Missy Franklin

Missy, Lochte impress in Minnesota

Leave a comment

Gold medalists Missy Franklin and Ryan Lochte had presumably spent more time shooting scenes for TV teen dramas than actually swimming since the London Games, but neither seemed too affected by the time off at this weekend’s Minnesota Grand Prix.

The Olympians finished with five wins each at the short-course meet, as Missy dominated the 200 back – which she holds the world record in – by nearly six seconds and Lochte coasted to victories in the 200 IM and the 200 back on Sunday to finish off his first big weekend back in the pool.

“After London I’ve just been doing so many different things like cameos for TV shows, all these appearances, and you can get caught up in it,” Lochte told the AP after winning his events Sunday. “But I knew if I wanted to go to short-course worlds, I had to stop all that and start training again.”

Lochte, who appeared in “30 Rock” and “90210” this fall, but has thus far shunned Hollywood to continue training for the Rio Games in Florida, also won the 200 freestyle, 100 butterfly, and 100 back in Minneapolis.

Missy, who kicked off the meet Friday by recording a personal best in the 200 free, seemed happy getting back to business after bouncing around the country on the post-London medai tour, appearing on “Pretty Little Liars,” and signing up to join U.S. Olympic swim coach Terri McKeever at Cal next fall.

“It’s been so long since London,” she said. “And I’ve been looking forward to this for so long, just to get back in the water and get racing again.”

Max Parrot, Julia Marino win Big Air at Fenway Park snowboarding

Leave a comment

Canadian Olympic snowboarder Max Parrot and American Julia Marino swept the first Big Air at Fenway Park events on Thursday night.

Parrot, who finished fifth in the Sochi Olympic slopestyle competition, had the highest-scoring run of all competitors in gusty conditions at the home of the Boston Red Sox.

He tallied a 96.25 in his second of three runs. The combined score of his first two runs — 183.5 — held up so that his last run was a victory lap.

Parrot gained attention in Sochi for being one of two Canadian snowboarders to call out Shaun White for pulling out before the slopestyle competition.

White didn’t compete Thursday. Olympic slopestyle champions Sage Kotsenburg (training crash) and Jamie Anderson (eliminated in qualifying) did compete, but not in the finals.

Big air, which debuts at the Olympics at Pyeongchang 2018, is most like slopestyle of the current Olympic snowboard disciplines. The key difference is that big air runs include one jump, while slopestyle is a course of several jumps and rails.

Earlier, American Julia Marino was the surprise women’s winner at Fenway, tallying a two-run total of 169.25. Marino, 18, was a forerunner who got into the field when U.S. Olympian Ty Walker withdrew.

Riders competed Thursday with wind gusts up to 25 miles per hour, NBC Sports’ Tina Dixon said. Their bibs flapped uncontrollably at the top of the 140-foot-high jump, nearly four times the height of the adjacent Green Monster.

“The wind definitely created a nervous factor for me, and I’m sure all the other riders, too,” Marino, a Connecticut native, said on NBCSN. “It was crazy windy up there. But the fact is the jump itself wasn’t as winded down below. … I’ve been to Boston so many times, and I’ve walked past this ballpark a ton. To be snowboarding here, it’s insane.”

Big Air at Fenway concludes Friday with ski big air, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra at 9 p.m. ET.

MORE: Shaun White explains ‘shock’ of missing X Games

Sage Kotsenburg cracks helmet in Fenway Big Air crash

Sage Kotsenburg
Reuters
Leave a comment

Olympic snowboard slopestyle champion Sage Kotsenburg crashed in training and suffered a concussion before the finals of the Big Air at Fenway Park in Boston on Thursday evening, according to his Twitter.

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association said Kotsenburg hit his head in the crash but couldn’t confirm a concussion diagnosis.

Kotsenburg, 22, was to be the headliner of the finals after fellow Olympic slopestyle champion Jamie Anderson was eliminated in earlier qualifying.

Big Air at Fenway was to be Kotsenburg’s final competition of the season, according to Sports Illustrated. He finished 10th in snowboard slopestyle at the Winter X Games two weeks ago.

Kotsenburg has said he would like to compete in slopestyle and big air at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, where big air will make its Winter Games debut.

NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra will have coverage of the final day of Big Air at Fenway on Friday for the ski slopestyle finals at 9 p.m. ET.

MORE: Shaun White discusses ‘shock’ of missing X Games