One of the most intriguing battles for U.S. Olympic spots will come in bobsled, where six women’s push athletes are on the national team battling for three likely spots in Sochi.
The Olympics are more than two months away. The biggest competitions between now and then are World Cup events. Therefore, the push athletes chosen for World Cup events are an early (but certainly not definite) indicator of the Olympic Team pecking order.
Here are U.S. Bobsled’s women’s pairings for the first World Cup in Calgary:
Elana Meyers-Aja Evans
Jamie Greubel-Katie Eberling
Jazmine Fenlator-Lolo Jones
These are the same pairings as the final World Cup event last season at the Sochi Olympic track.
Meyers is a 2010 Olympic bronze medalist and the reigning world silver medalist. Greubel and Fenlator each won silver medals on the World Cup circuit last year.
Evans and Eberling were the top two U.S. push athletes last season. Jones, in her first year bobsledding in 2012-13, was not used in the two-woman competition at the World Championships in February. 2010 Olympian Emily Azevedo was instead, but Jones then replaced Azevedo for that final World Cup.
Azevedo, three-time Olympic sprinter Lauryn Williams and Kristi Koplin are the other three push athletes on the national team. They are not set to compete this week but could replace Evans, Eberling or Jones as early as next week’s World Cup stop in Park City, Utah.
The U.S. Olympic Team is expected to be named in mid-to-late January.
Universal Sports will provide coverage from Calgary.
Another retired Olympic sprinter would likely consider bobsledding if asked
GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — Bjorn Krupp’s journey started at the Duluth IceForum in suburban Atlanta.
Brooks Macek piled up the points in Bantam hockey in Winnipeg, Manitoba, for the Notre Dame Hounds.
Men’s Gold Medal Final: OAR vs. CZE, Stream LIVE HERE 11:10p.m. EST / 8:10p.m. PST
Now they’re in the Olympic gold-medal game for Germany, having advanced further than the teams from their home countries. The U.S.-born Krupp and Canadian-born Macek have German fathers and now call Germany home with no apologies for beating or scoring against the countries of their birth.
When Macek scored a go-ahead power-play goal in what turned out to be a remarkable upset semifinal win against Canada, he pumped his fist and never felt conflicted about beating a team with the Maple Leafs on its jerseys.
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GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — They forged bonds from Riga to Cologne and in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
It’s all led Germany and the Russians to a David versus Goliath Olympic gold-medal game Sunday. Even though the Russians were favorites all along and expected to win gold in a tournament without NHL stars and Germany was a longshot to even reach the semifinals after not qualifying in Sochi, these two teams are more similar than they are different.
NBCOlympics.com: OAR to face surprising Germany in final
Their familiarity and continuity is the biggest reason they’re facing off in the final.
Germany’s core group has been together through the Olympic qualification tournament and world championships and has played the same system for the past three years under coach Marco Sturm. The Russians’ 25-man roster is made up of 15 players from SKA St. Petersburg and eight from CSKA Moscow, the two best teams in the Kontinental Hockey League.
“That’s a big key to our success,” Germany defenseman Christian Ehrhoff said Saturday. “We were very familiar with each other. … (The Russians also) should be really familiar because almost everybody plays on the same teams in Russia.”
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