Category Archives: olympics

Curling update: Manitoba showdown, Week 2

Craig Brown and John Shuster each picked up three wins to break even at the triple-elimination Canad Inns Men’s Classic in Manitoba. Brown beat Shuster head-to-head, while Shuster picked up a big win over third-ranked Mike McEwen.

Pete Fenson and the half-his-age team snagged one win. Arizona’s Mike Siggins was shut out.

Brown still slipped one place in my rankings behind Brady Clark (see below). The women’s rankings are unchanged.


Atkins Curling Supplies Classic, Manitoba: Jamie Sinclair and Cassie Potter each posted a 2-2 record in group play, but only Sinclair advanced to the quarterfinals, where she lost in an extra end. Potter, the 2006 Olympic skip, had a 7-4 win over Manitoba’s Joelle Brown, ranked 31st in the Order of Merit. Lysa Johnson also skipped a U.S. team, going 0-4.

Hub International Crown of Curling, Kamloops, B.C.: Short trip for Brady Clark and Cristin Clark from Washington state. Brady racked up five wins, including three in a row to stave off elimination and reach the semifinals. Cristin alternated wins and losses in the women’s event, finishing 2-3.

Rochester’s Brandon Corbett was in action at the Stroud Sleeman Cash Spiel in Ontario, going 2-2 but not advancing to the playoffs.

And Kalamazoo Curling Club hosted a tournament, with Pennsylvania’s Sean Murray defeating Colorado’s Darryl Sobering in the final.

Next week:

Canad Inns Women’s Classic, Manitoba: The three HP teams — Christensen, Sinclair and Roth — face a field that has about half of the world’s top 30 in the women’s edition of last week’s top men’s tournament.

Medicine Hat Charity Classic, Alberta: Jessica Schultz heads northward.

Challenge de Curling de Gatineau, Quebec: Heath McCormick and Alex Leichter test their language skills.

Imperial Slam: Several U.S. juniors will compete in the next stage of the juniors series.

Curling update: McCormick on the move

Most top U.S. curling teams descended on Minnesota over the weekend for the mostly American St. Paul Cash Spiel, giving us a good opportunity to see how the teams stack up face to face.

The answer? Heath McCormick’s new High Performance team is No. 1. McCormick — with HP veteran Chris Plys and recent juniors Corey Dropkin and Thomas Howell — made a great start to the season, taking second in the Oakville Fall Classic for 30.7 Order of Merit points, the top U.S. men’s performance of the season so far.

This week, McCormick rolled rather convincingly through St. Paul, winning all seven games by at least three points.

Second place went to a High Performance team missing its skip — Kroy Nernberger led the team in place of Craig Brown and knocked out John Shuster in the quarterfinals. That’s their second strong showing of the season, and that’s enough to move them past previous No. 1 Shuster in my generally subjective rankings.

Todd Birr, still kicking at age 48, upset Brady Clark in the quarterfinals.

The biggest surprise the other direction: Pete Fenson struggled and didn’t make the quarterfinals. And the lone North Carolina team got more wins (1) than both Arizona teams (0) in the 20-team field (17 U.S., 3 Canadian).

So the rankings show McCormick moving up to No. 1, followed by Brown (Nernberger), Clark, Shuster and Birr. Also moving up: St. Paul quarterfinalists Stephen Dropkin and Bill Stopera, though they’re still behind Fenson (who has to put it together at some point) and Hunter Clawson, who has been concentrating on junior tournaments with no Order of Merit points so far.

Also this weekend, Alex Leichter played in an event in Ottawa in which he was 2-1 in pool play but didn’t make the quarterfinals for reasons not quite clear from the site.

Women: Most American teams were also in St. Paul, where Cory Christensen won for the second straight year. The 21-year-old skip shook off a group-stage loss to Jessica Schultz and beat Jamie Sinclair in the semis and Nina Roth 7-6 in the final. Schultz won a tiebreaker for the other semifinal slot, while her 2006 teammate Cassie Potter was 2-2 in group play. High Performance juniors Madison Bear and AnnMarie Dubberstein won one each.

