Winter GOATS 🐐, Parapan Performances=Paris 2024 Qualifications, and Summer Olympic Sports in December
Record # of FIS events that the United States will hold in 2023-2024 World Cup season. This started with the huge pro American crowd in Killington, Vermont post Thanksgiving weekend. If you add in other World Cup events from skating and sliding sports plus annual freeski/snowboard events like X Games and Dew Tour then Team USA Winter Olympic athletes will have a major event on home snow or ice nearly every weekend from December to March.
Complete Full Schedule at the bottom of this update.
THE OLYMPIC COUNTDOWN
240 Days Until Paris 2024 Opening Ceremonies
800 Days Until Milano Cortina 2026 Opening Ceremonies
GOLDEN AGE FOR US WINTER SPORTS
🐐GOATS SHINE IN WORLD CUP ACTION
Another weekend; Another US athlete continues to cement their spot as 🐐American in that winter sport.
This past Sunday… Jessie Diggins and Mikaela Shiffrin both had some epic finishes to build their 🐐 status
🐐 Jessie Diggins added to her legacy finishing 2nd in a 20km freestyle cross country race to earn career individual World Cup podium #48 (record for any American cross country skier). The drama of the last few laps of a 20K included Diggins losing her pole being handed a new pole that bloodied her face and skiing with one glove to finish in 2nd place. Teammate Rosie Brennan took 3rd for Brennan’s 2nd podium of the opening weekend as the US Cross Country women started off the first 3 World Cup races with 3 podiums and 6 top 10 finishes in the first 3 races.
In front of a raucous home crowd at Killington, VT- one that made Shiffrin’s last run deafening - 🐐Mikaela Shiffrin won World Cup #90 (record for any American alpine skier)
Shiffrin won her 6th slalom race at Killington (only 7 slalom races have been contested on the course) and World Cup win #55 in slalom means that Shiffrin has won 52% of the Slalom World Cup races in her entire career. As NBC’s Nick Zaccardi pointed out this 🐐Shiffrin Stat “Starting with Shiffrin’s first World Cup win at age 17 in December 2012, Mikaela Shiffrin has raced 101 slaloms among World Cup/World Championships/Olympics: Shiffrin in those 101 slaloms: 60 wins (83 podiums), Rest of the world: 41 wins”
Shiffrin’s two podium finishes in Killington moved her World Cup podium total to #141 (record for any American alpine skier) and also saw US ski teammates with some good results as Paula Moltzan landed two Top 10 finishes and AJ Hurt finished with Hurt’s second career Top 20 finish at a World Cup (#19 in GS)
Shiffrin, Moltzan, Hurt, and the rest of the US Women’s Alpine Skiing Tech team head to Tremblant, Canada for a pair of Giant Slaloms this weekend (Shiffrin’s next scheduled slalom race is December 21). Jessie Diggins, Rosie Brennan, and US Cross Country team stays in the Nordic countries (Sweden and Norway) in December before the Tour de Ski starting December 30th in Italy.
This weekend in France Snowboard Cross FIS World Cup season kicks off and the 🐐Lindsey Jacobellis begins Jacobellis’ 20th year on FIS World Cup this weekend in Snowboard Cross. The Men’s Alpine Speed Season will also start their season on home soil for the Americans in Beaver Creek, Colorado with Beijing 🥈Ryan Cochran-Siegle and Worlds 🥇River Radamus leading a strong group of Americans in downhill and Super-G. Former Jr. Worlds champ Erik Arvidsson posted that he will miss the year after ACL injury in training becoming by my count the 5th US skier out for the season (13% of the Stifel US Alpine Team expected to race on World Cup circuit in the 2023-2024 season are now out for the year with injuries)
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TOP UNITED STATES PARALYMPICS TEAMS QUALIFY FOR PARIS VIA PARAPAN GAMES
PARIS 2024 QUALIFICATION UPDATE
Team USA won 166 medals (55🏅58🥈53🥉 ) at the 2023 Parapan Games in Santiago, Chile. Team USA qualified quota spots in Para Archery and Para Shooting plus 4 US Athletes directly qualified for Paris 2024 by winning🏅 - 3 in table tennis- Ian Seidenfeld, Tahl Leibovitz, and Jenson Van Emburgh and 1 in wheelchair tennis - Dana Mathewson and finally 4 US Teams to Paris 2024 including 3 returning medalists from Tokyo. Team USA medaled in every team sport they participated in Santiago.
Men’s and Women’s Wheelchair Basketball both won Gold at the 2023 Parapan Games to clinch their spot in Paris. Men’s Wheelchair Basketball will be going for a three-peat in Paris after winning Gold at the last two Paralympics and the 2022 World Championships (held in June 2023). Women’s Wheelchair Basketball team won Bronze in Tokyo and at 2022 Worlds so will try match that or upgrade that medal in Paris.
