Seth Wescott

Olympic champion Seth Wescott’s van collides with moose

1 Comment

Two-time Olympic snowboardcross gold medalist Seth Wescott walked away uninjured after his 2002 Volkswagen Eurovan struck a moose on a Maine road Thursday.

The moose collided into the passenger side of Wescott’s van around 1 a.m., according to reports.

“It did roughly $3,000 to $4,000 worth of damage,” Lt. David Rackliffe of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department told the Bangor (Maine) Daily News. “It appears that the moose actually ran into him.”

Despite the damage, Wescott, 37, managed to drive the rest of the way home, according to the newspaper. The Maine native posted this on his Facebook page:

“Welcome home to Maine.. Now here is a moose in your windshield to mess up your night.. Home safe but it looks like the eurovan is gonna have an insurance vacation at the VW garage.. Damn it..”

Apparently car-moose collisions are becoming a bit of an epidemic in the area, according to the Bangor Daily News.

Rackliffe said Wescott’s accident continues a busy summer of car-moose crashes in Franklin County.

“We actually did a couple of press releases on that [situation earlier this summer],” Rackliffe said. “From mid-June through mid-July, between us and state police who cover northern Franklin County, we documented more than 22 car-moose crashes in that roughly 30-day period.”

While there are plenty of moose in western Maine, Rackliffe termed the rash of crashes “extraordinarily high.”

Wescott is one of three Olympians trying to become the first American man to win the same Winter Olympic event three straight times (Bonnie Blair is the only U.S. woman to do it). He won the first two Olympic snowboardcross competitions in Sochi and Vancouver. Fellow snowboarder Shaun White (halfpipe) and speedskater Shani Davis (1,000 meters) also won in 2006 and 2010.

Wescott, if he makes the Olympic team, would be the last of the three to make the attempt. Men’s snowboardcross in Sochi is on Feb. 17, five days after Davis’ 1,000 and six days after White’s halfpipe.

Wescott underwent “a complete reconstruction” of his left ACL in April, according to the Portland (Maine) Press Herald. He fell into a crevasse while filming with Warren Miller for L.L. Bean.

“It allows me to start at ground zero and build myself up,” Wescott told the newspaper in May. “I know it’s going to be tight, but I know it’s entirely possible (to make it back for Sochi).”

Wescott had reconstructive surgery on his right knee in 2001 and tore a pectoral muscle in 2012.

Canada names its first 2014 Olympians

Olympic pairs champions take indefinite break

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Aljona Savchenko, the Olympic pairs champion with Bruno Massot, said they are taking an indefinite break from competition, according to German press agency DPA.

Savchenko and Massot will perform in ice shows next fall and winter, which could preclude them from competing in major events like the Grand Prix season (late October to early December) and the European Championships in January.

The German pair followed their title in PyeongChang with a world title last month, breaking a four-year-old world-record score and winning by the largest margin (20.31 points) in pairs at an Olympics or worlds since the 6.0 system was replaced 14 years ago.

Savchenko, 34 and a five-time Olympian, became the oldest Olympic pairs gold medalist. She then claimed her 11th world medal — tying the female record held by Norwegian singles legend Sonja Henie — and sixth world title — tying Soviet Alexander Zaitsev for second on the all-time pairs list, four behind Irina Rodnina.

The French-born Massot, 29, competed in his first Olympics in PyeongChang and earned his first world title. Savchenko’s previous five world titles came with now-retired Robin Szolkowy.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

PREVIEWS: NBC Sports to be home of U.S. Figure Skating, ISU events through 2026

Andre De Grasse’s return headlines Drake Relays on NBC Sports

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Andre De Grasse believes he could have entered the Drake Relays as the world champion in the 100m and 200m. Instead, he watched those finals last August. One from his hotel room. The other on replay on social media.

De Grasse, the Rio Olympic 100m bronze medalist and 200m silver medalist, will race for the first time in nine months at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday as part of NBC Sports’ weekend track and field coverage.

NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold will air live coverage of the Drake Relays and Penn Relays.

Friday
Penn Relays: 5-6 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold

Saturday
Penn Relays: 12:30-3 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold
Drake Relays: 3-5 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold

The Canadian De Grasse is the Drake Relays headliner, racing for the first time since suffering a grade 2 right hamstring strain four days before last year’s worlds in London.

De Grasse faces a Drake field that includes six other men who have broken 10 seconds, but of them only U.S. Olympian Mike Rodgers (9.85) has a better personal best than De Grasse’s 9.91 from the Rio Olympic final.

Rodgers, a decade older than De Grasse, hasn’t broken 10 seconds in his last 28 wind-legal races, according to Tilastopaja.org.

The field is not of much concern for De Grasse.

“I’m not looking for a specific time or anything,” he said Monday. “Just looking to get my legs under me, get the rust off, see what I can do and go from there.”

De Grasse said in a recent CBC interview that he’s been training for five months since the injury. He remembers the thoughts as he watched the world championships, starting with Usain Bolt‘s relegation to bronze in his last individual race won by Justin Gatlin‘s late surge.

“I knew that it could have been anybody’s race; [silver medalist Christian] Coleman could have won, Bolt could have won or Gatlin,” De Grasse said Monday. “When I watched it, I was surprised because usually Bolt would usually catch [up to win]. Coleman was out in front. You couldn’t really see where Gatlin was. Usually, Bolt would come back at the end. It looked like, for sure, that would happen. It looked like from my view that Coleman won. When I saw the replay, Gatlin kind of just snuck in there. … I was definitely surprised of the outcome. … I wish I could have been in it, but there’s going to be more opportunities for me.”

(De Grasse said he has not recently spoken with Bolt or “anybody in track in a while.” Last July, De Grasse’s coach was quoted saying that his sprinter was “booted out” of a race per Bolt’s wishes, which De Grasse later denied in a report, calling Bolt a legend.)

Gatlin’s winning time was 9.92 seconds into a .8 meters/second headwind. De Grasse failed to break 10 seconds in all five of his wind-legal 100m races last season, but he did run 9.69 with a mammoth 4.8 meters/second tailwind a month and a half before worlds.

Then came the world 200m final five days later. De Grasse said he had never heard of surprise winner Ramil Guliyev of Turkey. Guliyev won in 20.09, the slowest Olympic or world gold-medal time since 2003.

“I ran against all of those guys before and felt like I was capable of winning a race like that if I wasn’t injured,” De Grasse said. “To be honest, I had never heard of most of those guys in the 200m final except for I think a couple of guys, Wayde van Niekerk and [Nethaneel] Mitchell-Blake from Great Britain.”

De Grasse’s goals this season include breaking the Canadian 100m record of 9.84 (shared by Bruny Surin and Donovan Bailey, the latter’s time a then-world record at the 1996 Olympics). He would like to lower his 200m personal best of 19.80 from Rio.

He wants to win a Diamond League trophy for being the best man over 100m or 200m through the season. The 100m remains his preferred distance (“That’s the glory event.”).

De Grasse said he plans to race most of the Diamond League schedule, starting with the first two meets in Doha and Shanghai the next two weeks. De Grasse and Coleman are slated for a head-to-head at a Diamond League meet in London in July.

No matter what De Grasse does this season, he does not believe he can wrestle the mantle of world’s fastest man from Gatlin or Coleman.

“You can’t say off this year that you’re the fastest man in the world,” De Grasse said, noting it’s the only year in the quadrennium without a global championships. “You’ve got to wait until next year to do that.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Usain Bolt sets extended stay with Borussia Dortmund