Jen Hudak

Jen Hudak suffers torn meniscus, partially torn ACL in ski halfpipe

Leave a comment

Jen Hudak‘s Olympic hopes were severely cut in a crash at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships on Wednesday.

Hudak, 27, suffered a torn meniscus and partially torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee in qualifying at the first of five Olympic selection events in Breckenridge, Colo. She has had five knee surgeries before, including blowing out her right knee less than two years ago.

Hudak is one of the greatest halfpipe skiers in the sport’s young history. She’s a four-time Winter X Games medalist, most recently winning gold in 2010 and ending the late Sarah Burke‘s three-year reign.

She also won World Championships silver in 2011 and bronze in 2011.

Hudak hopes to return in time for one of the final Olympic selection events in January — Jan. 6-11 at Northstar, Calif., or Jan. 15-18 at Park City, Utah.

“This wasn’t where I had planned to be at this point,” she said. “But I want to ensure that I’ve done everything possible to be a part of the dream I’ve had for over a decade. It’s important for me to set an example to others in my sport that you never give up on yourself. I’m approaching this optimistically but also understanding the realities.”

Hudak suffered a dislocated shoulder in March 2011. She then tore her right ACL, meniscus and cracked her femur in a January 2012 crash in Breckenridge, Colo., a few hours before Burke crashed in Park City. Burke went into cardiac arrest and died nine days later.

Maddie Bowman wins Dew Tour ski halfpipe

Mikaela Shiffrin wins Aspen World Cup slalom

Leave a comment

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
Leave a comment

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.”

MORE: Hanyu, Miyahara win NHK; Wagner into Grand Prix Final