So Christensen is now No. 1 in the rankings, closely followed by Roth, Sinclair and Schultz.

Week ahead: 

Brown, Fenson, Shuster and Mike Siggins (Arizona) are heading to the Canad Inns Men’s Classic in Manitoba.

Jamie Sinclair and Cassie Potter are also Manitoba-bound for the Atkins Curling Supplies Classic.

Brady Clark and Cristin Clark will travel from their Washington homes to the Hub International Crown of Curling in Kamloops, B.C.

Brandon Corbett is in action at the Stroud Sleeman Cash Spiel in Ontario.

The only webcast I’ve found so far — TESN will be at the Atkins Curling Supplies Classic.

Desk Potato Sports: Live streams for Sept. 28-Oct. 5

The USOC Sports Scene is finally back after an Olympic/Paralympic break. Highlights from the prior week’s action include Brady Ellison’s fourth Archery World Cup Final victory. Consistency.

They don’t have much to offer by way of webcasts this week, though. They’ll have the men’s softball slow-pitch nationals, which is softball but is neither women’s nor fast-pitch and therefore not quite an Olympic sport.

What else is on? Frankly, not much. Silly me, launching this feature in the lull between the Summer Olympics and winter sports. But we did get some good news this week: beINSports has re-launched its apps — that’s particularly good news if you want to watch a ton of La Liga, Ligue 1 and Serie A.

All weekend

Curling: Yes, curling! Just in time for a couple of changes in the U.S. curling power rankings for men and women. The Stockholm Ladies Cup has no U.S. entries, but you can see Russia’s Anna Sidorova, Scotland’s Eve Muirhead, Canada’s Kaitlyn Lawes and a few good European and Asian teams. Check CurlingZone for the latest scheduleYouTube

Badminton: The Victor Korea Open has a few 2016 Olympic medalists and other top-10 players in the mix. Olympic Channel

Friday, Sept. 30

Soccer: Huge ACC men’s showdown between North Carolina and Syracuse. 7 p.m, ACC Digital (ESPN)

Saturday, Oct. 1

Soccer: Miss Newcastle United? Check them out in Championship play against Rotherham. 9:45 a.m., beINSports 4

Rugby: Watch New Zealand officially clinch The Rugby Championship, the Southern Hemisphere showdown for national teams. Again.

  • Australia at South Africa, 11:05 a.m., ESPN3
  • New Zealand at Argentina, 6:10 p.m., ESPN3

Ultimate: USA Ultimate semifinals. Go Truck Stop! All day, ESPN3 and USA Ultimate — event page has schedule (note Central Time)

Handball: In case you can’t get enough Barcelona, check out their handball team against THW Kiel in Champions League men’s play. Barca includes a couple of players from the Olympic silver medalist French national team. 1:30 p.m., beINSports 7

Sunday, Oct. 2

Ultimate: USA Ultimate finals.

  • Women’s championship, 1:30 p.m., ESPN3
  • Men’s championship, 4 p.m., ESPN3
  • Mixed championship, 11 p.m., ESPN3

Monday, Oct. 3

Tennis: WTA China Open, 2:30 a.m., ESPN3 (and other weekdays ahead)

And your sources for complete listings:

Desk Potato Sports: Live streams for Sept. 22-28

Weekly update: U.S. curling power rankings for men and women.

All times ET.

Friday, Sept. 23

Cricket: Middlesex vs. Yorkshire. Fourth and final day. Winner takes the County Championship. If they draw, Somerset wins. Check the BBC Day 3 reportESPN3, 5:30 a.m.

Saturday, Sept. 24

Cyclocross: The World Cup circuit stops in Iowa. Yes, Iowa. NBC Sports Live Extra, 4:30 p.m.

WNBA playoffs: #8 Phoenix at #3 New York. Best-of-one series. ESPN3, 7 p.m.

