AP Photo/David Goldman

Rory’s nationality still up for debate

3 Comments

After making the mistake of upsetting not one, but two nations while trying to decide whether to play for Ireland or Great Britain at the Rio Olympics, Rory McIlroy is getting some assistance from the Royal and Ancient Golf Club Wednesday.

Chief exec Peter Dawson said that since McIlroy competed for Ireland at previous events early in his golf career, rules dictate that he should carry that nationality with him into the Games.

“Because Rory’s history [is] of playing for Ireland at amateur level… that there may be a regulation within the Olympic rules that would require him to stay with that,” Dawson told the Independent.

He’s kind of right, but it’s not a hard and fast rule with the IOC, which allows athletes to switch nations so long as it’s at least three years ahead of the Games giving McIlroy a few more months to make a decision about Rio. Great Britain’s Aaron Cook now competes for Isle of Man and Brazilian gold medalist Arthur Zanetti is considering a switch, too, due to lack of national funding for his sport.

Rory, who as a Northern Irishman can decide which nation to represent, has previously said that he always felt more British growing up. That answer caused a stir in the golf crazy land of Ireland, and he and countryman Graeme McDowell have asked the IOC to step in and make a decision for them. They haven’t received a response, but Dawson’s “ruling” is a step in the right direction.

“I would very much like to take this burden of choice away from the player if we can possibly do it because it’s not fair to him,” Dawson added. “I think he’s made it pretty clear in one or two pronouncements that he’s worried about it and the last thing we want is players worrying about this.”

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)
AP
Leave a comment

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.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: PyeongChang 2018 daily schedule highlights

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)
Getty Images
1 Comment

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.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: PyeongChang 2018 daily schedule highlights