Ted Ligety becomes first man since 1968 to win three world titles

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Ted Ligety added to an incredible, if not surprising, Alpine Ski World Championships Friday in Schladming, Austria by taking gold in the one race he was actually expected to win: the giant slalom.

He becomes the first man since Jean-Claude Killy of France in 1968 to win three world titles in one year.

“I wasn’t easy. I took some risks but it was very difficult,” Ligety said after the race. “It was pretty dark and bumpy. I had several mistakes but I could afford them being 1.30 ahead.”

Ligety held that 1.30-second lead after clocking a blazing 1:13.14 in his first run, then rode a slightly more conservative 1:15.78 his second time down the hill to earn the victory. Austria’s Marcel Hirscher took silver.

“Ted is the man,” downhill world champ Askel Lund Svindal said in between runs. “He’s the best in the world… It’s not possible to beat Ted, I think.”

Ligety, 28, surprised everyone last week by winning the super-G and combined world titles despite having exactly zero victories in either discipline since 2006. The super-G win was the first of his career.

The giant slalom specialist, known as “Ted the Shred,” is only the fifth man to win three golds at a single world championship. He can match Killy’s feat of four world titles when he rides in the slalom on Sunday.

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PyeongChang Olympic medals unveiled (photos)

PyeongChang Olympic medal
PyeongChang 2018
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The medals for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics were unveiled in a joint Seoul-New York City ceremony on Wednesday.

The Korean Hangul alphabet was incorporated into the medals’ edges to spell what translates to “PyeongChang Winter Olympics.”

Recent Winter Olympic medals include the Italian piazza design for Torino, the undulating surfaces for Vancouer and a patchwork quilt with diamond-shaped openings for Sochi.

The medals for the previous Olympics in South Korea — the 1988 Seoul Summer Games — were of the more traditional variety.

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Medals from past Olympics:

Seoul 1988/Getty Images
Cindy Klassen
Torino 2006/Getty Images
Vancouver 2010
Sochi 2014/Getty Images

U.S. names women’s gymnastics team for world champs

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It was already assured, but now it’s official.

The U.S. women’s gymnastics team for the world championships named Wednesday includes zero Olympians.

As the wait continues for possible elite comebacks by Simone BilesGabby Douglas, Aly RaismanLaurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian, these four gymnasts will chase medals in Montreal in two weeks:

Ragan Smith
P&G Championships all-around winner
Olympic alternate

Smith was the clear favorite going into the P&G Championships, and she delivered. The Texan coached by 1991 World all-around champion Kim Zmeskal Burdette won by 3.4 points, which is greater than the average margin of victory of Biles’ four U.S. all-around titles.

The pressure is on Smith to keep an incredible streak alive. An American gymnast has won every Olympic and world all-around title since 2011. The biggest threat could be Romanian Larisa Iordache, who shared the all-around podium with Biles in 2014 and 2015.

With no team event at worlds this year, the focus is first and foremost on the all-around.

Morgan Hurd
P&G Championships all-around sixth-place finisher

Hurd, a first-year senior who competes in glasses, was adopted from China as a toddler and now lives with her mom in Delaware. She must have really impressed at this week’s selection camp to get a spot over P&G Championships all-around silver medalist Jordan Chiles, who was named an alternate.

Though she had struggles at P&Gs, Hurd is capable of one of the world’s best floor exercise routines.

Ashton Locklear
P&G Championships uneven bars silver medalist
Olympic alternate

The “veteran” of this team at age 19 and the only one with world championships experience. Locklear was probably the closest of the alternates to making the Olympic team, getting edged out by Kocian for the uneven bars specialist spot.

Locklear missed an uneven bars medal at 2014 Worlds by .017. She was second to Riley McCusker on bars last month at P&Gs, where she wasn’t performing her most difficult set.

Jade Carey
P&G Championships vault winner

Carey hopes to follow the path of Kayla Williams, who in 2009 went from not even being an elite-level gymnast to winning the world vault title. Carey, 17, struggled with her Amanar at P&Gs, falling once and nearly sitting it down on the second day.

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