- Team USA
Team USA's week that was: Dec. 16-22
The American Olympic hopefuls continued their quest to qualify for the 2014 Olympic Team this past weekend. Check out the weekend's top stories, which included another setback for Lindsey Vonn, Lindsey Jacobellis doing something she hadn't accomplished in nearly two years, and a women's hockey brawl.
The women’s Alpine Skiing World Cup circuit stopped in Val d’Isere, France over the weekend and was headlined not by a result, but by a skier not finishing a race. Defending Olympic downhill champion Lindsey Vonn suffered yet another setback in her return from knee surgery on Saturday when her surgically repaired right knee “completely gave out” during the downhill race. Vonn skied out of the race, but would later say that she didn’t hurt herself more than she already had been and would take one or two weeks off with her sights still set on Sochi.
American Mikaela Shiffrin picked up her third giant slalom top-10 this season, finishing in 8th on Sunday in Val d’Isere. The 18-year-old is the world’s best slalom skier but is trying to become a contender in the giant slalom for Sochi. Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather continued her hot streak this season by winning the event.
American Ted Ligety was kept off the top of the podium at the men’s World Cup series stop in Italy over the weekend, finishing in third in the giant slalom. Ligety trails race winner Marcel Hirscher by 60 points in the series standings at the halfway point of the season.
Bode Miller continued to make progress in his comeback season, posting his best super-G result this season on Friday. The 36-year-old American , returning from knee surgery, finished in eighth.
The Sprint U.S. Grand Prix, the second of five U.S. Olympic selection events for snowboarding, took place this weekend in Copper Mountain.
The Americans were out in full force at the event, sweeping both halfpipe events. Kelly Clark won the women’s halfpipe on Saturday and clinched her fourth Olympic berth. World champion Arielle Gold, finished as the runner-up behind Clark and remains second in the race to make the U.S. Olympic Team. 2006 Olympic silver medalist Gretchen Bleiler rounded out the podium sweep, finishing in third.
Gold’s older brother, rookie rider Taylor Gold, led a sweep with Greg Bretz and Ben Ferguson in the men’s halfpipe. The Steamboat Springs native captured his first World Cup victory and is in the race to make the Olympic team.
WATCH: Taylor Gold takes U.S. Grand Prix title
Embedded video_content_type: Taylor Gold wins Copper Mountain snowboard pipe
Shaun White moved one step closer to qualifying for the Olympics in slopestyle on Sunday at Copper. The two-time reigning Olympic halfpipe champion scored 90.75 in his first run and fell after performing an opening rail trick in his second run. The first run score held up for third place behind Norwegian winner Staale Sandbech. Last week, White suffered an ankle injury in the halfpipe at the first of five Olympic selection events in Breckenridge, Colo. He skipped last week’s slopestyle final and this week’s halfpipe. All spots on the men’s Olympic team are still up for grabs.
A World Cup snowboard cross event also took place this weekend in Lake Louise, Alberta. 2006 Olympic silver medalist, Lindsey Jacobellis, made her first World Cup podium in nearly two years and met Olympic selection criteria on Saturday despite competing with a broken right thumb. The win helped boost her chances of making her third U.S. Olympic Team.
In the men’s race, two-time Olympian Nate Holland took seventh two weeks after breaking his collarbone. Two-time defending Olympic champion Seth Wescott is recovering from ACL surgery and has yet to race this season.
The U.S. Olympic hopefuls for the new Olympic freestyle skiing events of halfpipe and slopestyle were in action this weekend at the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix in Copper Mountain, Colorado. The event served as the second of five Olympic qualification events.
American freestyle skier Nick Goepper punched his ticket to Sochi after his second place finish in Copper Mountain on Saturday. Norway’s Andreas Haartveit won the event while Australian Russ Henshaw came in third. Goepper won last weekend’s event in Breckenridge, skiing without poles due to a broken hand. His two top finishes automatically qualify him for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team in the new slopestyle discipline.
WATCH: Goepper clinches Olympic berth
Embedded video_content_type: Highlights: Nick Goepper at Copper Mountain
On the women’s side, Americans Darian Stevens and Grete Eliassen finished second and third behind Canadian winner Dara Howell. Fifteen-year-old American Maggie Voisin, who placed third in last week’s event, came in fourth place this week while Breckenridge winner Devin Logan failed to reach the finals. The youngster Voisin currently leads the woman’s qualifying rankings.
U.S. freestyle skier Brita Sigourney won the women’s ski halfpipe event finishing one spot ahead of last week’s winner Maddie Bowman. Sigourney improved upon her third place finish last week in Breckenridge and moved up to second in the overall standings. Bowman’s second place finish keeps her a top the Olympic qualifying standings with three events to go.
Aaron Blunck bettered his runner-up Breckenridge finish, winning the Copper Mountain men’s halfpipe event. Last week’s winner David Wise failed to qualify for the final and fell to second place behind Blunck in the overall standings. Fellow compatriot Gus Kenworthy improved in the Olympic qualifying standings after his third place finish.
Outside of Copper Mountain, men’s and women’s aerials were contested at the iconic Olympic Stadium, the Bird’s Nest, in China over the weekend. Competing on her homesoil, Xin Zhang topped the competition and won the women’s event. Two-time U.S. Olympian Emily Cook finished in fifth place overall. Fellow Americans Kiley McKinnon and Ashley Caldwell finished 12th and 18th, respectively. The third aerials Olympic qualifier takes place in Deer Valley, Utah on January 10.
40,000 strong were on hand to watch the men’s aerials event at the Bird’s Nest over the weekend. American Dylan Ferguson came in fifth place in the event which served as the second of five Olympic qualifying events. Canadian Travis Gerrits won the event while China’s Chao Wu and Zongyang Jia followed in second and third place. Ferguson is still looking to make his Olympic debut after having suffered an appendicitis in 2010 before the Vancouver Olympics.
The U.S. Women’s Hockey Team took on their arch rival and defending Olympic champion Canada on Friday night in an exhibition game in Grand Forks, N.D. Playing in front of their home-town crowd, Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux both netted goals in the Americans’ 4-1 victory. The two teams showed their resentment for each other in the final seconds, as several players were involved in an all-out brawl. With tensions high between the two teams, they’ll meet again on December 28th in St. Paul, Minn. on NBCSN.
WATCH: U.S. and Canada brawl
Embedded video_content_type: U.S. and Canadian women throw down
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