It was Thanksgiving weekend in the USA, which explains why most MMA circuits were quiet.
But internationally, it’s prime skiing, skating and sliding time. The top stories of the weekend:
1. Lindsey Vonn had a decent weekend considering her recent hospitalization. But the U.S. Ski Team had a surprise elsewhere: At age 31, Marco Sullivan hadn’t finished in the top 10 in a World Cup race in nearly three years. Saturday in Alberta, he picked up his fourth World Cup podium. Alan Abrahamson has the story on how Sullivan kept his career alive in the offseason.
2. The U.S. women’s cross-country skiers had been a force in the sprints for a few years. But this weekend, they had a double breakthrough in Sweden. First, Kikkan Randall was on the podium in a non-sprint race for the first time, and Holly Brooks was a career-best fifth in a 10K freestyle. The results might have been even better if not for the rough course wiping out other U.S. skiers who were poised for top-10s. Then on Sunday, Randall, Brooks, Jessie Diggins and Liz Stephen combined for third in a mixed relay.
3. Our first Myriad Questions subject, Sarah Hendrickson, was second in the World Cup season opener and her first competition since knee surgery.
4. We’ve already covered figure skating, where the USA will send Ashley Wagner and Meryl Davis/Charlie White to the Grand Prix Finals, which will have a heavy Russian and Japanese presence.
5. And we’ve already covered chess, where we’ll have a new women’s world champion until Hou Yifan takes back the title next year.
Elsewhere, the USA had more good results in men’s bobsled, Julia Clukey returned to luge action with a promising result, cyclocross star Katie Compton shook off jet lag for another win, and other U.S. sliders had a rough run.
Sport-by-sport results (if no parentheses, the athlete is from the USA):
Alpine skiing: Men’s World Cup, Lake Louise, Alberta
Downhill: 1. Aksel Lund Svindal (Norway). 3. Marco Sullivan, 25. Ryan Cochran-Siegle, 39. Travis Ganong, 40. Steven Nyman, DNF. Andrew Weibrecht.
Super-G: 1. Svindal. 4. Ted Ligety, 19. Weibrecht, 20. Cochran-Siegle, 29. Thomas Biesemeyer, 39. Sullivan, 47. Ganong, 60. Jared Goldberg
Women’s World Cup, Aspen, Colo.
Giant slalom: 1. Tina Maze (Slovenia). 9. Mikaela Shiffrin, 15. Julia Mancuso, 21. Lindsey Vonn, DNQ. Abby Ghent, Megan McJames, DNF. Julia Ford.
Slalom: 1. Kathrin Zettel (Austria). 7. Shiffrin. DNQ. Mancuso, Resi Steigler, DNS. Ford, DNF. Paula Moltzan, Hailey Duke.
Wrestling: Arvo Haavisto Cup, Ilmajoki, Finland (Greco-Roman)
145.5 pounds: 1. Mykola Savcnenko (Ukraine). 2. Thrasher Porter, 10. Ben Sanchez
163: 3. Andy Bisek, 9. Geordan Speiller
264.5: 1. Robbie Smith
Henri Deglane Challenge, Nice, France
Women’s 158.5 freestyle: 1. Adeline Gray
Men’s 121 freestyle: 1. Omak Sjurjun (Russia). 3. Mark McKnight
Men’s 185 Greco-Roman: 1. Sergei Severin (Ukraine). 3. Shaun Scott
Cross-country skiing: World Cup, Gaellivare, Sweden
Women’s 10k free: 1. Marit Bjoergen (Norway). 3. Kikkan Randall, 5. Holly Brooks, 21. Liz Stephen, 32. Jessie Diggins, 53. Ida Sargent
Men’s 10k free: 1. Martin Johnsrud Sundby (Norway). 33. Kris Freeman, 38. Noah Hoffman, 59. Tad Elliott, 63. Simi Hamilton, 76. Sylvan Ellefson
Women’s 4×5 mixed relay: 1. Norway I, 2. Sweden I, 3. USA (Brooks, Randall, Stephen, Diggins)
Men’s 4×7.5 mixed relay: 1. Norway I, 2. Sweden I, 3. Russia I. 15. USA (Andy Newell, Hoffman, Elliott, Hamilton).
Ski jumping: World Cup, Lillehammer, Norway
Women: 1. Sara Takanashi (Japan), 2. Sarah Hendrickson. 8. Lindsey Van, 13. Jessica Jerome, 24. Abby Hughes, 40. Alissa Johnson, 44. Nina Lussi
Men, first competition: 1. Severin Freund (Germany). 48. Peter Frenette (USA).
Men, second competition: 1. Gregor Schlierenzauer (Austria). No U.S. competitors.
Mixed team: 1. Norway, 2. Japan, 3. Italy. 5. USA (Van, Anders Johnson, Hendrickson, Frenette)
Nordic combined: World Cup, Lillehammer, Norway
10k: 1. Magnus Moan (Norway). 24. Todd Lodwick, 30. Taylor Fletcher, 38. Bryan Fletcher, 43. Bill Demong
10k penalty race: 1. Moan. 22. B. Fletcher.
Luge: World Cup, Igls, Austria
Men: 1. Felix Loch (Germany). 16. Chris Mazdzer, 25. Taylor Morris
Women: 1. Anke Wischnewski (Germany). 6. Julia Clukey, 11. Erin Hamlin, 23. Kate Hansen
Doubles: 1. Tobias Wendt/Tobias Arlt (Germany). 10. Matthew Mortensen/Preston Griffall
Relay: 1. Germany. 5. USA (Clukey, Mazdzer, Mortensen/Griffall)
Bobsled: World Cup, Whistler, B.C.
2-man: 1. Steven Holcomb/Steven Langton. 9. Nick Cunningham/Chris Fogt. 10. Cory Butner/Johnny Quinn
4-man: 1. Alexander Zubkov (Russia). 4. Holcomb, 11. Cunningham, DQ. Butner
Women: 1. Kallie Humphries/Chelsea Valois (Canada). 9. Jazmine Fenlator/Katie Eberling, 10. Elana Meyers/Lolo Jones, 11. Jamie Greubel/Emily Azevedo
Skeleton: World Cup, Whistler, B.C.
Men: 1. Frank Rommel (Germany). 15. Matt Antoine, 19. John Daly, 24. Kyle Tress
Women: 1. Marion Thees (Germany). 6. Noelle Pikus-Pace, 7. Katie Uhlaender
Biathlon: World Cup season opener, Oestersund, Sweden
Mixed relay: 1. Russia, 2. Norway, 3. Czech Republic. 17. USA (Sara Studebaker, Susan Dunklee, Jay Hakkinen, Lowell Bailey)
Speedskating: World Cup, Kolomna, Russia (only a couple of events)
Men’s 1,500: 1. Verweij Koen (Netherlands). 3. Brian Hansen, 10. Shani Davis
Women’s 1,500: 1. Marrit Leenstra (Netherlands). 13th, Division B. Maria Lamb.
Women’s 3,000: 1. Claudia Pechstein (Germany). 4th, Division B. Jilleanne Rookard.
Men’s 5,000: 1. Sven Kramer (Netherlands). 8th, Division B. Emery Lehman.
Women’s mass start: 1. Bo-Reum Kim (South Korea). 19th. Maria Lamb.
Men’s mass start: 1. Jorrit Bergsma (Netherlands). DQ. Patrick Meek.
(Headline source: The sixth quote of this Simpsons episode.)