Mikaela Shiffrin

U.S. Olympic Alpine Skiing Team announced

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The 20-skier U.S. Olympic Alpine Team includes medal contenders in most events. It’ll need podium performances from those stars if it’s to measure up to the record-breaking 2010 Olympic Team.

Olympic champions Bode MillerTed Ligety and Julia Mancuso and world champion Mikaela Shiffrin lead the roster nominated for the Sochi Olympics on Sunday.

Miller, 36, is the first Alpine skier to make five Olympic Teams and would be the oldest U.S. Alpine skier to compete in the Olympics next month. He owns the most career Olympic medals for a U.S. Alpine skier — five.

Miller is coming off an age-defying weekend in Kitzbuehel, Austria, where he finished third and second in two races and would have taken third in another if not for straddling a gate.

Ligety is going to his third Olympics. The 2006 combined gold medalist is favored in the giant slalom and super combined. In 2013, he became the first man in 45 years to win three gold medals at a single World Championships.

Mancuso, a three-time Olympic medalist, is going to her fourth Olympics. The 2006 giant slalom champion posted her first three top-10s of the season in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, last week but has yet to reach a podium this season.

Shiffrin, 18, is the reigning world and World Cup champion in the slalom. She again leads this season’s slalom standings, making her the gold-medal favorite in the event, and is rising in giant slalom.

The 2010 U.S. Olympic Alpine Team won eight medals, twice as many as any other nation and the most in U.S. history. This year’s team will be missing the injured Lindsey Vonn, who won two of those medals in 2010.

Here’s the U.S. Olympic Alpine Skiing Team:

Men
David Chodounsky
Erik Fisher — named to 2010 Olympic Team but didn’t compete (broken hand)
Travis Ganong
Jared Goldberg
Tim Jitloff
Nolan Kasper — 2010 Olympian
Ted Ligety — 2006, 2010 Olympian
Bode Miller — 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 Olympian
Steven Nyman — 2010 Olympian
Marco Sullivan — 2002 Olympian, 2010 Olympian
Andrew Weibrecht — 2010 Olympian

Women
Stacey Cook — 2006, 2010 Olympian
Julia Ford
Julia Mancuso — 2002, 2006, 2010 Olympian
Megan McJames — 2010 Olympian
Laurenne Ross
Mikaela Shiffrin
Leanne Smith — 2010 Olympian
Resi Stiegler — 2006 Olympian
Jacqueline Wiles

Here’s the Olympic Alpine skiing schedule:

Feb. 9 — Men’s Downhill (2 a.m. ET) — Miller is a medal threat. Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal is favored.
Feb. 10 — Women’s Super Combined (2 a.m., 6 a.m.) — Mancuso is a medal threat.
Feb. 12 — Women’s Downhill (2 a.m.) — Mancuso and Cook are the top Americans. Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch is favored.
Feb. 14 — Men’s Super Combined (2 a.m., 6:30 a.m.) — Ligety is favored. Miller is a medal threat.
Feb. 15 — Women’s Super-G (2 a.m.) — Mancuso is a medal threat. Swiss Lara Gut is favored.
Feb. 16 — Men’s Super-G (2 a.m.) — Miller and Ligety are medal threats. Svindal is favored.
Feb. 18 — Women’s Giant Slalom (2 a.m., 5:30 a.m.) — Shiffrin is a medal threat.
Feb. 19 — Men’s Giant Slalom (2 a.m., 5:30 a.m.) — Ligety is favored. Miller is a medal threat.
Feb. 21 — Women’s Slalom (7:45 a.m., 10 a.m.) — Shiffrin is favored.
Feb. 22 — Men’s Slalom (7:45 a.m., 11:15 a.m.) — Austria’s Marcel Hirscher is favored.

Complete U.S. Olympic Team pending USOC approval

US women’s hockey agreement could have far-reaching impact

AP
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Cammi Granato‘s biggest victory in hockey came 12 years after she retired.

When USA Hockey and the women’s national team agreed to a contract Tuesday night that ended a wage dispute, Granato couldn’t put her happiness into words.

The Hockey Hall of Famer and her teammates staged a similar fight in 2000 without success, and she hopes the current team’s progress paves the way for the future of women’s hockey and even other sports.

“It’s bigger than any victory that we’ve had in USA Hockey,” said Granato, who won the gold medal in 1998 with the U.S. at the first Olympics with women’s hockey. “I just think it’s such a positive, positive day for women’s hockey, women’s sports and women in general.”

Granato and lawmakers, lawyers and experts see the U.S. national team’s agreement as a precedent-setter for other hockey teams around the world and other men’s and women’s athletes in this country.

