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Sam Mikulak headlines American Cup field

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Four-time U.S. all-around champion Sam Mikulak and Olympic all-around silver medalist Oleg Verniaiev of Ukraine lead the field for the American Cup, the biggest annual international gymnastics meet in the U.S.

This year’s American Cup will be March 4 in Newark, N.J.

The women’s field includes U.S. Olympic alternate Ragan Smith, another to-be-determined U.S. gymnast and four Rio Olympians from other countries.

None of the Final Five gymnasts are currently competing at the elite level, but none have announced retirements from gymnastics, either.

Mikulak, 24 and a two-time Olympian, was the last American man to win the American Cup in 2014. He’ll be joined by a second, to-be-determined American in Newark.

The international men’s field includes five Rio Olympians, led by Verniaiev, who finished .099 behind Japan’s Kohei Uchimura in the Olympic all-around and then won the parallel bars title.

Also at the American Cup will be two-time Japanese Olympian Ryohei Kato, who took team gold in Rio and also owns 2013 World all-around silver.

MORE: Kocian, Ross make history with NCAA gymnastics debuts

2017 American Cup competitors – Men
China: Sun Wei
Great Britain:  Sam Oldham
Germany:  Lukas Dauser
Japan:  Ryohei Kato
Netherlands:  Bart Deurloo
Switerzerland:  Eddy Yusof
Ukraine:  Oleg Verniaiev
USA:  Sam Mikulak
USA:  Wildcard, to be determined

2017 American Cup competitors — Women
Canada: Ellie Black
China:  Xie Yufen
France:  Melanie De Jesus dos Santos
Great Britain: Rebecca Tunney
Germany:  Kim Bui
Japan:  Asuka Teramoto
Netherlands:  Eythora Thorsdottir
USA:  Ragan Smith
USA: Wildcard, to be determined

*Correction: An earlier version of this post reported that Sam Mikulak won the 2013 American Cup. He won in 2014. An earlier version also said that Oleg Verniaiev was .99 behind in the Olympic all-around. He was .099 behind.

French skiers to start in Lake Louise after David Poisson’s death

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PARIS (AP) — The French skiing federation says its athletes will compete in Lake Louise at the first World Cup speed events of the Alpine season despite the death of David Poisson earlier this week.

The 35-year-old Poisson died on Monday in a crash while training at the Canadian resort of Nakiska, which staged Alpine skiing races of the 1988 Olympics.

The federation said in a statement Sunday that it has provided psychological support to all members of the French squad who were present in Nakiska when Poisson died, and that “all athletes decided to start the first speed World Cup of the season on Nov. 25-26 in Lake Louise, Canada.”

Poisson, who won the downhill bronze medal at the 2013 world championships, was training for the upcoming World Cup races in North America.

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MORE: Alpine skiing season broadcast schedule

John Shuster, 30 pounds lighter, rallies for 4th Olympic curling berth

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John Shuster is going to a fourth Olympics. It’s one more chance to prove Urban Dictionary wrong.

Shuster, 30 pounds lighter since his second straight Olympic failure in Sochi, led a team that beat Heath McCormick‘s squad at the U.S. Olympic Trials finals in Omaha on Saturday night.

Shuster, Tyler GeorgeMatt Hamilton and John Landsteiner lost the opener of a best-of-three finals series on Thursday.

They came back to deliver in a pair of must-win games, 9-4 on Friday night and 7-5 on Saturday, after spending each day at the Omaha Zoo.

The new-look Shuster — leaner and, at least this weekend, clutch — would astonish those who know him by scenes at the last two Olympics.

After taking bronze in 2006 as a role player, he led the last two U.S. Olympic teams to 2-7 records in 2010 and in 2014. Last place in Vancouver, where he was benched after an 0-4 start. Next to last place in Sochi.

After the last Olympics, the former bartender from Chisholm, Minn., was left off USA Curling’s 10-man high performance team.

He took it as motivation to get in shape.

Shuster, a father of a 2- and a 4-year-old who once said, “If I don’t have pizza three or four times a week, I’m not happy,” now totes meal replacement shakes. He’s starting to enjoy Olympic lifting.

Shuster, George, Hamilton and Landsteiner, all absent from that USA Curling high performance list, formed their own team. They became Team USA in their first season together and represented the Stars and Stripes at worlds in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Their results — fourth, third and fifth —  marked the best string of U.S. men’s or women’s finishes at that level in a decade.

Shuster is set to join Debbie McCormick as the only Americans to curl at four Olympics. The sport was part of the first Winter Games in 1924, then absent as a medal sport until 1998.

“I don’t think it’s about the four Olympics for me,” Shuster said on NBCSN. “What this is about — and what I’m about — is getting my teammates to now. I have two new Olympians on this team, and I know how special that is.”

George, the 35-year-old vice skip for Shuster, led a team that lost to Shuster in the 2010 Olympic Trials final. The liquor store manager from Duluth, Minn., is going to his first Winter Games.

As is the 28-year-old Hamilton, whose younger sister qualified for PyeongChang earlier Saturday.

Landsteiner, a 27-year-old corrosion engineer, played with Shuster since 2011, including in Sochi.

Alternate Joe Polo can go 12 years between Olympic appearances after taking bronze on that Torino team.

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MORE: U.S. Winter Olympic Trials broadcast schedule