Shaun White

Lucky 13: Shaun White shooting for more X Games gold

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As we approach the one-year-out date from the Sochi Olympics, it’s time for the annual pilgrimage that snowboarders, extreme skiers and, more recently, snowmobile operators make to Aspen, Colo.

The X Games are here.

And what would the X Games be without its biggest star, Shaun White? He’s won the superpipe gold medal the last five years, and aside from a silver medal in 2007 White has another two superpipe titles. That, of course, is in addition to the five slopestyle gold medals he has and the Olympic halfpipe titles he earned in 2006 and 2010.

We’ll see white compete for superpipe gold medal No. 8 on Sunday and his sixth slopestyle win on Saturday. He was recently in Breckenridge, Colo. for a Dew Tour competition and, apparently, to work on some new tricks. As this video shows, White threw down a triple cork 1440 while practicing for slopestyle.

It’s a clear message to his competitors that White, who cut off his famous red hair last month, will be looking for slopestyle gold when the discipline makes its Olympic debut in Sochi.

White’s American teammate Kelly Clark has a decent streak going of her own; she’s won the last two superpipe X Games titles and also won in 2006. In 2004, 2009 and 2010, Clark took silver. In 2008 she earned bronze.

Assuming Clark advances to the final, she will go for gold medal No. 4 Saturday night.

The 29-year-old Clark, who burst onto the scene in 2002 to win the Olympic halfpipe title, recently told ESPN she wants to leave her mark on the sport when she decides to hang up her board. Clark’s foundation has given more than $42,000 in scholarships to young snowboarders since it was established in 2010. At the 2011 X Games, Clark was the first woman in history to land a 1080 – and she was rewarded at the bottom of the pipe by the other competitors, who piled on top of her in celebration for what she had done.

ESPN and ABC will broadcast the X Games starting Thursday, with White closing the Games Sunday night in the superpipe.

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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