Team USA earned four medals at the 2011 Grand Prix Final and Junior Grand Prix Final. Meryl Davis (West Bloomfield, Mich.) and Charlie White (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) became the first U.S. team to win three straight gold medals at a grand prix final with their top performance in ice dancing, while Jason Brown (Highland Park, Ill.) and Joshua Farris (Colorado Springs, Colo.) earned gold and bronze in junior men's, and Britney Simpson (Golden, Colo.) and Matthew Blackmer (Detroit, Mich.) took the junior pairs bronze medal.
MAKING THE TEAM
On the final medal race day of the ISAF Sailing World Championships, Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) won a bronze medal in the Laser Radial, while Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) finished ninth overall in the Finn. Following the first half of the event, the Raileys, Stuart McNay (Boston, Mass.), Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.) and Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.) were nominated to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team.
BOBSLED & SKELETON
U.S. bobsled and skeleton athletes competed in world cup events La Plagne, France, earning a total of three medals. Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) teamed with Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.) to continue his climb in two-man bobsled standings by earning silver on Dec. 10. The same day, Annie O'Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) and Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) finished 2-3 in women's skeleton. Meanwhile, the pair of Elana Meyers (Douglasville, Ga.) and Katie Eberling (Palos Hills, Ill.) finished eighth in women's bobsled and Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wis.) finished fourth in men's skeleton on Dec. 9, and the USA-1 BMW crew of Holcomb, Langton, Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas) and Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.) finished 0.06 seconds from the medals in sixth on Dec. 11.
The first stop of the Intercontinental Cup tour was from Dec. 8-9 on the 1994 Olympic track in Lillehammer, Norway, where three of the five athletes on the American skeleton squad made their Intercontinental Cup debuts. Tom Santagato (Astoria, N.Y.) was the top U.S. athlete with 13th-place finishes both days.
The U.S. entered four competitors in the Altenberg, Germany, skeleton races to wrap up the first half of Europa Cup racing. Lauri Bausch (Fredonia, Wis.) led the U.S. contingent with an eighth-place finish on Dec. 10.
Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) continued his strong opening campaign to the 2011-12 IBU World Cup season with solid performances at the E.ON IBU World Cup 2 in Hochfilzen, Austria. First, he raced to a 14th place-finish in the 10km sprint on Dec. 9, then led the U.S. with a 17th -place finish in the 12.5km pursuit on the following day. Finally, on Dec. 11, he joined Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, Alaska), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) and Leif Nordgren (Marine, Maine) in the team relay to place ninth.
Brady and Cristin Clark (Seattle, Wash.) defended their title with a 9-6 win at the 2012 USA Curling Mixed Doubles National Championship final on Dec. 12 at the Broomstones Curling Club in Wayland, Mass. The Clarks defeated the host club's team of Jennifer Leichter and her 21-year-old son Alex Leichter (both of Wayland, Mass.) to win their third overall mixed doubles title. They will now represent the U.S. at the 2012 World Mixed Doubles Championship from April 23-29 in Erzurum, Turkey.
Two-time Olympian Seth Kelsey (Colorado Springs, Colo.) followed up his Pan American Games title by opening the domestic season with the men's epee title on Dec. 11 at the North American Cup fencing event in Kansas City, Mo. Meanwhile, foil fencers Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) and Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.) each concluded a year filled with domestic and international podium finishes with gold medals in the women's and men's division I events on Dec. 10.
Kayla Harrison (Wakefield, Mass.) claimed the silver medal at 78 kg on Dec. 11 in the Tokyo Grand Slam judo event.
Erin Hamlin (Ramsen, N.Y.) finished sixth in singles with a time of 1:23.909 at the latest world cup event at the site of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Whistler, British Columbia, on Dec. 10. In addition, she joined with Trent Matheson (Bountiful, Utah), Christian Niccum (Woodinville, Wash.) and Jayson Terdiman (Berwick. Pa.) in the team relay for another sixth-place finish.
