Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, Alaska) and Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) captured gold in the team sprint at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships on Feb. 24 in Val di Fiemme, France. The duo finished with a time of 20:24.44, nearly eight seconds clear of second place. The victory marks the first world championship gold for the U.S.
PUT THE HAMMER DOWN
Sarah Hammer (Temecula, Calif.) claimed her first world title in the omnium at the 2013 UCI Track World Championships on Feb. 24 in Minsk, Belarus. Hammer totaled 20 points in the two-day event and bested Olympic champion Laura Trott of Great Britain, who finished second. Earlier in the week, Hammer also took gold in the individual pursuit, marking her fifth world title in the event. In the finals, her time of 3:32.050 was more than eight seconds faster than Amy Cure of Australia.
Wes Malott (Pflugerville, Texas) finished second at the U.S. Bowling Congress Masters on Feb. 24 in North Brunswick, N.J. Malott advanced to the title match with a 202-185 victory over England's Stuart Williams, but fell to Austria's Jason Belmonte in the final, 258-245.
Five U.S. fighters advanced to championship night at the 2013 Independence Cup on Feb. 22 in Santiago, Dominican Republic. Flyweight Shawn Simpson (Chicago, Ill.) and light welterweight Erickson Lubin (Kissimmee, Fla.) each won gold, while light flyweight Leroy Davila (New Brunswick, N.J.), lightweight Kenneth Sims, Jr. (Chicago, Ill.) and welterweight Rashidi Ellis (Lynn, Mass.) captured silver.
The U.S. finished fourth at the Wheelchair Curling World Championships, which ran from Feb. 16-23 in Sochi, Russia. The U.S. won its first seven matches, but dropped its last two to finish with a 7-2 record.
Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) grabbed her first world cup gold medal of the season at the Gent Saber World Cup on Feb. 24 in Belgium. Zagunis won her semifinal bout over three-time senior world team champion Dina Galiakbarova of Russia, 15-14, before edging two-time Olympic medalist Ola Kharlan of the Ukraine, 15-13, in the championship.
The U.S. earned a pair of podium appearances at the 2013 Challenge Cup on Feb. 24 in The Hague, Netherlands. Alex Johnson (Minnetonka, Minn.) finished second with a score of 228.54 en route to his first senior international medal, while Tarah Kayne (Fort Myers, Fla.) and Daniel O'Shea (Gurnee, Ill.) earned the silver medal in their international pairs debut.
The U.S. capped the world cup season with a fifth-place finish in the team relay event on Feb. 24 in Sochi, Russia. Erin Hamlin (Remsen, N.Y.), Chris Mazdzer (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) and the doubles team of Jake Hyrns (Muskegon, Mich.) and Andrew Sherk (Fort Washington, Pa.) posted a time of 2.52.963. Individually, Hamlin finished seventh to pace the U.S. women, while Mazdzer's 12th-place finish led the men.
Ted Ligety (Park City, Utah) raced to third place at the world cup giant slalom event on Feb. 24 in Garmisch, Germany. He has now earned podium finishes in all six world cup giant slalom races this season with four victories. In the men's downhill, Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, Calif.) was the top U.S. finisher in 19th place.
Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, Calif.) powered through the soft snow in Meribel, France, to finish fourth with a total time of 2:01.00 in the world cup super combined event on Feb. 24. A day earlier in the women's downhill, less than a second separated the top-17 racers. Mancuso was the top U.S. racer, finishing 13th.
The U.S. took three of the top-four spots in both the men's and women's dual mogul events at the world cup on Feb. 24 in Inawashiro, Japan. Bradley Wilson (Butte, Mont.) paced the men's side, earning his first career world cup victory in the event, while Joe Discoe (Telluride, Colo.) and Sho Kashima (South Lake Tahoe, Calif.) finished third and fourth. On the women's side, Mikaela Mathews (Frisco, Calif.) finished second followed by Hannah Kearney (Norwich, Vt.) and Eliza Outtrim (Hamden, Conn.) in third and fourth place.
Emily Cook (Belmont, Mass.) captured her third career world cup victory in the women's aerials event on Feb. 23 in Bukovel, Ukraine. Cook capped the evening with a double full in the final to earn an 83.89 in the world cup season finale. On the men's side, Dylan Ferguson (Amesbury, Mass.) finished second after throwing down a final run of 105.31.
Sarah Hendrickson (Park City, Utah) soared 106.0 meters on her first jump then 103.0 on her second en route to the gold medal at the Nordic World Ski Championships on Feb. 22 in Val di Fiemme, France. Two days later, veteran Billy Demong (Vermontville, N.Y.), Taylor and Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, Colo.), and Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) captured the bronze medal in the Nordic combined team event. The third-place finish marks the first world championship medal in a team event for the U.S.
The U.S. had a pair of fifth-place finishes at the IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships on Feb. 24 in La Molina, Spain. Heath Calhoun (Bristol, Tenn.) posted a two-run total of 2:07.07 in the men's slalom sitting final, while Stephani Victor (Park City, Utah) totaled 2:49.45 in the women's slalom sitting final.
The U.S. men earned a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica at the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship on Feb. 22 in Puebla, Mexico. The lone goal came off the foot of Jose Villarreal (Inglewood, Calif.) in the 63rd minute.
Emery Lehman (Chicago, Ill.) captured two medals at the World Junior Long Track Speedskating Championships, which ran from Feb. 22-24 in Collalbo, Italy. The 16-year-old won gold in the men's 5,000-meter race with a time of 6:38.76, adding to the bronze medal he collected in the 3,000 a day earlier.
Three U.S. Olympians set two American records last week at the 2013 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships, held Feb. 19-23 in College Station, Texas. Olympic gold medalists Shannon Vreeland (Overland Park, Kan.) and Allison Schmitt (Canton, Mich.) joined University of Georgia teammates Megan Romano (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and Jordan Mattern (Aurora, Colo.) to set the American, U.S. Open, NCAA and SEC record in the women's 800-yard freestyle relay, turning in a time of 6:52.40. Meanwhile, Olympian Breeja Larson (Mesa, Ariz.), representing Texas A&M University, set the American, U.S. Open, NCAA and SEC record in the women's 100 breaststroke, touching the wall in 57.43.
Cheyenne Lewis (San Francisco, Calif.) captured gold in the women's senior bantam division at the U.S. Open Taekwondo Championships, which ran from Feb. 20-24 in Las Vegas.
TRACK & FIELD
Already the American record-holder in the outdoor 10,000-meter, Galen Rupp (Portland, Ore.) set the American indoor record in the 3,000 with his winning time of 7:30.18 at the IAAF XL Galan Indoor Meeting on Feb. 22 in Stockholm. The time was also a meet record and the fastest time in the world this year.
The U.S. won the team gold medal, while three U.S. athletes captured individual titles at the Junior Water Ski World Championships, which ran from Feb. 20-24 in Mulwala, Australia. The U.S. tallied 7,495.82 points, led by gold-medal performances from Samantha Dumala (Wellington, Fla.), Erika Lang (Gilbert, Ariz.) and Taylor Garcia (Winter Garden, Fla.).
The U.S. won its final two matches to finish third at the Freestyle World Cup with a 4-1 record on Feb. 22 in Tehran, Iran. The U.S. was paced by Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs (Sicklerville, N.J.), who boasted a 5-0 record.