Yohan Blake

Yohan Blake interviewed by GQ about his watches, Usain Bolt, more

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Yohan Blake likes to read “The Notebook” while listening to soft Michael Jackson music, quotes what he thinks is Muhammad Ali before races and is called the “Socks Man” back home.

These tidbits and more were revealed by the Olympic silver medalist in the 100 and 200 meters in an interview with GQ.

Let’s start with the “Socks Man” nickname. GQ asked Blake, 23, to name the last stylish item he purchased.

“Pretty socks,” he said. “They call me ‘Socks Man’ back home because my feet are always pretty in my colored socks. I love to get them from different stores all over the world. The last pair I bought was in Canada. They were a mix of pink, orange, blue, gray. I like to have a mix as I always wear different socks at the same time.”

Blake is known worldwide for another nickname — “The Beast.” He said in the interview most people think he’s “a living and walking beast,” but they shouldn’t be afraid to approach him.

Blake also said he listens to reggae while training, but at home he enjoys Jackson and reading his “love novel” — “The Notebook.”

Of course, there was also a question about Usain Bolt.

“Some might say Bolt has made a career out of peacocking on the track when he wins … ”

To which Blake answered: “That’s different — he’s very nervous. He does all of that to get that nervousness away. Trust me. It’s a release.”

Blake on his pre-race routine:

“Sometimes I say, ‘fly like a bird, sting like a bee,’ to get myself like Muhammad Ali to get a hold of myself.”

Of course, that’s not quite Ali’s famous line.

The GQ story also talked about Blake’s famous $500,000 watch publicized last year. Blake has upgraded to a new watch with a beast claw covering its face.

Blake, the reigning world champion in the 100 meters, pulled out of August’s world championships earlier this month due to a hamstring injury that’s plagued him since the spring. He has since been ruled out for the rest of the season by his manager.

Bolt’s autobiography title contradicts title of earlier Bolt book

Mikaela Shiffrin wins Aspen World Cup slalom

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With a slalom win today in Aspen, Colo., Mikaela Shiffrin broke some of the barriers she had been chasing.

“I don’t know if the stars will ever align like that again,” Shiffrin said in a media conference after being told she won with the biggest margin of victory in the history of women’s slalom since 1968: 3.07 seconds. “I don’t think [my competitors] are going to let me get away with three seconds ever again.”

En route to her fourth consecutive slalom World Cup title – which would tie the record for the most with Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider from 1992-95 – she became the first female skier to win four World Cup slalom races in a row since Austria’s Marlies Schild did it in the 2011-12 season.

In addition, Shiffrin became the first female skier from the U.S. to win a slalom World Cup race in Aspen. And she’s now tied with France’s Perrine Pelen for sixth overall with total slalom World Cup victories.

“I was pissed after I made that ridiculous mistake yesterday,” Shiffrin said to media, referencing yesterday’s giant slalom crash. Both her and Lindsey Vonn crashed and did not finish in Aspen’s giant slalom. “I tried to use that anger today.”

Shiffrin called the mistake a “brainfart” and Vonn dismissed it because “giant slalom isn’t [her] strongest event.”

But, Shiffrin added that she already has her mind set on tomorrow, where she races slalom again, on NBC at 3 p.m. ET. The complete of the Olympic sports schedule is here.

“I just as quickly have to go back and settle in,” she said. “Tomorrow is a new race. I have to find a different motivation and try to take the same mentality and keep fighting.”

Slovakia’s Veronika Velez Zuzulova was second behind Shiffrin, followed by Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter.

By finishing behind Shiffrin in Aspen, Zuzulova extends her slalom World Cup podium finish streak to four.

Hansdotter has the second-most second place World Cup slalom finishes at 13 total, including today’s race. Only Pernilla Wiberg, of Sweden, has more with a total of 14.

MORE: Shiffrin, Vonn discuss friendship and rivalry

Fencing great Valentina Vezzali fails to qualify for Rio 2016

Mario Monti, Valentina Vezzali
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TURIN, Italy (AP) – Six-time Olympic champion fencer Valentina Vezzali has failed to qualify for next year’s Rio de Janeiro Games.

The 41-year-old Vezzali was eliminated in the second round of the foil event at the Trofeo Inalpi meet Saturday, while Italian teammate Arianna Errigo reached the semifinals and gained the necessary points to qualify.

Vezzali won at least one gold at the last five Olympics in either individual or team foil. She has a total of nine Olympic medals and 25 at world championships.

Her second son was born in 2013, the year in which she also became a member of Italy’s parliament.

Vezzali told the Gazzetta dello Sport this week that “I had another son and it was really difficult to come back. … I don’t think I have anything else to prove.”

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