Julia Clukey

Julia Clukey misses U.S. Olympic Luge Team

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The best U.S. women’s luger from the last World Cup season will not go to the Olympics.

Julia Clukey, who ranked sixth in the 2012-13 World Cup standings, was beaten out for the final U.S. Olympic Team spot by 19-year-old U.S. junior champion Summer Britcher on Friday night, USA Luge confirmed.

U.S. Olympic qualification for luge is done via a tier system with three women making the team for Sochi.

Tier one is a top-five result on the World Cup tour this season. Erin Hamlin achieved that last week and booked her third Olympic berth. Kate Hansen also earned that Friday night in Park City, Utah, by finishing fourth.

Tier two is two top-nine results on the World Cup tour this season. Nobody other than Hamlin or Hansen had achieved that going into Park City’s race Friday night. Britcher had one eighth-place finish in Igls, Austria, three weeks ago. Clukey had zero top-nine finishes.

Britcher was in fourth place after the first of two runs Friday. Clukey was in eighth. If the standings held after the second and final run, Britcher would make the Olympic team over Clukey.

They didn’t hold, but Britcher still barely hung on. Britcher finished ninth for her second top-nine finish to achieve tier two status. Clukey finished sixth. If she had finished fifth, she would have earned tier one status and leaped past Britcher for an Olympic spot.

Hansen and Britcher both made their first Olympic teams.

The two U.S. Olympic doubles teams were also determined Friday. Matt Mortensen and Preston Griffall and Christian Niccum and Jayson Terdiman will go to Sochi.

Mortensen and Griffall earned a spot based on World Cup results. Niccum and Terdiman got in by winning a raceoff, The Associated Press confirmed.

Mortensen and Griffall have led U.S. doubles on the World Cup tour the last two seasons, ranking 10th last year and 10th this season going into Park City. They were ninth in Friday’s race.

It will be the first Olympic appearance for Mortensen, 28, and the second for Griffall, 29. Griffall took eighth in 2006 with Dan Joye.

Niccum and Terdiman were the top U.S. doubles team in 2011-12, ranking seventh on the World Cup circuit. They missed nearly all of last season after Niccum tore an Achilles tendon.

Niccum, 35, is going to his third Olympics. He placed 23rd in singles in 2006 and sixth with Joye in doubles in 2010. Terdiman is going to his first Olympics. Terdiman, 24, is an Olympic rookie.

The men’s team will include Chris Mazdzer. The other two U.S. spots will be determined after race results Saturday.

Park City World Cup

Women
1. Natalie Geisenberger (GER) 1:27.628
2. Anke Wischnewski (GER) 1:27.821
3. Alex Gough (CAN) 1:27.889
4. Kate Hansen (USA) 1:27.929
6. Julia Clukey (USA) 1:28.003
8. Erin Hamlin (USA) 1:28.014
9. Summer Britcher (USA) 1:28.023

Doubles
1. Tobias Wendl/Tobias Arlt (GER) 1:27.326
2. Andreas Lingerer/Wolfgang Lingerer (AUT) 1:27.488
3. Toni Eggert/Sascha Benecken (GER) 1:27.547
9. Matt Mortensen/Preston Griffall (USA) 1:28.080
11. Christian Niccum/Jayson Terdiman (USA) 1:28.153

U.S. breakthrough in skeleton World Cup

Virtue and Moir take back gold, Shibutanis claim bronze

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Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won ice dance gold on Monday, making them the most decorated Olympic figure skaters in history. They won two golds in PyeongChang, including the team event, two silvers in Sochi four years ago, plus ice dance gold on home ice in Vancouver.

Virtue and Moir set a short dance record score on Sunday, and set another high score in free dance and overall points to earn back their Olympic crown. Their character-driven, passionate performance to “Moulin Rouge!” even has an endorsement from the film’s director, Baz Luhrmann.

NBCOlympics.com: Olympic Ice-Post Show 

In their Olympic debut, two-time world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France came away with a silver medal. (They actually won the free skate and set a new record score at 123.35 points.) Papadakis and Cizeron fought through a wardrobe malfunction in the short dance to hold onto their silver medal position. It’s the first Olympic ice dance medal for France since 2002. The French duo skated to Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” to showcase their lyrical, flowing and contemporary style.

Brother-sister ice dance team Maia and Alex Shibutani continued the tradition of U.S. ice dance medals at the Games by earning their second bronze in PyeongChang. They contributed both the short and free dances of the team event to help the U.S. contingent to bronze. Their free dance, set to “Paradise” by Coldplay, is the third installment of their Trilogy concept; they say it’s the most personal story they’ve ever displayed on the ice.

Click here to continue reading and to watch figure skating highlights

Cassie Sharpe rules halfpipe gold; USA’s Sigourney gets bronze

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Canadian freeskier Cassie Sharpe dominated the women’s freeski halfpipe competition to win her first Olympic gold medal.

Sharpe’s first run of the final — which included cork 900s in both directions — didn’t even contain her biggest trick, but it still put her atop the leaderboard with a 94.4.

On her second run, Sharpe stepped it up with back-to-back 900s at the top of the halfpipe and a cork 1080 spun to her left on her last hit. Those progressive tricks, combined with Sharpe’s great amplitude, upped her score to a 95.8.

No one was able to match that, and Sharpe became the new Olympic champion.

Sharpe wasn’t the only skier to land a 1080 though. France’s Marie Martinod landed a left 1080 on her second run to help her score a 92.6. That gave Martinod her second straight Olympic silver medal in what will be the final contest of her career.

At 33, Martinod was the oldest skier in the field. She previously retired for five years (from 2006-2011) before reemerging to make a run at the 2014 and 2018 Olympics, but will now head back into retirement.

U.S. skier Brita Sigourney took the bronze medal after scoring a 91.6 on her final run and bumping teammate Annalisa Drew down to fourth place.

Read the full story and watch video at NBCOlympics.com