Big winter weekend for USA

No, I’m not talking about the fact that every tree and power line in the Mid-Atlantic is covered with ice right now. I’m talking about skiing, sliding and skating, where a lot of things went right for U.S. athletes two months and change before Sochi:

– Figure skating: Meryl White and Charlie Davis are hardly a surprise in ice dancing, though they have tough rivals for gold in Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. But the record they set in winning the Grand Prix Final was a grand statement. (NBC)

Ashley Wagner also made it to the podium — perhaps all isn’t lost for the non-dancing U.S. skaters in this Olympic year after all. But she’s not totally happy with her skating, and rival Yuna Kim wasn’t at the Final. (NBC)

– Speedskating: 1-2 for Heather Richardson and Brittany Bowe. Get used to it. (NBC) Shani Davis lost his win streak but took third, and Richardson took another podium place as well. (NBC) And there was a surprise win for Joey Mantia. (NBC)

– Bobsled: Yes, it was on a home track, but this was total domination. Steve Holcomb won his third and fourth straight races. The U.S. women finished 1-3-4 in one race and 1-2-2 in another, with Lolo Jones and Lauryn Williams getting medals. (NBC with video of Day 1; NBC with video of Day 2; USA TODAY)

Skeleton: Noelle Pikus-Pace said “disqualify THIS” and won in Park City. Matt Antoine took third. (NBC with video)

– Luge: Chris Mazdzer won the first World Cup medal for a U.S. man since 2007.  (NBC)

– Alpine skiing: Ted Ligety, as usual, won the giant slalom. Bode Miller’s second place was a little less expected. (NBC with video; USA TODAY)

And Lindsey Vonn got partway back with each race — 40th, 11th, fifth. (NBC with video | USA TODAY)

Not all is well on the Alpine team — after Ligety, Miller, Vonn and slalom specialist Mikaela Shiffrin, the rest of the U.S. skiers haven’t been competitive. But this weekend might make my ongoing medal projections look conservative for the USA.

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Beau Dure

The guy who wrote a bunch of soccer books and now runs a Gen X-themed podcast while substitute teaching and continuing to write freelance stuff.

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