The snow is on the ground, the winter sports world cup season is off and running, and the Americans are already making impressive steps toward the top of the Sochi podium.
Torino combined gold medalist Ted Ligety started his season by dominating the first event of the giant slalom calendar, winning by a staggering 2.75 seconds, the largest margin in that race at an World Cup event in 33 years.
“This an unbelievable gap, a once-in-a-career margin,” Ligety, who was in second after his first run despite terrible weather conditions, told the AP Sunday. “In the second run, I took more risks than anyone else, more than what was really smart, so I got a bit lucky there.”
The victory in Austria was the twelfth of Ligety’s career, who also won the 2011 giant slalom world championhips in Garmisch, Germany. The American beat out Italy’s Manfred Moelgg and Austria’s Marcel HIrscher, the reigning world cup champ in the event, who were both equally impressed with the feat.
“The top in GS is only Ligety, then comes the rest of the world,” Hirscher said. “This is a big blow for us. It makes almost no sense racing against him. We have a lot of work to do.”
The record for the largest gap between first and second is still held by Sweden’s double Olympic gold medalist Ingemar Stenmark, who won a race in Jasna, Slovakia by 4.06 seconds back in 1979.
U.S. 800m runner Nick Symmonds‘ right shoulder is apparently twice as valuable as his left shoulder.
The two-time Olympian auctioned ad space on his body for a second straight Olympic summer, with the final bid at $21,800 for nine square inches on his right shoulder in an Ebay auction that ended Thursday afternoon.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere‘s Twitter account claimed the winning bid of 107 overall bids.
In 2012, Symmonds auctioned the same nine inches on his left shoulder for $11,100 to Hanson Dodge Creative, a marketing agency based in Milwaukee. Here’s what that temporary tattoo looked like.
Symmonds’ temporary tattoo was not visible during the 2012 Olympics or 2012 Olympic Trials, as rules mandate the advertisement is taped over in those events plus other IAAF competitions.
Symmonds, 32, finished fifth at the 2012 Olympics and second at the 2013 World Championships.
He was left off the 2015 World Championships roster, after winning the national title, after refusing to sign a USA Track and Field contract that required athletes to wear Nike-branded Team USA gear at team functions at Worlds.
Symmonds’ apparel sponsor has been Brooks since January 2014. He was previously a Nike-sponsored Oregon Track Club member for seven years.
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Karch Kiraly will continue as U.S. women’s volleyball team head coach through the 2020 Olympics, agreeing to a four-year contract renewal.
“It’s been a tremendous honor to lead this special group of intelligent, powerful, hard-working, dedicated women, and the great staff that supports them — and it’s a double honor to prepare for battle at the Rio Olympics, knowing we’ll have the opportunity to carry that work forward in the next quadrennial,” Kiraly said in a press release.
Kiraly, the only U.S. volleyball player to earn indoor and beach Olympic titles, took over after serving on Hugh McCutcheon‘s staff from 2009 through the 2012 Olympics, where the U.S. women took silver behind Brazil.
Kiraly then led the U.S. women to their first World or Olympic title in 2014. They are ranked No. 1 in the world ahead of China and Brazil.
The program has gone 50 years with zero Olympic golds and broke a 62-year World Championship drought in 2014.
Kiraly, 55, is set to become the first coach of multiple U.S. Olympic women’s volleyball teams since Terry Liskevych from 1988 through 1996.
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