As the U.S. women’s soccer team continues to work out a labor contract, the women’s hockey team showed how it could leverage solidarity and timing into a multiyear agreement that satisfied all parties involved and pushed gender quality in sports forward.

“I’m hoping it will create a wave across the country of more equity in pay,” said Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar, one of 20 senators to write to USA Hockey executive director Dave Ogrean encouraging him to end the dispute.

“We know that it’s not going to be exactly the same. We know the viewership numbers for some of these sports, but at least you have to try. When you try and you give them more funding, it’s kind of a chicken-and-egg problem.

“Once they’re able to actually support themselves and it’s more lucrative, you get more women going into the sport, then you have better sports and you have more people watching them.”

In that way, women’s hockey has taken the first step toward following women’s soccer, almost 20 years after the World Cup-winning team led by Mia Hamm, Brianna Scurry, Julie Foudy and Brandi Chastain inspired Granato and her teammates to challenge USA Hockey.

Members of the U.S. women’s hockey team will now make $3,000-$4,000 a month with the ability to earn around $71,000 annually and up to $129,000 in Olympic years when combined with contributions from the U.S. Olympic Committee.

That’s still less than what women’s soccer players bring in, but now players won’t have to work second or third jobs – and half did – or retire to start a family because the new contract guarantees that protection along with insurance and other improvements.

Lawyer John Langel of Ballard Spahr, who represented soccer players from 1998-2014 and the hockey players in this negotiation, said hockey “shouldn’t necessarily take the same long journey” depending on how many strides are made in professional leagues, programming, marketing and sponsorships.

One immediate impact is lengthening careers, which has already shown to be the case in soccer and could transfer over to other sports.

Granato retired in 2005, but still felt as if she had “more to give” and finds it incredible that players in the current generation won’t have to hang up their skates as early as she did.

With a deal in place, the U.S. opens its world championship gold-medal defense Friday against Canada. Players had threatened to boycott the tournament over the wage dispute, which Pepper Hamilton labor and employment lawyer Matt DelDuca considers the most interesting aspect of the case.

“It shows other groups a path for trying to negotiate and use their leverage to negotiate a deal that’s favorable to them or that they’re satisfied with,” DelDuca said.

“It does really require solidarity though. You really need to have everybody together to make it work, and in this case they really seemed to have had that. In all those ways it is a benchmark for other groups to use.”

USA Hockey said all along its priority was to get a deal done, but did reach out to replacement players. Very few accepted the invite as star forward Hilary Knight and other top players espoused the solidarity of the entire player pool.

“There wasn’t any poaching of other players,” said North Dakota senator Heidi Heitkamp, another senator who wrote to Ogrean.

“They were all united in this common goal, and I think that competitive, athletic spirit really showed up in terms of fighting for your rights. I thought they deserved the support of people here who say that they support equality in pay and equality in opportunity.”

Susan Kahn, a University of Buffalo professor of women’s history, said the Senate’s involvement made it clear this wasn’t just a financial dispute, but “a political issue around equal treatment and fighting gender bias in amateur sport.”

Within hockey, the agreement allows for future expansion in the professional and amateur ranks.

“It sets the stage for a major growth in the game,” Granato said. “I think there’s a potential here to take this team and have it be followed similar to other women’s sports and where they’re at right now.”

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MORE: Stanley Cup-winning goalie joins U.S. women’s coaching staff

Russian pairs skater slices leg in worlds practice, needs 10 stitches (video)

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Russian pairs skater Yevgenia Tarasova needed 10 stitches after her partner’s skate sliced her leg in practice Wednesday.

Hours later, Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov skated to third place in the short program at the world championships in Helsinki.

“We were thinking about withdrawing because after this incident we left the ice immediately, there was a long break off the ice, we didn’t know how I would feel in skates,” Tarasova said afterward. “But when I was asked, ‘Will you skate?’ I said, ‘I will!’ And I wasn’t thinking about the pain during our performance.”

Morozov called her “a hero.”

In Thursday’s free skate, Tarasova and Morozov will be largely tasked with keeping Russia from going three straight years without world championships pairs medalists, which would be the longest drought for Soviet and Russian pairs since their dominance began in the 1960s.

Tarasova and Morozov trail Chinese leaders Sui Wenjing and Han Cong by 1.86 points and second-place Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany by .47.

Another Russian pair is in fifth place going into the free skate (1 p.m. ET, NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

Full worlds short program results are here.

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MORE: U.S. pairs skater back from life-threatening condition