Shani Davis: Looks like U.S. speed skating going medal-less

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Following another tough afternoon for the U.S. speedskaters in Sochi, Shani Davis noted that the controversy surrounding their new Under Armour Mach 39 suits – which were switched out ahead of today’s men’s 1500m in favor of previously-used Under Armour suits – has had an impact.

“I feel like the damage of the suit was already done,” he said to reporters after the U.S. was shut out of the medals again in today’s event.

“Just going through it mentally and using energy in ways we haven’t used energy before, and worrying about things we didn’t have to worry about in Olympic trials…It took its toll.”

“I spent energy in ways that I wouldn’t have had to have done normally, and I can only do the best I can. The damage was already done.”

Brian Hansen led the Americans with a seventh-place, and Davis finished 11th after winning the silver in this distance at Torino in 2006 and Vancouver four years ago. Joey Mantia was 22nd and Jonathan Kuck was 37th.

MORE: Why U.S. kept going to T.J. Oshie in shootout vs. Russia

Now Davis is wondering if he and his team will come away with any medals at all in Sochi.

“We have no medals, man, we have none,” he said. “And the way things are looking, we might not get any, and it’s sad because we’ve had a lot of potential, a lot of talent, a lot of things going for us and looking good going forward.

“But it’s terrible, terrible, man. Big, big disappointment.”

Davis also expressed disappointment in his own efforts, saying he had to “go back to the drawing board” and figure out where exactly he’s gone wrong.

But while he wouldn’t blame U.S. Speedskating, he did criticize the decision to use the Mach 39 suits before they’d been properly tested.

“I think the best thing would have been to have made sure that these suits were what the people said they were so that we can actually know going into the races, instead of finding out on one of the biggest races of our lives,” he said.

Justin Schoenefeld gets U.S.’ first men’s aerials World Cup win in 4 years

Justin Schoenefeld
U.S. Ski & Snowboard
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Justin Schoenefeld ended a four-year U.S. men’s aerials drought with his first World Cup win Saturday in Belarus.

Schoenfeld, 21, hit a double full-full-full in the super final to beat a field that included world champion Maxim Burov of Russia. Burov was fourth, one spot behind another American, Chris Lillis. Full results are here.

“I’m pretty speechless right now,” Schoenefeld said, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I’m just shocked. It just all came so quick, all of a sudden the two finals were over, and I was on top of the podium. I probably landed two of my training jumps yesterday, but I managed to land all of my comp jumps down to my feet.”

Schoenefeld’s best previous World Cup finish was fourth, in Belarus last season.

Lillis earned the U.S.’ last World Cup men’s aerials victory on Feb. 20, 2016, also in Belarus. The four-year gap between wins marked the longest for the U.S. men since aerials was added as an Olympic medal sport in 1994.

Schoenefeld also became the first American of either gender to win a World Cup aerials event in two years, since Kiley McKinnon on Jan. 6, 2018. That gap was the longest for the U.S. since 2005.

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MORE: Olympic aerials champion retires to coach

Kaillie Humphries wins bobsled world title in first season for U.S.

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Two-time Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries won a bobsled world title in her first season since switching allegiance from Canada to the U.S., ending recent German dominance.

Humphries, with brakewoman Lauren Gibbs, edged German junior world champ Kim Kalicki by .37 of a second combining times from four runs between Friday and Saturday in Altenberg, Germany.

“I love this track. It’s very challenging, one of the hardest in the world,” Humphries said, according to U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton. “It demands a lot of focus, a lot of respect every minute you’re on that track. So to be able to win here, I know the Germans and the spectators, everybody, have worked so hard and this week, no exceptions. I’m proud of all of the girls.”

Canadian Christine de Bruin took bronze for a second straight year. Full results are here.

Humphries, who married a former U.S. bobsledder, was released by Canada in September after filing verbal abuse and harassment claims against a coach, saying she no longer felt safe with the program. As a Canadian, Humphries won 2010 and 2014 Olympic titles, plus 2012 and 2013 World titles.

Humphries joined German Sandra Kiriasis as the only female drivers to win three world titles. She is already the only female driver with multiple Olympic titles.

German Mariama Jamanka, the reigning Olympic champion and defending world champion, finished fourth in Altenberg.

Triple U.S. Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor didn’t compete as she sits out the season due to pregnancy. Meyers Taylor and Gibbs teamed for silver in PyeongChang.

The world championships continue Sunday with the conclusion of the two-man competition. German Francesco Friedrich, eyeing his sixth straight world title, leads after the first two of four runs.

A full TV and live stream schedule is here.

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