NASL soccer: Indy Eleven vs. New York Cosmos. That’s fourth vs. first. ESPN3, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 25

Running: Berlin Marathon. Hard-core viewers watching hard-core runners. Enjoy your recovery drinks and give me an update when I wake up to watch EPL soccer. NBC Sports Live Extra, 2:30 a.m. (yes, a.m. — I said hard-core)

Archery: World Cup Final. Americans Brady Ellison and Zach Garrett are in the quarterfinals starting at 5:02 a.m. Olympic Channel, 4 a.m.

Rugby: Clermont at Toulon. Clermont is unbeaten. ESPN3, 10:15 a.m.

Field hockey: #2 Duke at #5 North Carolina. Go Devils. Watch ESPN: ACC, 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 27

Soccer: Tons of Champions League. Fox Soccer 2 Go and ESPN3, 2:30 p.m.


World Cup of Hockey: ESPN3 brings plenty of action from the sort-of national teams: USA, Russia, North America, Europe, Sweden …

And your sources for complete listings:

Desk Potato Sports: Live streams for Sept. 15-21

I can’t find any curling, though I’ve updated the U.S. power rankings for men and women.

It’s not biathlon season yet. I couldn’t find anything on the Beach Volleyball World Tour.

But we press forward. All times ET.

Thursday, Sept. 15

Europa League Soccer: Panathinaikos vs. Ajax, ESPN3. In case the options on FS1 and FS2 aren’t quite enough for you. 2:55 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 17

Cricket: Surrey vs. Warwickshire, ESPN3. This is the final of the Royal London One-Day Cup, which is not to be confused with Twenty20 (shorter) or the traditional county championship (longer). 5: 30 a.m.

Rugby: South Africa vs. New Zealand, ESPN3. The second half of the Rugby Championship double round-robin kicks off. New Zealand has a pretty wide lead in the standings. 3:35 a.m., followed by Argentina vs. Australia, ESPN3, 6:05 a.m.

Triathlon: Women’s World Triathlon Series Grand Final, Olympic Channel. The last race of the season-long world championship series, with dominant American Gwen Jorgensen actually trailing in the standings after skipping a couple of earlier races. 4:30 p.m.

NWSL Soccer: Boston vs. Western New York, YouTube. The visiting Flash just need a point to clinch a playoff spot. 7 p.m.

NASL Soccer: Indy Eleven vs. Miami FC, ESPN3. Two of the more ambitious clubs — one building a solid infrastructure, the other paying a ton of money to sign journeyman players — face off with third place on the line. 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 18

Triathlon: Men’s World Triathlon Series Grand Final, Olympic Channel. Spain’s Mario Mola leads Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee. 4 p.m.


Paralympics: NBCSN will have a few hours a day, and NBC will pick up some action on the final day Sept. 18. Want more? Check and enjoy. Note the twice-daily highlight shows.

World Cup of Hockey: ESPN3 brings plenty of action from the sort-of national teams: USA, Russia, North America, Europe, Sweden …

And your sources for complete listings:

Desk Potato Sports: Live streams for Sept. 8-14

Welcome to a new feature for those of us who aren’t content with what we get on the networks. We want Olympic sports! We want cricket!

And curling. Plenty of curling.

There’s no way to be comprehensive. But I’ll pick a few good events to check out.

I thought about calling it “Wide World of Webcasts,” but I really don’t want copyright lawyers on my tail.

With that, here’s Week 1 …


Paralympics: NBCSN will have a few hours a day, and NBC will pick up some action on the final day Sept. 18.

But we go hard-core here. Want three track and field feeds? About 12 hours of wheelchair basketball a day? Check and enjoy. Note the twice-daily highlight shows.

World Cup of Hockey: ESPN3 brings plenty of action from the sort-of national teams: USA, Russia, North America, Europe, Sweden …

Curling: TESN will attempt to bring coverage of Brady Clark’s team in World Curling Tour action this weekend.

