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Wambach, Morgan nominated for Player of the Year

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American soccer stars Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan have both been nominated for the FIFA player of the year after dominating performances that led to America’s third straight Olympic gold medal.

The two women are aiming to be the first American to take the award since Mia Hamm won back in 2002. Wambach and Morgan combined for 50 international goals this year and led the world’s best team to an undefeated 13-0-2 record this season.

Also on the list is Brazil’s Marta, who has been nominated every year since 2005 and won the award five consecutive times. America’s former coach Pia Sundhage, who now leads the national team in her native Sweden, was nominated for coach of the year.

“What a tremendous honor for all of us,” Wambach said. “And even more so to be recognized with Alex, someone who compliments me in almost every way on the field.”

Noticeably absent from the nominees is Canada’s Christine Sinclair, who scored an Olympic record six goals, including three in an devastating extra-time semi-final loss to the U.S., but was suspended by FIFA for comments made to and about the referees after the game.

“It’s a travesty,” Canadian coach John Herdman told the National Post. “A player who can score a hat trick in a semi-final and lead her country to the first medal since 1936, the first time Canada’s ever been on a [soccer] podium at one of these events.. and she can’t get in the top three.”

“There’s something wrong somewhere. But… you don’t want to be pointing fingers at people. It is what it is.”


Ted Ligety recovers for fifth place in return from torn ACL

SOELDEN, AUSTRIA - OCTOBER 23: Ted Ligety of USA in action during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Men's Giant Slalom on October 23, 2016 in Soelden, Austria (Photo by Alain Grosclaude/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)
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Ted Ligety was in unfamiliar position after the opening run of his first race in nine months — in 14th place in Soelden, Austria, where he has been the most successful skier in history.

Ligety, who has won the season-opening giant slalom a record four times and never finished outside the top 10, was 1.49 seconds behind on the Rettenbach glacier going into the second and final run.

Concern would be warranted. Ligety may have won the last three world titles and the 2014 Olympic title in giant slalom, but he is now 32 years old and coming off a torn right ACL suffered in January training.

Before that, Ligety failed to finish six straight races and missed the podium in 11 straight while also dealing with three herniated disks in his back and a torn hip labrum.

So when Ligety entered the start house for his second run Saturday afternoon, he had something to prove.

The American would salvage his start to the season with the third-fastest second run, .16 behind French winner Alexis Pinturault, to finish fifth overall, 1.65 second back.

Austrian Marcel Hirscher, the five-time reigning World Cup overall champion, was runner-up, seven tenths shy of Pinturault. German Felix Neureuther was third. Full results are here.

The Alpine skiing World Cup moves to Levi, Finland, for men’s and women’s slaloms in three weeks.

The next key races for Ligety are in Beaver Creek, Colo., the first weekend of December, including a giant slalom Dec. 4.


Gracie Gold details weight issues in figure skating after Skate America struggles

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Gracie Gold said she has struggled with weight issues this whole year and in recent seasons in reported comments after she finished fifth at Skate America on Saturday.

“You don’t often see — there aren’t that many — you just don’t see overweight figure skaters for a reason,” Gold said, according to USA Today. “It’s just something I’ve struggled with this whole year and in previous seasons. It’s just difficult when you’re trying to do the difficult triple jumps. It’s something that I am addressing, but it’s obviously not where it should be for this caliber of competition.

“It’s just not what’s required for this sport. It’s a lean body sport, and it’s just not what I have currently.”

Gold fell once in her Skate America short program and twice in her free skate en route to her lowest Grand Prix finish (excluding Grand Prix Finals) since her debut at 2012 Skate Canada.

Gold also finished sixth out of six skaters in her first competition this season, the free-skate-only Japan Open on Oct. 1.

Gold was fourth at the world championships in April, falling from first after the short program. The U.S. champion was still dealing with that “worlds depression” in the summer, even considering skipping the fall Grand Prix season.

Her next scheduled competition is in three weeks at Trophée de France in Paris, which she won last season.

“We just need to adjust my physical shape and mental shape and see if the program can be salvaged for the rest of the year,” Gold said, according to

MORE: Full figure skating season broadcast schedule