Wheelchair Rugby won Gold over Canada to qualify for Paris 2024. Team USA’s Wheelchair Rugby has won medals at 7 Paralympics (every time WC Rugby has been on the program) and Team USA bounced back at Parapan Games from an uncharacteristic 6th place finish at the Wheelchair Rugby World Cup in Paris this October.
In Goalball, Team USA won two silvers at the Parapan Games but quite different fate for the Men’s and Women’s USA Goalball Team in terms of going to Paris.
The US Men’s Goalball Team qualified for Paris 2024 as Brazil who won Parapan gold had previously qualified for the Paralympics at World Championships.
The US Women’s Goalball Team lost by one goal to Canada and will not qualify for the Paris Paralympics.
Heartbreaking for Tokyo Silver Medalists since they lost 3 games by a goal (Worlds to eventual World Champ Turkiye, IBSA World Games to Japan, Parapan Games to Canada) in each of the Olympic qualification tournaments that ended up eliminating the US Women’s Goalball team of a repeat medal in Paris.
Other Paralympic team team sports qualified for Paris 2024 includes Para Dressage which won bronze at 2022 Worlds and US Women’s Sitting Volleyball (who won gold in Rio and Tokyo). Both teams had qualified earlier as their sports were not featured at the Parapan Games. The US Men’s Sitting Volleyball team will have another chance to qualify for Paris 2024 at 2024 World ParaVolley Final Paralympic Qualification event in April.
SUMMER WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN DECEMBER
It is December but still a good majority of Summer Olympics sports will have major international events in December as Team USA prepares for Paris in just 7 months
Here are some events to watch in chronological order.. excluding some pro leagues in
November 29 to December 2:- Toyota US Open; Greensboro, NC
What to Watch: It is a super stacked field of US 🥇 swimmers Ledecky, Douglass, Manuel, Dressel, Finke and international swimmers Marchand, McIntosh, Liendo, and Hafnaoui. Good preview here by NBC Olympic Talk
November 29 to December 6: Winter Nationals; Knoxville, TN
What to Watch: This meet will serve for Team USA as a qualifier for the US Diving Team headed to Doha in 2024 (note USA Diving will qualify and send athletes in 4 non Olympic events- 1M springboard and MX synchro 3M and 10M).
USA Diving still need to qualify 3 individual spots in 10M platform diving (1 female, 2 male) and 2 synchro teams (Women’s 3M springboard, Men’s 10M platform) in February at the 2024 Worlds in Doha, Qatar.
Dec 2 to 3: World Taekwondo Grand Prix Series Final; Manchester, England
Dec 16 to Dec 17: World Taekwondo Grand Slam Champions Series; Wuxi, China
Who to Watch: Worlds🥈 Medalist CJ Nickolas who has medaled at two of the three previous stops on the Grand Prix Series. Nickolas will likely becomes the first member of USA Taekwondo qualify for Paris via rankings later in December.
Dec 2 to 3: Tokyo Grand Slam; Tokyo, Japan
Who to Watch: 20 year old Jack Yonezuka aka “TheJudoman” on Instagram looks to build off his first Top 5 finish at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam in October and look for Team USA’s first medal at a Grand Slam event in 2023 (Angelica Delgado had the last medal for USA Judo at Grand Prix event at the start of the Olympic qualification period in June 2022). Strong performance of late have launched Jack Yonezuka into qualification position for Paris 2024 in the latest Olympic rankings. USA Judo is still not in qualifying position for a mixed team in Judo for Paris 2024 and will likely need very strong performance in the four heavyweight weight classes by both male and female judokas to qualify a team.
Dec 2 to 9: USA Boxing Trials; Lafayette, LA
What to Watch: Women’s 54KG
Who to Watch: Yoseline Perez vs Jewry Rodriguez
All Top seeds are listed here but as noted by by @TeamUSATracker update in October 12 of the 13 spots for Team USA Boxing have already been locked in based off 2023 international performances of USA Boxing Elite High Performance Team Members. The open competition for Paris 2024 qualification is at Women’s 54KG where Perez (Team USA’s Panam games representative) could fight Rodriguez (two time medalist in 2023 at major international tournaments) for a chance to represent Team USA in Paris. After trials, USA Boxing has two final chance Olympic qualification tournaments to qualify 8 more weight classes for Paris 2024. Note winners of the 12 weight classes where a high performance athlete has already qualified to be Team USA’s representative pending qualification will become the alternate for Paris
Dec. 2: USWNT vs China; Ft. Lauderdale, FL (3 pm ET)
Dec. 5: USWNT vs China; Frisco, Texas (8pm ET)
Who to Watch: Two women will likely be making their debut for USWNT in these friendlies -NWSL Rookie of the Year Jenna Nighswonger and former Notre Dame and current Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Korbin Albert
What to Watch: Forward Depth- Lynn Williams, Sophia Smith, and Trinity Rodman all are on the roster but some young players are in USWNT camp again as they try to make their case for Paris.
