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Lochte wins big, in and out of the pool

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Surprise, surprise: Ryan Lochte won another race Thursday night.

Lochte and a host of his USA Swimming national teammates are at the University of Texas for the Winter National Championships, a short-course-yards meet. Lochte won the 200m IM, a race, at least in long-course competitions, he all but owned from 2009 until last summer. As you remember, Phelps beat him at the London Olympics.

Now that Phelps is the proud owner of an AARP card, the race is Lochte’s to lose once again.

Other winners included Katie Ledecky (women’s 500y freestyle), who recently took home the Golden Goggles for Breakout Performer of the Year and Female Race of the Year, Jessica Hardy (women’s 50y freestyle) and Matt Grevers (men’s 50y freestyle).

One-time Olympian (and five-time Olympic medalist) Missy Franklin took third in the women’s 200y IM.

The victory came at a good time for Lochte, who announced this morning that he had signed with entertainment and sports agency CAA (Creative Artists Agency). The company has offices across the world, including Los Angeles – where Lochte was rumored to be relocating earlier this fall. He ultimately stayed put in Gainesville, Fla. but we wonder if this new development will bring him to the west coast to train and further develop the Ryan Lochte brand. CAA’s list of athletes includes Olympic snowboarder Shaun White, soccer player David Beckham, hockey player Sidney Crosby and NFL quarterback Tony Romo.

Lochte recently appeared in GQ Magazine’s “Least Influential People of 2012” list. The magazine ripped him pretty badly so today’s news is sure to provide a boost. Warning: This slideshow contains strong language and is not for the kids.

Francesco Friedrich wins historic fourth straight bobsled world title

German bob team, Francesco Friedrich, right, and Thorsten Margis, celebrate their victory  after the men's  two-man bob race at the  Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Championships at Lake Koenigssee, Germany, Sunday Feb. 19. 2017. (Angelika Warmuth/dpa via AP)
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KOENIGSSEE, Germany (AP) — Germany’s Francesco Friedrich was again fastest in both runs to extend his lead and beat Justin Kripps of Canada for his fourth straight world championship in two-man bobsled on Sunday.

Friedrich, who held a 0.52-lead from Saturday’s opening heats, clocked 49.17 seconds and then 48.94 with his brakeman Thorsten Margis for a combined time of 3 minutes, 16.71 seconds after four runs — 1.20 ahead of Kripps and Jesse Lumsden.

The 26-year-old Friedrich says “We were simply unbeatable this week.”

Germany’s Johannes Lochner was 1.25 back in third with Joshua Bluhm, ahead of Oskars Kibermanis and Matiss Miknis of Latvia, Nick Poloniato and Neville Wright of Canada, and Oskars Melbardis and Janis Strenga of Latvia.

American pilot Steven Holcomb was seventh with Carlo Valdes, 1.68 back.

A skeleton and bobsled team competition was scheduled later Sunday.

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Marcel Hirscher reclaims slalom title, wraps up ‘perfect worlds’

ST MORITZ, SWITZERLAND - FEBRUARY 17:  Gold medalist Marcel Hirscher of Austria celebrates on the podium following the Men's Giant Slalom during the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships on February 17, 2017 in St Moritz, Switzerland.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
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Austrian Marcel Hirscher reclaimed the slalom world title, wrapping up what he called “the perfect world championships” with two golds and one silver in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on Sunday.

Hirscher, the five-time reigning World Cup overall champion, prevailed by .68 of a second combining two runs. Fellow Austrian Manuel Feller earned silver, followed by German Felix Neureuther, .93 behind.

Hirscher’s biggest slalom rival, Henrik Kristoffersen, was a disappointing fourth, giving Norway fourth-place finishers in all five men’s events at worlds.

The top American was David Chodounsky in 12th.

Full Results | Race Replay

Hirscher led by .43 after the morning run and had the third-fastest second run. He finished worlds with golds in the giant slalom and slalom and silver in the super combined, missing gold by .01. All that despite entering worlds sick, reportedly spending days ill in bed.

He said that super combined silver, and especially his maiden GS title, took the pressure off Sunday.

“It was super easy for me, mentally, to [go] into this race,” Hirscher said. “It doesn’t matter if I straddle at the first gate. The only thing that wouldn’t be fine is skiing slow.”

Hirscher is en route to his sixth straight World Cup overall title this season. No other man has won that many, consecutive or not. He previously won the slalom world title in 2013, then was upset at the Sochi Olympics, taking silver behind countryman Mario Matt, who at 34 became the oldest Olympic Alpine champion.

Hirscher led the 2015 Worlds slalom by .88 after the first run, then straddled a gate near the end of the second run while his lead was evaporating.

Hirscher has already proven his excellence on the World Cup and world championships stages. It’s PyeongChang where he must deliver, since he lacks Olympic gold. Hirscher is only 27 years old, but he has cast doubt on going all the way to the 2022 Winter Games.

Feller, 24, took surprise silver without a World Cup podium to his name.

Neureuther earned his third straight world slalom medal, but none have been gold.

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