- Week in Review
Team USA's week that was: Dec. 2-8
With just two months to go before the Sochi Olympics get underway, the winter sports season kicked into high gear this past weekend, headlined by the return of Lindsey Vonn and multiple American Olympic hopefuls reaching the top of the podium in World Cup events. Here's a look at the highlights.
Ten months after crashing in a World Cup event and tearing her ACL and MCL in her right knee, and less than a month after partially re-tearing that same ACL, Lindsey Vonn returned to competition in Lake Louise, Alberta. She showed steady improvement throughout the weekend, finishing in 40th place in the first downhill race on Friday, 11th in the second downhill race on Saturday, and fifth in the super-G race on Sunday. She was just .85 seconds behind winner Lara Gut of Switzerland in the super-G, proving that her comeback hopes for Sochi are alive and well. To avoid risking further damage to her knee, Vonn is considering limiting her competition schedule before Sochi.
The American men dominated Sunday’s World Cup stop in Beaver Creek, Colorado, with Ted Ligety and Bode Miller going 1-2 in the giant slalom. This was Ligety’s fourth straight world cup giant slalom win; a feat last achieved in 1991 by Alberto Tomba. Miller’s second place finish was more surprising, as he last reached a World Cup giant slalom podium in March 2007. Miller won the silver medal in this event at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, and he now seems likely to challenge Ligety and Austrian Marcel Hirscher, who came in third, in Sochi.
Embedded video_content_type: Vonn on return: 'I know I can be faster'
Japanese figure skater Mao Asada won gold at the 2013 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Fukuoka, Japan. The two-time world champion is considered the main threat to 2010 Olympic gold medalist Yuna Kim for the top of the podium in Sochi. American Ashley Wagner, the reigning and two-time national champion, won bronze.
U.S. ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White grabbed gold this weekend at the Grand Prix Final, following a flawless performance that placed them just over one point ahead of Canadian rivals Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. The win gave Davis/White their 15th straight Grand Prix gold medal, a record in the sport and a streak that dates back to the 2008 season and includes five straight Grand Prix Final wins. The event solidifies Davis/White as the favorites heading into the Olympics, four years after Virtue/Moir beat them at the 2010 Vancouver Games for the gold medal.
Embedded owg_slideshow: Meryl Davis and Charlie White on the ice
The U.S. women’s bobsled team sent a message to the world by sweeping the podium at the bobsled World Cup in Park City, Utah. Elana Meyers and Aja Evans finished in first, followed by Jamie Greubel and Lolo Jones in second, and Jazmine Fenlator and Lauryn Williams in third.
The U.S. Men's Bobsled Team was equally successful. Steve Holcomb continued his perfect run at world cups this season, winning the two and four-man bobsled races. He won both races the previous weekend in Calgary.
U.S. luger Chris Mazdzer took home the silver medal in men’s singles luge this past weekend in Whistler, Canada, becoming the first American to win a World Cup medal in seven years. Mazdzer, who secured himself an Olympic team berth, edged out Italy’s Dominik Fischnaller by just .003 seconds. The event was won by German Olympic and world champion Felix Loch.
Women’s luger Erin Hamlin also punched herself a ticket to Sochi with a fifth place finish, becoming the first American female luge athlete to secure an Olympic spot. German Natalie Greisenberger won the event and has kept her unbeaten World Cup luge streak alive. American Kate Hansen also improved her chances of making the Olympic team after coming in sixth while fellow compatriots Julie Clukey and Summer Britcher came in 10th and 15th respectively.
The U.S. will announce its Olympic team selections at the conclusion of the World Cup event in Park City, Utah, this Saturday. The Americans will be looking to bring home their first ever Olympic medal in the sport of luge this February.
Embedded owg_slideshow: The U.S. women's luge team Sochi hopefuls
U.S. Skeleton racer Noelle Pikus-Pace posted a dominating time to finish in first at the World Cup event in Park City, Utah, this past weekend. After a disappointing DQ last week at the season-opening World Cup stop in Calgary, Pikus-Pace broke the track record in Park City on her first run. Teammate Katie Uhlaender finished 14th.
Russian racer Aleksander Tretiakov earned a gold medal in the men’s division. American skeleton racer Matt Antoine earned his first world cup medal since 2012, taking home a bronze in Park City. Teammates Kyle Tress and John Daly finished in 15th and 16th place.
American speed skaters had a successful showing this past weekend at the World Cup in Berlin. Heather Richardson took home the gold in the women's 1000m, as well as a bronze medal in the women’s 500m. Fellow compatriot Brittany Bowe captured the silver medal in the women’s 1000m, while four-time Olympic medalist Shani Davis claimed the bronze medal in the men’s 1000m. Joe Mantia won the men’s 1500m race on Friday and came in 6th in the 1000m and American Tucker Fredricks came in 7th in the men’s 500m. The U.S. has qualified for the maximum allotment of 1000m skaters, four, for the Sochi Games in both men’s and women’s speed skating.
Embedded owg_slideshow: World Cup wonders: A season in review
Nate Holland has collected seven medals (six gold) in snowboard cross at the Winter X Games, but crashes during races at both the 2006 Torino and 2010 Vancouver Games have left him without any Olympic hardware. His attempt to make a third Olympic team is now in jeopardy after breaking his collarbone before a World Cup event in Montafon, Austria on Friday. However, he has undergone successful surgery and team representatives told the International Ski Federation that Holland "hasn't buried his hopes of making it to the Olympics yet."
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