Sochi 2014: Winter Olympics sports this week

Rowan Cheshire in action in the World Cup in Calgary

MAJOR EVENTS THIS WEEK

SKELETON: World Cup, St Moritz, Switzerland (6-12 Jan) - Lizzy Yarnold will be targeting a fourth World Cup win of the seaso. It's a double-header for the men with two races.

ALPINE SKIING: Men's World Cup Giant Slalom, Adelboden, Switzerland (Jan 11-12); Women's World Cup Downhill & Super Combined, Altenmarkt, Austria (Jan 11-12) - Ted Ligety and Marcel Hirscher are set to lock their Giant Slalom horns again in Switzerland. Lindsey Vonn is scheduled to compete in Austria although her participation is in doubt as she struggles to shake off her knee problems.

FREESTYLE SKIING: World Cup Moguls & Aerials, Deer Valley, USA (9-11 Jan); World Cup Half-Pipe & Slopestyle, Northstar, USA (10-11 Jan); World Cup Ski Cross, Megeve, France (11 Jan) - Fresh from her historic success in Calgary, Rowan Cheshire is back in action in Deer Valley. James Woods, one of Britain's main medal hopes in Sochi, will be competing in the Slopestyle.

BOBSLEIGH: World Cup, St. Moritz, Switzerland (7-12 Jan) - It's the penultimate World Cup event of the season, which takes place at the home of bobsleigh. John Jackson will be aiming to reignite his Sochi prospects after disappointing last weekend.

LUGE: World Cup,Oberhof, Germany (11-12 Jan) - After dominating this season, Natalie Geisenberger could clinch the World Cup title in her native Germany this weekend.

SNOWBOARDING: World Cup Slalom, Jauerling, Austria (10 Jan) & Bad Gastein, Austria (12 Jan); World Cup Snowboard Cross, Vallnord-Arcalis, Andorra (12 Jan).

BIATHLON: World Cup, Ruhpolding, Germany (6-12 January) - It's the penultimate World Cup event of the season. Britons Marcel Laponder and Kevin Kane will be hoping for good results at their home base.

SPEED SKATING: European Championships, Hamar, Norway (11-12 Jan) - A useful form gauge ahead of the Winter Olympics, although Britain won't have any representatives in Sochi.

CROSS COUNTRY SKIING: World Cup, Nove Mesto, Czech Republic (11-12 Jan)

LAST WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS

There were two World Cup gold medals for British women, while teenage American skier Mikaela Shiffrin began the Olympic year in style in her favoured Slalom.

FREESTYLE SKIING

Teenager Rowan Cheshire became the first British female skier to win halfpipe gold at a World Cup event with victory in Calgary.

The 18-year-old from Stoke became the first British woman to win gold at a World Cup event, since Jilly Curry in aerials in 1992.

Cheshire has now met the Olympic qualifying standard for the Sochi Olympics, as has team-mate Emma Lonsdale, who finished a career-best 10th in Canada.

Murray Buchan and James Machon just missed out on a place in the men's final, finishing 13th and 16th respectively, but have also now met the Olympic qualifying standard.

The British team will be announced on 22 January.

SKELETON

Britain's Lizzy Yarnoldwon her third World Cup race of the season, beating American rival Noelle Pikus-Pace in Winterburg, Germany.

British slider Lizzy Yarnold
Yarnold leads the overall World Cup standings

Yarnold, who has finished on the podium in all five World Cup races this season and leads the overall standings, said "I'm starting to dream ahead now to Sochi 2014."

All three British women finished in the top 10, with 2006 Winter Olympic silver medallist Shelley Rudman ninth and Rose McGrandle 10th on her World Cup debut.

Dominic Parsons was once again the best British male performer, coming 10th, with former world champion Kristan Bromley 13th.

BOBSLEIGH

Britain's John Jackson admitted it was a "disappointing weekend" at the World Cup event in Winterberg, Germany.

Jackson had a bad start in the two-man, meaning he and Bruce Tasker finished last of the 27 starters, and failed to qualify for the second run.

It was also a bad weekend for the USA's Steven Holcomb, who had won all the races in North America, but who once again struggled in Europe.

Germany's Maximilian Arndt won both the four-man races, in which Jackson and his crew finished 15th and 14th.

Germany also won the women's race, through Sandra Kiriasis. Britain's Paula Walker and Rebekah Wilson were 13th.

ALPINE SKIING

American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin won her second Slalom World Cup race of the season at a rainy Bormio in Italy.

Maria Pietilae-Holmner of Sweden and France's Nastasia Noens were the other skiers on the podium as several big names had disappointing runs.

Mikaela Shiffrin
Shiffrin will compete in Slalom and Giant Slalom in Sochi

Austrian Marlies Schild, winner of the last two Slaloms, finished in sixth place while Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany skied out on her second run and Slovenia's Tina Maze finished 24th, over two seconds off the best time.

Lindsey Vonn's Olympics participation remains up in the air after the US women's ski team head coach admitted she might not race again before Sochi.

"It's Lindsey Vonn. She doesn't have to prove anything to anybody. If she's ready to go, we're going to bring her. And if she's not then not," said Alex Hoedlmoser.

Britain's Dave Ryding finished an impressive second in the first of two Europa Cup Slalom races in Chamonix, although he skied out of the other one.

FIGURE SKATING

Yuna Kim served up a reminder to any pretenders to her Olympic crown with a comprehensive victory at the South Korean national championships.

The 23-year-old made her return from a foot injury by winning a lower-tier event in Croatia last month.

CROSS COUNTRY

In the Tour de Ski (an annual event where rounds of the Cross Country World Cup are linked together), Britain's Andrew Musgrave finished an excellent ninth in the 9km Free Final Climb Pursuit in Val di Fiemme.

The result secured 27th overall in the Tour de Ski, an unprecedented result for a British Cross Country skier.

LUGE

World champion Natalie Geisenberger of Germany picked up where she left off before Christmas with her sixth consecutive World Cup victory in Koengissee, Germany.

Natalie Geisenberger
Geisenberger has won all six World Cup races this season

The 25-year old set a track record at the venue to hold off team-mate Tatjana Huefner and remain unbeaten this season.

Olympic champion Felix Loch consolidated his lead in the men's overall standings with his third victory of the season.

There was also victory for Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt in the doubles and a clean sweep for the host nation was wrapped up with a win in the team event.

SKI JUMPING

Irina Avvakumova of Russia ended Sara Takanashi's unbeaten streak this season by winning the women's Ski Jump World Cup round on her home soil in Chaikovsky.

Takanashi had won all four previous World Cup events this season but the Japanese 17-year-old had to settle for third at the Russian resort.

OTHER NEWS

The International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said he was confident that Russian authorities will deliver a "safe and secure" Games in Sochi. His comments came in the wake of the attacks on Volgograd, which lies about 430 miles north-east of Sochi, in which at least 31 people were killed.

Russian authorities have softened their stance on Winter Olympics protest rallies, which will now be allowed in special zones at the Games. It had been announced last year that rallies would be banned in the Games area.

And finally... USA Ice Hockey selectors accidentally told a 67-year-old Canadian man last week that he was in the running to make the Olympic squad.

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