In: 19 year old Jaedyn Shaw, 19 year old Alyssa Thompson, and 22 year old Mia Fishel
Out: Megan Rapinoe (retirement) Mallory Swanson (still recovering from knee injury that forced Swanson to miss World Cup) and Alex Morgan (strategic absence to evaluate other talent)
December 2 to 3; SVNS Series; Dubai, UAE
December 9 to 10: SVNS Series; Capetown, South Africa
Who to Watch: USA Rugby starts a new season on the newly revamped and rebranded SVNS Series which now includes less stops (8), less teams (12), and less vowels (New Branding #SVNS). With no Olympic qualification on the line during the season - USA Rugby’s goal is to stay healthy, avoid relegation, and get ready for Paris Olympics.
The US Men’s Rugby SVNS Team features the return of Olympians Madison Hughes and Ben Pinkelman to the squad along with some exciting young players Lucas Lacamp, Aaron Cummings, and Pita Vi looking to make their first Olympic team for the first two stops. Olympic veterans and likely Paris 2024 members Stephen Tomasin, Kevon Williams, Perry Baker, and Joe Schroeder all will stay stateside for some rest during the Dubai and Capetown stops.
The US Women’s Rugby SVNS Team features the return from injury of Jaz Gray and Illona Maher plus Alev Kelter will start the year with the team (Kelter skipped some of last season recovering post Rugby XV World Cup). Tokyo Olympian Kristi Kirshe will sit out Dubai and Capetown recovering from an injury suffered when Team USA Rugby Sevens women won Gold at the PanAm Games in October.
December 6 to 9: BPT Finals; Doha, Qatar
Who to Watch: 3 American teams (Nuss/Kloth, Cheng/Hughes, and Benesh/Partain) and teams that likely head to Paris for Team USA will be competing in the Beach Pro Tour Finals. World Champions Kelly Cheng and Sarah Hughes won the event last year* (it was held in January 2023).
December 7 to December 10: FIE Fencing Coupe de Monde or Grand Prix: Various Locations
All six USA Fencing teams are in action for qualification at World Cups or Grand Prix (no team event) as Paris 2024 qualification heats up (Fencing qualification determined by team and individual FIE Rankings)
Epee: Coupe du Monde - Vancouver, Canada
Saber: Grand Prix- Orleans, France
Men’s Foil: Coupe du Monde- Tokoname, Japan
Women’s Foil: Coupe du Monde- Novi Sad, Serbia
Who to Watch: Jonas Hansen (2023 NCAA National Champ in Men’s Epee) finished 13th at the first men’s epee Coupe de Monde of the 2023-2024 season. Team USA is unlikely to qualify a Men’s Epee team so Hansen and 4 other US men’s fencers in the Top 100 in men’s epee will look to improve their individual rankings for Paris 2024 qualification where they could qualify as the top fencer from the Americas.
December 8-9: FIBA 3x3 World Tour Finals; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Who to Watch: Team Miami and NBA Star turned 3x3 Star Jimmer Fredette. Team USA qualified both a men and women’s team for Paris 2024 in 3x3 Basketball in large part to Jimmer Fredette’s emergence as one of the most valuable players and biggest scoring threats per game on the 3x3 World Tour for Team Miami. Team Miami has 2 wins and 1 runner-up finish in only six stops on the World Tour and features Fredette, Kareem Maddox, Dylan Travis, and Canyon Barry all of whom represented Team USA at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup in 2023 where they won a silver medal to Serbia. Team Miami will look to become the 1st American men’s team ever to win this event.
Team USA will also be sending a men’s team and women’s team to AmeriCup (Dec 1 to Dec 3 in San Juan) where Team USA should be a medal favorite. The women’s 3x3 team will feature WNBA player Katie Lou Samuelson who had to be replaced on the Gold Medal winning team from Tokyo because of a positive COVID test.
December 10 to 17: 2023 World Skateboarding Street Championships; Tokyo, Japan
Who to Watch: Six time World Champ Nyjah Huston (who missed the 2022 Worlds due to injury) and Tokyo bronze medalist/2021 World Champ Jagger Eaton (looking to qualify for Paris in both street and park) lead the US men’s team. 15 year old Paige Heyn made the final eight at 2022 Worlds and finished 3rd at WST Laussane event and PanAm Games brings a lot of momentum for the US Women’s street skateboarding team.
