U.S. Olympic qualifying for snowboarding and freeskiing will start with the Dew Tour’s iON Mountain Championships in Breckenridge, Colo., from Dec. 12-15.
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association announced the Dew Tour as its fifth qualification event earlier this week. The others are on the U.S. Grand Prix schedule — Copper Mountain, Colo., Northstar, Calif., Park City, Utah, and Mammoth Mountain, Calif.
The five events will determine Olympians in snowboard halfpipe and slopestyle and ski halfpipe and slopestyle. The Olympic rosters are expected to be announced Jan. 22.
The overall Olympic qualification standings will be determined by the two best results for an athlete over the five events.
Competition could be the toughest in women’s snowboard halfpipe, where a maximum of four can make the Olympic team. All four members of the 2010 U.S. Olympic team are expected to vie for Sochi spots — 2002 Olympic champion Kelly Clark, 2006 Olympic champion Hannah Teter, 2006 Olympic silver medalist Gretchen Bleiler and two-time Olympian Elena Hight — as well as 2013 world champion Arielle Gold.
We already knew Katie Ledecky can beat the boys in practice, even an Olympic champion.
One of the many takeaways from this week’s Sports Illustrated profile of Ledecky is that she has beaten 11-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte in practice.
Ledecky and Lochte may rep different swim clubs — Ledecky in Washington, D.C., and Lochte in Charlotte — but they both take trips to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., for altitude training.
“She swims like a guy,” Lochte said after training with Ledecky in Colorado Springs in March, according to SI. “I’ve never seen a female swimmer like that. … Her times are becoming good for a guy. She’s beating me now, and I’m like, What’s going on?”
When Ledecky broke the women’s 1500m freestyle world record for the third time at the August 2014 Pan Pacific Championships, her time of 15:28.36 was .01 faster than Lochte’s 1500m free time at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials (one of the rare instances Lochte swam a 1500m free).
Ledecky has since re-broken the women’s 1500m free world record twice more, bringing it down to 15:25.48.
“I trained with her in Colorado once, and she made me look like I was stopping,” Lochte reportedly told media on his 31st birthday, Aug. 3 at the World Championships in Kazan, Russia. “She flew by me.”
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Athens Olympic softball champion Jennie Finch will manage the Bridgeport Bluefish, an independent minor-league baseball team on Sunday and, reportedly, become the first woman to manage a men’s pro baseball team.
Finch, a pitcher, retired from softball in 2010, two years after her sport’s Olympic farewell in Beijing, where she and the U.S. took silver behind Japan.
Finch has been an advocate for softball’s return to the Olympics, which could happen in Tokyo 2020.
The International Olympic Committee is expected to decide in August if baseball and softball, among four other sports, will be added for the Tokyo Games.
Finch, who is married to former MLB pitcher Casey Daigle, is also known for having struck out Albert Pujols.
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