, 2013, 3:38 PM EST
If Ted Ligety is going to be a multiple-medal threat in Sochi, he must produce strong results outside the giant slalom. He took a step in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Saturday, with his third top-five super-G finish over the last four World Cup seasons. Ligety navigated the Birds of Prey course in 1 minute, 22.21 seconds,…
Dec 7, 2013, 3:15 PM EST
U.S. Bobsled has been stellar to start the season, but it’s never been stronger than Saturday. The U.S. swept the medals in Park City, Utah. Elana Meyers and Aja Evans won in a two-run time of 1 minute, 38.61 seconds, followed by Jamie Greubel and Lolo Jones and Jazmine Fenlator and Lauryn Williams, who tied for silver in 1:39.24. It’s the first time since Feb.…
Dec 7, 2013, 1:01 PM EST
Aleksander Kaptarenko trained for the Olympic torch relay by carrying a frozen salmon. Kaptarenko, a 101-year-old table tennis player, became the oldest Olympic relay torchbearer on Saturday, according to R-Sport. He was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1912 and carried an Olympic torch in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk for 200 meters. Kaptarenko has…
Dec 7, 2013, 12:36 PM EST
India’s Olympic Association may no longer be recognized by the International Olympic Committee if it fails to comply with ”rules of good governance” by Tuesday, IOC president Thomas Bach told The Associated Press. India, currently under an IOC suspension, has “corruption-tainted officials” in its Olympic Association’s ranks, the AP reported. “It’s about the principles,” Bach told the AP.…
Dec 7, 2013, 12:36 PM EST
Two-time U.S. snowboardcross Olympian Nate Holland is in jeopardy of missing the Sochi Games after breaking a collarbone in training, the International Ski Federation (FIS) told NBCOlympics.com. Holland, 35, suffered the injury before the first World Cup snowboardcross event in Montafon, Austria, this weekend. Holland was considered a Sochi medal contender. He was 14th at the 2006…
Dec 7, 2013, 11:45 AM EST
Olympic and world champion Yuna Kim fell on her opening jump but still posted a total score beaten by only one other skater during the Grand Prix season at a minor event in Zagreb, Croatia, on Saturday. The South Korean won the Golden Spin with 204.49 points, her first competition this season following a foot injury. Japan’s Mao…
Dec 7, 2013, 10:40 AM EST
U.S. speed skaters bagged two more medals on the penultimate day of the final World Cup before the Sochi Olympics on Saturday. Shani Davis and Heather Richardson won bronze in the 1000m and 500m, respectively. The Berlin World Cup concludes with a men’s 500m and 5000m and a women’s 1000m and team pursuit Sunday. It’s the final opportunity…
Dec 7, 2013, 9:45 AM EST
USA Luge put a men’s singles slider on a World Cup podium for the first time in nearly seven years on Friday night. 2010 Olympian Chris Mazdzer placed a career-best second in Whistler, B.C., the fourth of nine World Cup stops before the Sochi Olympics in February. Mazdzer was fourth after the first of two runs, behind…
Dec 7, 2013, 6:55 AM EST
Skating in a Grand Prix at home perhaps for the last time, Mao Asada claimed gold Saturday at the Grand Prix Final in Fukuoka, Japan, the 23-year-old rising above an error-prone finish in the ladies’ free skate. Fifteen-year-old Russian Yulia Lipnitskaya skated cleanly to jump her way from fourth to second, claiming the silver medal.…
Dec 7, 2013, 5:12 AM EST
A world record to overcome and the Grand Prix Final gold medal on the line, American ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White rose to the occasion Saturday in Fukuoka, Japan. Skating after rivals Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir had delivered a brilliant free dance to give them a highest-ever overall score, 190.00, Davis/White were…
Dec 6, 2013, 9:06 PM EST
The U.S. Bobsled Team continued its golden start to the season, sweeping the two-woman and two-man World Cup races in Park City, Utah, on Friday. Olympic bronze medalist Elana Meyers and Olympic champion Steve Holcomb drove USA-1 sleds to victory at the 2002 Olympic track. Meyers, 29, notched her first career World Cup victory as a driver in her…
Dec 6, 2013, 4:18 PM EST
Lindsey Vonn safely made it down the mountain in her first competition in 10 months, finishing 40th out of 61 skiers at a World Cup downhill in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday. The Olympic downhill champion completed the course in 1 minute, 59.22 seconds. German Maria Hoefl-Riesch won in 1:56.03 (results at bottom). “I was just too nervous,”…
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