James Magnussen

Australia cuts swimming, track budgets

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The Australian Sports Commission is cutting 5.8 percent out of the national swimming program’s 2013-14 after their worst Olympic showing in two decades and a scandal involving banned sleeping pills and other “toxic incidents.”

The cuts are in-line with the ASC’s ten year Winning Edge plan, which aims to make Australia a top-five team at every Summer Games, top-15 at every Winter Games, and twenty annual world champions throughout all events.

“There will always be winners and losers under the new strategy but we fully support Winning Edge and its goals,” AOC chief John Coates said. “Sports are now more accountable and they are not only judged on performance, but governance.”

The swim team is still the most funded program, with $8.41 million, but will now be more carefully monitored by the AOC. The track and field budget also took a small hit of 3.8 percent, as sailing, canoeing, water polo, and the entire Paralympic team enjoyed large budget increases.

“Our investment decisions were based on a set of principles that assessed sports ability to provide sound evidence that they can contribute to the [Winning Edge] targets,” ASC chair John Wylie said.

“We have also asked that sports be more accountable for best practice governance and commercial performance under our investment approach.”

Watch NBC Sports’ Alpine skiing World Cup preview video

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NBC Sports will air coverage of 87 Alpine skiing races at 22 resorts across the globe this fall and winter, from October through March, in the final full season before the 2018 Olympics.

Highlights include fall and winter stops in the U.S. with races in Killington, Vt.; Beaver Creek, Colo.; Squaw Valley, Calif.; and the World Cup Finals in Aspen, Colo., in March.

Lindsey Vonn‘s highlighted World Cup stop will be downhill and super-G races in Lake Louise, Canada, the first weekend of December.

The world championships in February will be in St. Moritz, Switzerland, where Ted Ligety and Mikaela Shiffrin will look to defend titles.


Skier goes airborne in World Cup opener (video)

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Canadian skier Phil Brown was fortunate to walk away from an airborne crash at the World Cup season opener in Soelden, Austria, on Sunday.

Brown failed to finish his first run, losing contact with the snow early on and falling hard onto his side.

He tweeted a video of the crash, with slow-motion replays, with a soundtrack of Irish singer Enya‘s “Only Time.”

The World Cup season continues with men’s and women’s slaloms in Levi, Finland, in three weeks.

MORE: Ted Ligety recovers to finish fifth in first race in 9 months