Jamie Greubel, Lolo Jones

U.S. Bobsled announces pairings for Lake Placid World Cup

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The U.S. women’s bobsled team, fresh off unprecedented success at last week’s World Cup stop, made more changes to its lineup going into this weekend’s races in Lake Placid, N.Y.

The U.S. went 1-2-2 in Park City, Utah, on Saturday.

It marked the first time the U.S. swept a women’s bobsled podium since 2001, the season before its Olympic debut, and the first time it had ever gone 1-2-2.

The lineup last Saturday was:

Elana Meyers-Aja Evans
Jamie Greubel-Lolo Jones
Jazmine Fenlator-Lauryn Williams

U.S. Bobsled made changes to each pairing as it tinkers with lineups to see who best meshes in advance of selecting Olympic push athletes in mid-January. A push athlete’s inclusion or absence does not necessarily reflect on her likelihood of making the U.S. Olympic Team.

Here are the pairings for this Saturday’s event in Lake Placid:

Elana Meyers-Lauryn Williams
Jamie Greubel-Aja Evans
Jazmine Fenlator-Emily Azevedo

Meyers, the overall World Cup leader, is not paired with push athlete Evans for the first time since last season’s World Championships.

Meyers and Evans had won two of three races so far this season and finished second in the other. It would be surprising not to see them paired together in Sochi.

Williams’ pairing with Meyers is a testament to her rise in her rookie season after coming over from track and field. Williams is a three-time Olympian and the 2004 Olympic 100m silver medalist.

She won a silver medal in her World Cup debut last week and appears to be entering the mix with Azevedo and Lolo Jones in the battle for the third Olympic team spot behind Evans and Katie Eberling.

Eberling and Jones are sitting out Saturday’s race. For both, it’s the second absence in four races this season. Evans is the only push athlete who has been in all four World Cup races.

Universal Sports will have coverage of this weekend’s bobsled and skeleton races. Here’s the race schedule for Lake Placid (all times Eastern):

Friday
Two-man bobsled heat 1 — 8:30 a.m.
Two-man bobsled heat 2 — 10 a.m.
Women’s skeleton heat 1 — 12 p.m.
Men’s skeleton heat 1 — 1 p.m.
Women’s skeleton heat 2 — 2:15 p.m.
Men’s skeleton heat 2 — 3:15 p.m.

Saturday
Two-man bobsled heat 1 — 8:30 a.m.
Two-man bobsled heat 2 — 10 a.m.
Women’s bobsled heat 1 — 1 p.m.
Women’s bobsled heat 2 — 2:30 p.m.

Sunday
Women’s skeleton heat 1 — 9 a.m.
Women’s skeleton heat 2 — 10:30 a.m.
Four-man bobsled heat 1 — 1 p.m.
Four-man bobsled heat 2 — 2:30 p.m.

Lindsey Vonn to skip St. Moritz, ski Val d’Isere downhill

Despite blade trouble, Nathan Chen leads men at Skate America

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Nathan Chen leads the men’s field at Skate America after tallying 104.12 points, a new personal best, on Friday night.

During the six-minute warm-up before the final group of skaters, Chen could be seen conferring with his coach, Rafael Arutunian, about his blade. He explained on the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA broadcast that during the warm-up, Arutunian manipulated the blade to fix the edge. They plan on playing with it again so it’s better for Saturday’s free skate.

“There’s a lot of points that I could have gotten last year and I’m making sure I take care of them this year,” Chen said of his personal best, according to U.S. Figure Skating. “The score is still not that close to some of the top men currently, but that’s something that I know is attainable and it’s something I’m going to work toward.”

Arutunian’s other pupil in the men’s field, Adam Rippon, is in second place behind Chen with a personal best of his own – 89.04 points. Sergei Voronov of Russia sits in third place after the short with 87.51 points.

The third American in the field, Ross Miner, popped a triple Axel and didn’t receive any credit for the element. He tallied 71.59 points and sits in eighth place heading into the free.

The free skate will determine which skaters earn a berth to the Grand Prix Final in Japan in two weeks. Chen, despite being a favorite for the Skate America title, can finish anywhere among the top four for a berth to the Final. Voronov can also finish in the top four to make it to the Final. Rippon needs to finish anywhere on the podium.

Plus, with reigning Olympic gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu and his training partner Javier Fernandez (a two-time world champion himself) out of the Grand Prix Final, the podium there is wide open. Patrick Chan, a three-time world champion and the Sochi silver medalist, won’t be at the Grand Prix Final either.

MORE: Skate America TV Schedule

Earlier Friday, in the pairs field, Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford scored 75.37 to lead the field after the short program.

China’s Yu Xiaoyu and Zhang Hao followed for second with 73.67 points. Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot, who represent Germany, earned 72.55 points for third place after the short program. All three teams have a chance to qualify for the exclusive Grand Prix Final should the podium stand is after Saturday’s free skate. Even with a shakeup among the top three, it is likely that they will all qualify.

The top American team was married couple Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim, who scored 64.27 and are fourth after the short. Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier tallied 63.04 (sixth) and Deanna Stellato and Nathan Bartholomay are eighth with 57.18 points.

MORE: Bruno Massot earns German citizenship

Massot gets German citizenship, path cleared for Pyeongchang

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LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) — Bruno Massot learned Thursday he has passed his German citizenship test, clearing the way for him and partner Aliona Savchenko to compete at the Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Massot was born in Caen, France, and qualified for the 2014 Sochi Games on the French team, but he was held out of the Olympics because partner Daria Popova did not gain French citizenship in time.

He has since partnered with Savchenko, a Sochi participant, and been working to become a German citizen. This was his third time taking the German citizenship test, and the final time he would be able to qualify for citizenship in time for the Olympics.

“It’s really different,” Massot told The Associated Press, “because I don’t have this now anymore in my head, this question like, `I will be blocked again, or not?”‘

Massot’s naturalization ceremony will take place next Wednesday. Massot and Savchenko are in Lake Placid competing at Skate America this week.

MORE: Skate America preview, TV schedule