Jesse Owens

Chris Johnson, Devin Hester racing a cheetah adds to track stars sprinting against animals

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The news that NFL speedsters Chris Johnson and Devin Hester raced a cheetah in a made-for-TV event is certainly intriguing, but track and field has seen several similar scenarios.

Let’s start with perhaps the most famous sprinter vs. animal showdown of all: Jesse Owens raced horses multiple times after his quadruple gold performance at the 1936 Olympics.

Oscar Pistorius joined Owens in beating a horse in a race in Doha late last year.

Shawn Crawford, the 2004 Olympic champion in the 200 meters, took on a giraffe and a zebra on the Fox show “Man vs. Beast.”

British world indoor 400-meter champion Jamie Baulch also raced a horse. This video appears to be well after Baulch’s career ended. He got creamed.

Disgraced Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson, who won the 1988 Olympic 100 meters but was stripped due to doping, went up against two horses and a race car in 1998.

In a commercial, Michael Johnson lined up against NFL cornerback Jason Sehorn, a horse named “Lightening Bolt” and NASCAR driver John Andretti.

There’s also South African rugby star Bryan Habana, who raced a cheetah in 2007.

One more note on Johnson vs. Hester vs. Cheetah. Three-time Olympic swimming champion Brooke Bennett served as the sideline reporter.

Yohan Blake’s GQ interview: The Notebook, Michael Jackson, socks

Max Parrot, Julia Marino win Big Air at Fenway Park snowboarding

Max Parrot
Reuters
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Canadian Olympic snowboarder Max Parrot and American Julia Marino swept the first Big Air at Fenway Park events on Thursday night.

Parrot, who finished fifth in the Sochi Olympic slopestyle competition, had the highest-scoring run of all competitors in gusty conditions at the home of the Boston Red Sox.

He tallied a 96.25 in his second of three runs. The combined score of his first two runs — 183.50 — held up so that his last run was a victory lap.

Parrot gained attention in Sochi for being one of two Canadian snowboarders to call out Shaun White for pulling out before the slopestyle competition.

White didn’t compete Thursday. Olympic slopestyle champions Sage Kotsenburg (training crash) and Jamie Anderson (eliminated in qualifying) did compete, but not in the finals.

Big air, which debuts at the Olympics at Pyeongchang 2018, is most like slopestyle of the current Olympic snowboard disciplines. The key difference is that big air runs include one jump, while slopestyle is a course of several jumps and rails.

Earlier, American Julia Marino was the surprise women’s winner at Fenway, tallying a two-run total of 169.25. Marino, 18, was a forerunner who got into the field when U.S. Olympian Ty Walker withdrew.

Riders competed Thursday with wind gusts up to 25 miles per hour, NBC Sports’ Tina Dixon said. Their bibs flapped uncontrollably at the top of the 140-foot-high jump, nearly four times the height of the adjacent Green Monster.

“The wind definitely created a nervous factor for me, and I’m sure all the other riders, too,” Marino, a Connecticut native, said on NBCSN. “It was crazy windy up there. But the fact is the jump itself wasn’t as winded down below. … I’ve been to Boston so many times, and I’ve walked past this ballpark a ton. To be snowboarding here, it’s insane.”

Big Air at Fenway concludes Friday with ski big air, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra at 9 p.m. ET.

MORE: Shaun White explains ‘shock’ of missing X Games

Sage Kotsenburg cracks helmet in Fenway Big Air crash

Sage Kotsenburg
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Olympic snowboard slopestyle champion Sage Kotsenburg crashed in training and suffered a concussion before the finals of the Big Air at Fenway Park in Boston on Thursday evening, according to his Twitter.

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association said Kotsenburg hit his head in the crash but couldn’t confirm a concussion diagnosis.

Kotsenburg, 22, was to be the headliner of the finals after fellow Olympic slopestyle champion Jamie Anderson was eliminated in earlier qualifying.

Big Air at Fenway was to be Kotsenburg’s final competition of the season, according to Sports Illustrated. He finished 10th in snowboard slopestyle at the Winter X Games two weeks ago.

Kotsenburg has said he would like to compete in slopestyle and big air at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, where big air will make its Winter Games debut.

NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra will have coverage of the final day of Big Air at Fenway on Friday for the ski slopestyle finals at 9 p.m. ET.

MORE: Shaun White discusses ‘shock’ of missing X Games