Ian Thorpe denies gay rumors, says he’ll keep swimming

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After failing to qualify for the London Olympics earlier this year, is Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe staring at retirement No. 2?

His simple answer: No.

Thorpe, who stepped away from the sport in 2006 after a career that earned him a total of nine medals (five gold) at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, attempted to qualify for London in the 100m and 200m freestyle. Thing is, Thorpe’s comeback sputtered at the Olympic Trials – he didn’t make the finals in either race.

The 30-year-old Aussie is currently on a book tour Down Under to promote his new autobiography, “This Is Me.” Among the topics he addresses in the book are rumors of him being gay (which he denies) and his battle with depression and suicidal thoughts.

And, in an interview with Fox Sports News, he said his next goals are to compete in the 2013 World Championships and the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Thorpe has been training in Switzerland.

“Everything is on a two-year plan for me these days,” Thorpe said in the interview. “What I didn’t like about London was that I was rushing to make it. I’m not going to do that this time. I’ll do what I want to do and what I feel I can do.”

If nothing else, the Australian swim team could use a veteran like Thorpe to provide leadership in the wake of a scandal that allegedly had some of the athletes sleepwalking through London this summer.

What is the Alpine skiing team event?

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The Alpine skiing team event will make its Olympic debut in PyeongChang

How to watch
Friday, Feb. 23, 9:00 p.m. ET
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Olympic skiing has always been an individual sport. Simply, the fastest skier down the mountain wins the gold medal.

But the world’s best skiers will have to rely on their teammates for the first time in the team event, which is making its Olympic debut in PyeongChang.

The team event will feature 16 teams, or nations, of four athletes (two men and two women). The 16 teams will be arranged in a bracket-style, single-elimination format. Think NCAA March Madness.

A skier from each of the two competing nations will race down the course in a series of head-to-head slalom races. The winner will earn a point for his or her team. The team with the most points after four heats will advance. If the teams have the same number of points, the winner will be the nation with the lower combined time of its fastest male and female competitor.

Teams are allowed to have a maximum of two reserves.

France won the team event at the 2017 World Championships. The U.S., competing without Mikaela Shiffrin, was knocked out in the first round by Canada.

“It’s a really fun event,” said American AJ Ginnis. “The atmosphere—the fact that you get to race with girls and guys and it’s a team effort is really cool.”

Men’s snowboard big air preview

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Now that Anna Gasser of Austria has successfully captured the first-ever Olympic gold medal in women’s snowboard big air, it’s almost time to crown the first-ever Olympic champion on the men’s side.

Big air snowboarding has progressed tremendously in recent years, and there’s been a lot of build-up to these Olympics, so expect heavy tricks to come out quickly in the final.

Or as Mark McMorris put it: “There’s probably [going to be] some mind-boggling s—.”

Every time there’s a big air event, there’s always talk about “quads” — a type of trick that features four inverted flips. It’s such a progressive trick that only two riders have landed a quad in competition, only a few others have done it in training, and many are hesitant to even try.

Read the full preview at NBCOlympics.com