John Shuster

U.S. men’s curling team must win 2 games to make Sochi Olympics

Leave a comment

John Shuster‘s really going to have to earn his third trip to the Olympics.

Shuster and the U.S. curling team won two games Friday to stay alive at the Olympic Qualification Event in Fuessen, Germany. That tied the U.S. with the Czech Republic, Germany and South Korea at 5-2 after round-robin play.

But only three of those four teams could advance to the three-team playoffs, where two advance to the Sochi Olympics. Therefore, a tiebreaker came into play — the four teams’ records against each other in round-robin play.

The Czech Republic and Germany had matching 2-1 marks. The U.S. and South Korea were 1-2.

So, the Czechs and Germans advanced to the three-team playoffs. The U.S. and South Korea will play Saturday at 10 a.m. ET with the winner advancing to a game Sunday against the Czech-Germany loser. The winner of that Sunday game will join the Czech-Germany winner at the Sochi Olympics.

Make sense?

The U.S. has qualified a men’s and women’s team at every Olympics since the sport was re-added to the Olympic program in 1998. Its women’s team is already set for Sochi.

Shuster’s rink won its last three round-robin matches at the Bundesleistungszentrum to keep its Olympic hopes alive, finishing with a 10-4 win over Finland on Friday night.

The U.S. is the highest-ranked nation in the field of eight.

“We really put some pressure on early and got a big three in that first end by executing early, which we hadn’t done all week,” Shuster said, according to a press release. “So we got a better start and hung on there for a while and played a couple really good ends later on defense.”

Vuvuzelas, certain ‘printed literature’ banned at Sochi Olympics

Federica Brignone passes Mikaela Shiffrin for World Cup overall lead

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Italian Federica Brignone passed an absent Mikaela Shiffrin for the World Cup overall standings lead by winning a combined in Switzerland on Sunday.

Brignone prevailed by .92 of a second adding times from super-G and slalom runs in Crans-Montana. Full results are here.

Brignone moved 73 points ahead of Shiffrin in the overall through 29 of 40 scheduled races. A race winner receives 100 points on a descending scale through the 30th-place finisher. The season runs through March 22.

Shiffrin, the three-time reigning World Cup overall champion, has not competed since the unexpected death of her father on Feb. 2. She has not announced if or when she will return this season.

Brignone, 29, is having a career season with five wins and 10 podiums across four disciplines.

Brignone’s best previous World Cup overall standings finish was fifth. She earned giant slalom medals at the 2018 Olympics (bronze) and 2011 World Championships (silver).

She could become Italy’s first female World Cup overall champion. The last Italian male winner was Alberto Tomba in 1995.

The women’s Alpine skiing World Cup moves to La Thuile, Italy, for a super-G and a combined next Saturday and Sunday.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Alpine skiing season TV schedule

Jade Carey on brink of becoming first gymnast to qualify for U.S. Olympic team

Leave a comment

The U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials aren’t until late June, but Jade Carey is in position to qualify for the Tokyo Games in March.

Carey, seeking an individual Olympic gymnastics spot outside of the team competition, earned the maximum points in a World Cup series that is one path to Olympic qualification.

Carey has three wins each on floor exercise and vault with two World Cups left in March. Carey will mathematically clinch an Olympic spot if no other gymnasts win three times on one of the apparatuses to force a tiebreaker.

So far, no other gymnast has two wins on floor. One gymnast has two wins on vault. A gymnast’s top three finishes across the eight-stop series count in Olympic qualifying. If Carey finishes atop the floor or vault standings, she goes to the Olympics.

Carey picked up those third wins on floor and vault at the sixth World Cup in Melbourne, Australia, this weekend.

The one downside to qualifying this route: Carey would not be able to compete in the team competition at the Olympics. Those four spots will be determined at and after June’s trials in St. Louis, with Simone Biles likely grabbing one of them.

“I knew I would be giving up being on the team,” Carey said in October of going the World Cup route, “but I think, for me, it made sense to just go for it.”

Carey is a world medalist on vault and floor, but she doesn’t have the all-around credentials of Biles and some other U.S. gymnasts.

Olympic team event roster sizes were cut from five to four for Tokyo, putting a greater onus on all-around prowess given a team must put three gymnasts on each apparatus in the Olympic final.

The U.S. is the deepest country in women’s gymnastics, so the only truly safe pick to make the four-woman Olympic team event roster is Biles.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Olympic vault champion retires