Dec 13 to Dec 17: BWF World Tour Finals; Hangzhou, China
Who to Watch: Beiwen Zhang qualified for the BWF World Tour Finals for the first time since 2018. After winning Gold at the PanAm Games in October - Zhang won the HYLO Open in Germany and finished 3rd at the Kumamoto Masters Japan 2023 to lock down a spot in BWF World Tour Finals. A strong year for Zhang including two tournament wins (Hylo Open and Australian Open) has Zhang in a top ten position for Paris 2024 Qualification.
Dec 15 to Dec 17: 2023 Senior Nationals; Fort Worth, Texas
Will be a qualifying event for the final US Greco-Roman team selected to compete in the 2024 Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier in Acapulco, Mexico, February 28-March 1. PanAm Games medalists Ildar Hafizov, Kamal Bey, Cohlton Schultz will all get byes into the final round. It will also be a qualifying event for Olympic Trials for Men’s Freestyle, Women’s Freestyle, and Greco-Roman wrestling
Dec 29 to Jan 7, 2024: United Cup; Perth and Sydney, Australia
What to Watch: Team USA is defending champ and will bring back Jessica Pegula and Taylor Fritz. A format change to best of 3 (two singles matches and a doubles match) instead of best of 5 (four singles matches and a doubles match) plus a tough draw including host country Australia and Great Britain in the same group might make it difficult to repeat for Team USA.
TODAY’S NUMBER (cont.)
Here is the full schedule for the US fans wanting to go out and support the US athletes in person starting with this weekend’s Alpine Skiing Men’s Super G/Downhill in Beaver Creek, Colorado. As mentioned above excluding the holiday weekends in December and January… there will be a World Cup or major event on US snow or ice from December to March.
Alpine Skiing (Men’s Super G/Downhill): Dec. 1-3, 2023: FIS World Cup Xfinity Birds of Prey; Beaver Creek, Colorado
Luge (Double/Singles/Sprint): Dec. 8-9, 2023: World Cup Series; Mt Van Hoevenberg; Lake Placid, New York
Freeski and Snowboard (Halfpipe/Big Air): Dec. 13-16, 2023: Toyota U.S. Grand Prix/Visa Big Air presented by Toyota; Copper Mountain, Colorado
Freestyle Skiing (Moguls/Dual Moguls): Jan. 26-27, 2024: FIS World Cup; Waterville Valley, New Hampshire
Speed Skating (Sprint/Long Distances/Team Pursuit/MX Gender Relay): ISU Speed Skating World Cup; Jan 26-28, 2024: Utah Olympic Oval; Salt Lake City, Utah
Freeski and Snowboard (Slopestyle/Big Air, Halfpipe): Jan. 26-Jan. 28, Winter X Games; Aspen, Colorado
US Curling Nationals (Men and Women’s): Jan 29- Feb 4, 2024: The Rink at American Dream; East Rutherford, New Jersey
Freeski and Snowboard (Slopestyle and Halfpipe) Jan. 31- Feb. 3, 2024: Toyota U.S. Grand Prix; Mammoth Mountain, California
Freestyle Skiing (Aerials/Moguls/Dual Moguls) Feb. 1-3: FIS World Cup; Deer Valley, Utah
Ski Jumping (Large Hill/ Super Team Large Hill) Feb. 9-11: FIS Ski Jumping World Cup; Lake Placid, New York
Cross Country Skiing (Sprint/Distances): Feb. 17-19, 2024: FIS World Cup Loppet Cup presented by Stifel; Minneapolis, Minnesota
Alpine Skiing (Men’s Slalom/Giant Slalom): Feb. 24-25, 2024: Stifel Palisades Tahoe Cup, Palisades Tahoe, California
Mixed Doubles Curling National Championships (Mixed Doubles): Feb 27-Mar. 3, 2024; Traverse City, Michigan
Alpine Skiing (Men’s Slalom/Giant Slalom): Mar. 2-3, 2024: Stifel Aspen Winternational presented by United, Aspen, Colorado
NCAA Skiing Championships (Alpine Skiing/Cross Country Skiing): Mar. 6-9, 2024; Mt. Werner and Howelsen Hill , Steamboat Springs, CO
Freeski and Snowboard (Halfpipe/Slopestyle): Mar. 8-10 2023: Dew Tour, Copper Mountain, Colorado
Bobsled/Skeleton: Mar. 21-23, 2024: BMW IBSF World Cup; Mt Van Hoevenberg, Lake Placid, New York
Ice Hockey: 2024 IIHF Women’s World Championship.: Apr 3-14, 2024, Mohawk Valley Garden (Adirondack Bank Center and Utica University Nexus Center), Utica, New York