Asia Pacific Championships Ironman

Should Ironmen (and women) become Olympians?

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On Saturday, 84 professional athletes and a couple thousand age groupers will push their bodies to the limit at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Some say it’s the ultimate test – a 2.4-mile ocean swim, a 112-mile bike ride along the windy Hawaiian coast and then a 26.2-mile run in the heat.

The top athletes will finish in less then nine hours; some of the amateurs in the field will take 18 hours. Some won’t finish at all.

There are Ironman and Iron-distance races throughout the year, but Kona is the big one. It’s where the best male and female triathletes in the world are named each October.

So here’s a thought: Why not add an Ironman triathlon event to the Olympics? There’s already an Olympic distance triathlon, which consists of a 1500-meter swim, a 40-kilometer bike ride and a 10-kilometer run. The next logical step might be to add a half-Ironman, but we’d like to skip over that one and move to the big kahuna.

Five reasons why we think Ironman should be in the Olympics:

– We’re pretty sure it would be the longest one-day event at the Olympics (ahead of the road cycling race)
– Spectators can watch it for free
– It would provide these athletes a bigger stage than Ironman Kona
– With 34 sports, the summer Olympics need another sport
– If golf gets in, why not Ironman?

Golf has an established schedule of tournaments and majors throughout the year. Ironman does too. The IOC added golf to the Olympics starting with the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

At any rate, you can watch Saturday’s race live on UniversalSports.com starting at 11:30 a.m. ET or catch NBC’s coverage on Oct. 27.

Germans dominate women’s skeleton at world championships

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Germans Jacqueline Loelling and Tina Hermann went one-two at the skeleton world championships at home in Koenigssee on Saturday.

Loelling, 22, prevailed by one-quarter of a second after three runs over the 2016 World champion Hermann. Lizzy Yarnold, the Sochi Olympic champion from Great Britain, was .73 back for bronze.

“I didn’t expect to win, though I had perhaps hoped a little bit,” Loelling said, according to the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation.

The top American was Kendall Wesenberg in 13th. Full results are here.

Loelling and Hermann, 24, represent the new generation of German sliders, both seeking to become the first Olympic skeleton champion from the sliding sports power.

Hermann swept the World Cup and world championships titles last season, and Loelling can clinch this season’s double at the World Cup finale at the 2018 Olympic track in three weeks.

Yarnold, who returned this season after a one-year break, said Saturday she had head and back issues and that she couldn’t walk three weeks ago.

The world bobsled and skeleton championships conclude with the final two runs of four-man bobsled and men’s skeleton on Sunday.

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MORE: Elana Meyers Taylor drives to second world bobsled title

Lindsey Vonn crashes out of World Cup super-G (video)

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Lindsey Vonn crashed out of a World Cup super-G on Saturday, one day after refusing to start a race due to dangerous course conditions at the same venue.

Vonn fell trying to make a right turn about 17 seconds into her run, sliding into netting with her arms raised above her head in Crans-Montana, Switzerland. Vonn came back last month after breaking her right upper arm in a Nov. 10 training crash, the latest in a career filled with injuries.

Vonn lay motionless for several seconds but soon after skied on her own to the bottom of the course. She “was visibly upset and appeared to be crying as she was comforted by teammate Julia Mancuso” in the finish area, according to The Associated Press.

In four super-Gs since her comeback, Vonn has finished ninth and 12th and failed to finish twice.

Slovenia’s world downhill champion Ilka Stuhec won the race by a half-second over Italian Elena Curtoni. Austrian Stephanie Venier was third.

Mikaela Shiffrin was 13th in her fifth career World Cup super-G start, 2.11 seconds behind Stuhec. Full results are here.

“I just didn’t quite handle the peely snow as well as I could have, and I was a bit conservative in sections that I didn’t want to be,” Shiffrin said, according to the U.S. Ski Team. “But I’m happy to get a run in on this hill.

“I feel really good on my skis. I didn’t feel like that run showed it. But I also felt like I had some reservations after seeing how it was [Friday], and I really wanted to ski the whole course and make it down and try to put a time in there. But I wasn’t totally sure how it was going to run. So having a run under my belt is really nice.”

Six of the first 18 racers failed to finish, including a crash by Italian Sofia Goggia, who ranks fourth in the World Cup overall standings. After 20 starters, the race was delayed for about five minutes to treat the deteriorating course, according to Eurosport.

Mancuso, who hasn’t raced since March 2015, was a forerunner for a second straight day.

On Friday, Vonn and Shiffrin criticized race officials (and refused to race) for allowing a super combined to take place on dangerous snow conditions, specifically the bottom pitch, U.S. head coach Paul Kristofic said.

Vonn then spent Friday afternoon throwing up due to possible food poisoning, according to her social media.

The women race another super combined in Crans-Montana on Sunday (4:30 a.m. ET, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

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MORE: Stenmark to Vonn: ‘Don’t beat my record too early’