Friday, Sept. 9

College volleyball: Do you get the new ACC programming on WatchESPN? Good time to find out, with a clash of top-12 teams in Wisconsin and North Carolina. 6:30 p.m. ET

Saturday, Sept. 10

Rugby: The competition formerly known as the Tri-Nations (now “The Rugby Championship”) resumes on ESPN3 with first-place New Zealand vs. Argentina and South Africa vs. last-place Australia. 3:35 a.m./6:05 a.m. ET

Marching bands: WatchESPN’s SEC content includes halftime shows from Georgia and Texas A&M. 1 p.m. ET-ish

Saturday, Sept. 10-Sunday, Sept. 11

Table tennis: The Olympic Channel has coverage of the North American Team Championship. Time tba

Tuesday, Sept. 13

WNBA: With less than a week left in the season, ESPN3 has three games to supplement the national ESPN2 broadcast. 7 p.m. ET

And your sources for complete listings:

See anything I’m missing? Let me know.

2016-17 curling preview and power rankings

My vacation is over (great, thanks), just in time for the new curling season.

I’m going to track U.S. curlers on a couple of shared spreadsheets this season. But first, a quick offseason roundup:

Men’s High Performance shuffling: The High Performance program, which brings together some of the nation’s top curlers to train with national coaches, has expanded to five teams per gender (three full, two junior).

The men’s side returns two teams mostly intact. John Shuster took bronze at the World Championships with Tyler George, Matt Hamilton and John Landsteiner. The only change on that team is the addition of alternate Joe Polo. A second skip, Craig Brown, still has Kroy Nernberger and Sean Beighton, but Jason Smith replaces Jared Zezel, and Quinn Evenson has been added as alternate.

The third men’s team is a Frankenstein. Heath McCormick returns to the HP program as skip, with occasional skip Chris Plys as vice. Then add Korey Dropkin, who skipped an HP junior team last year, with fellow graduating junior Tom Howell.

One of the men’s junior teams, skipped by Hunter Clawson, has moved intact from Maryland after making a solid run at the U.S. Championships last year. The other junior team is new and far-flung, with New Yorker Andrew Stopera as skip with a couple of teammates from Washington (not D.C.) and Minnesota.

Women’s retirements and High Performance reassembly: The top U.S. team was NOT a High Performance team. Veteran Erika Brown assembled an all-star team with Allison Pottinger, Nicole Joraanstad and Natalie Nicholson. Brown retired in June; Joraanstad soon followed.

Meanwhile, the HP teams got a heavy-duty changeover, especially with promising skip Cory Christensen and several teammates graduating from the junior ranks.

Jamie Sinclair and Nina Roth are still HP skips, but their teams are almost totally different. Sinclair still has alternate Tara Peterson and adds Alex Carlson, who skipped her own team last season, and former Roth players Vicky Persinger and Monica Walker. The only returning player on the Roth team, Aileen Sormunen, is now Aileen Geving. Roth also gets Tabitha Peterson and Becca Hamilton from Sinclair’s team.

Christensen moves up from juniors with two of her teammates, Sarah and Taylor Anderson. Her new lead is Jenna Haag, who played with Sinclair last year.

Madison Bear, the other member of Christensen’s 2015-16 team, is still a junior, and she’ll skip one of the HP junior teams. AnnMarie Dubberstein skips the other one.

Got it? Good. Now prepare for more confusion …

They’re back: Remember the “Curl Girls” of the 2006 Olympics? Cassie and Jamie Johnson led the popular team of young, enthusiastic players along with Jessica Schultz, Maureen Brunt and alternate Courtney George.

Cassie Johnson is now Cassie Potter, and she hasn’t played much in recent years, though she has been active as an athlete representative within USA Curling. She’s back with a new crew this year.

Schultz never really took time off — she returned to the Olympics with Brown in 2014 and has played in four World Championships. Still only 31, she played mostly mixed doubles last year but returns this year as a skip with Courtney George, who had been plugging away as a skip in her own right, as vice.