Promising U.S. junior luger Tucker West (Ridgefield, Conn.) slid to his third consecutive podium result on Dec. 11 in the youth A division of the boys' junior world cup event in Igls, Austria. The 16-year-old picked up a silver medal after two consecutive bronze medals at previous races in Park City, Utah, and Calgary, Alberta. His performance qualified a second spot for the U.S. at next month's Youth Olympic Games, while also earning him a nomination to represent Team USA at the event.
SKI & SNOWBOARD
Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) came from nearly two minutes behind to win the FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup by 16.9 seconds at Soldier Hollow, Utah. Fletcher had the fastest time in cross country on the way to his first international win.
Olympic champion Hannah Kearney (Norwich, Vt.) opened defense of her FIS Freestyle World Cup title with a win in Ruka, Finland. Kearney was one of three U.S. podium finishers. Eliza Outtrim (Hamden, Conn.) and Sho Kashima (South Lake Tahoe, Calif.) had second-place finishes. For Kashima, it was his first career World Cup podium finish.
The United States is off to a dominant start at the International Softball Federation Junior Women's Championships in Cape Town, South Africa, with wins in the first four games.
Team USA earned four medals at the Korean Air ISU Short Track World Cup 4 in Shanghai, China. Reigning world champion Katherine Reutter (Champaign, Ill.) won silver on Dec. 10 in the 1500m with a time of 2:22.764, while Jessica Smith (Melvindale, Mich.) skated a strong 500m, winning bronze with a time of 45.338. The U.S. women returned to the podium twice the following day, with Reutter winning gold in the 1000m with a time of 1:32.721. Then, the relay squad of Lana Gehring (Glenview, Ill.), Alyson Dudek (Hales Corners, Wis.), Reutter and Smith won silver with a time of 4:13.000.
The U.S. national synchronized swimming team finished sixth overall at the 6th FINA World Trophy, which concluded on Dec. 11. Spain won the overall gold at the three-day competition in Beijing with 386.665 points, while host China (384.102) took silver and Canada won bronze (377.614). Russia (375.112) was fourth and Italy (371.466) fifth.
Team USA won five medals at the Olympic Test Event at the ExCel Center in London on Dec. 11. The competition included many top Olympic hopefuls from around the world and Brent Metcalf (Iowa City, Iowa) led the way for the U.S., winning the gold medal at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. in men's freestyle. Claiming silver medals were Angel Escobedo (Columbus, Ohio) at 55 kg/121 lbs. and Andrew Howe (Cedar Lake, Ind.) at 74 kg/163 lbs. Meanwhile, Reece Humphrey (Columbus, Ohio) and Dustin Kilgore (Berea, Ohio) captured bronze medals at 60 kg/132 lbs. and 96 kg/211.5 lbs.
UPCOMING CALENDAR - DECEMBER
3-18 - Sailing Perth, Australia ISAF Sailing World Championships
8-16 - Softball Cape Town, South Africa ISF IX Junior Women's World Championship
10-14 - Figure Skating East Lansing, Mich. 2012 U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships
11-18 - Field Hockey Chula Vista, Calif. USA Women's National Team vs. Great Britain
12-18 - Biathlon Annecy-Le grand Bornand, France IBU World Cup 3
12-18 - Luge Calgary, Canada Luge World Cup #3
13-18 - Speedskating Milwaukee, Wis. Long Track U.S. Championships
13-17 - Table Tennis Virginia Beach, Va. 2011 U.S. National Championships
12-17 - Ski & Snowboard Telluride, Colo. USANA Snowboardcross Cup
15-22 - Diving Knoxville, Tenn. USA Diving Winter National Championships
16-17 - Swimming Atlanta, Ga. Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool
16-18 - Bobsled & Skeleton Winterberg, Germany Bobsled World Cup #3
17-18 - Modern Pentathlon Colorado Springs, Colo. Domestic Qualifier
17-18 - Bobsled & Skeleton Sigulda, Latvia Intercontinental Cup #2 (skeleton only)
17-23 - Tennis Coral Gables, Fla. 2011 Jr. Orange Bowl International Tennis Champ.
18-22 - Ski & Snowboard Copper, Colo. U.S. Revolution Tour #1