Also still around — 2006 medalist Pete Fenson, who picks up former HP player Zezel and two recent juniors, including Alex Fenson.

Who’s playing? There’s still time, but so far on the World Curling Tour team list, I only count three of the seven skips who played in last year’s U.S. Women’s Championships: Sinclair, Roth and Christensen. Brown retired, Emily Anderson has moved to vice with skip Cristin Clark’s Seattle-based team, and I don’t see any listings for Abigayle Lindgren or Joyance Meechai. U.S. senior champion Norma O’Leary also isn’t listed, though she didn’t play many WCT events last year. I’m also not sure of veteran Patti Lank’s status.

The calendar: In addition to the weekly World Curling Tour events, the top curlers will have a gauntlet of national and international championships:

  • Jan. 4-8: Challenge Rounds, where teams try to qualify for nationals. Men will be in Blaine, Minn. Women will be in Waupaca, Wis.
  • Jan. 12-15: Continental Cup, Las Vegas. This is a made-for-TV event that uses a couple of different formats, a bit like the Ryder Cup. Team World has been named, and it’s very, very good.
  • Jan. 27-29: USA vs. Brazil, World Championship qualifier. The USA has been going to the World Championships in most years by default, but this time, Brazil decided to challenge, and it has thrown the calendar into chaos, mostly because several players likely to be involved are also chasing Olympic berths in the new discipline of mixed doubles.
  • Feb. 11-18: U.S. Championships, Everett, Wash.
  • Feb. 16-26: World Junior Championships, PyeongChang, South Korea. This might take a top team out of each gender’s national championships. Juniors did well last year and have been revved up this year.
  • March 1-5: U.S. Mixed Doubles Championships, Blaine, Minn.
  • March 18-26: Women’s World Championships, Beijing. Get ready for 2022!
  • April 1-9: Men’s World Championships, Edmonton.
  • April 22-29: World Mixed Doubles Championships, Lethbridge, Alberta.

Olympic chase (traditional four-player teams): If you enjoy reading official federation selection criteria, go for it. Here’s the short version and why we’re talking about it now …

The Olympic trials will be in Omaha Nov. 12-19, 2017. Each competition (men’s, women’s) will have 3-5 teams. There are three ways a team can automatically qualify:

  • Finish in the top five in the World Championships. (THIS year, so John Shuster’s bronze medal last year doesn’t count.)
  • Be ranked in the top 15 of the Order of Merit (men’s | women’s) at the end of the season. Shuster is currently 10th. Brown was 19th before retiring. In the unlikely event that two teams would qualify this way, only the higher-ranked team qualifies (but the other would surely be a discretionary pick).
  • Be ranked in the top 15 of the Year-to-Date Order of Merit (same links, same one-team limit).

Olympic chase (mixed doubles): Trials will be in late December 2017, site and date tba. We don’t yet know the criteria, and there aren’t many mixed doubles competitions aside from the U.S. and World Championships.


Here’s how this works:

  • “Rank” is subjective. I won’t deviate too far from the Order of Merit rankings, but I’m also taking last year’s U.S. Championships into consideration, and I’m ranking McCormick’s new team as the sum of its parts. (They did very well in their first competition this season, too.)
  • “Base” is the home state as listed at the WCT for some teams. High Performance teams are either “HighPer” or “HPJr.”
  • “Wk3” gives a rounded Order of Merit score for whatever tournament that team played that week. Beneath the ranking, I’ll list tournaments and give some details on the performances. For example, McCormick picked up 30.7 OOM points for reaching the final of the Oakville Fall Classic, while U.S. champion Brady Clark picked up 0.8 after going 1-3.
  • As the season goes on, I may add more teams to the listing. I’m especially curious to see if Alex Leichter returns, and Bill Stopera has entered without former skip McCormick (but not a full team). I did count four more women’s teams and more than 10 additional men’s teams, and I’ll add them if they post at least one solid WCT performance OR qualify for the U.S. Championships.