Ted Ligety

Ted Ligety, Bode Miller ski out of Val d’Isere giant slalom

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Ted Ligety went out in the first run of a World Cup giant slalom for the first time in nearly five years. Bode Miller didn’t fare any better.

The top two Americans were absent from the second and final run in Val d’Isere, France, on Saturday. Reigning World Cup overall champion Marcel Hirscher won in 2 minutes, 17.21 seconds, his 20th career World Cup victory. France’s Thomas Lanara was second, followed by Germany’s Stefan Luitz.

Ligety, the first racer to go in the opening run, went down on his hip near the bottom of the course to snap a streak of four straight World Cup giant slalom wins and 10 straight podium finishes.

“It’s been a few years. But I’ve had a bunch of races where second runs I went out,” Ligety said, according to The Associated Press. “It’s not ideal. It’s the kind of hill where anything can really happen, because it’s such a tough and rough and bumpy hill.”

Val d’Isere has not been kind to the world’s best GS skier. Ligety has two top 10s in five career giant slaloms there.

“It’s always super, super bumpy and miserable to ski so I wasn’t surprised by that at all,” Ligety said, according to the AP. “You just have to fight. Just a little bit (of) bad luck on my part today.”

Ligety and Miller went one-two in Sunday’s giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo. It marked Miller’s first World Cup giant slalom podium in nearly seven years. Miller, 36, also missed all of last season after undergoing knee surgery.

Ligety, Miller and World Cup overall leader Aksel Lund Svindal all failed to finish the first run.

The men’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues with a slalom Sunday in Val d’Isere.

Val d’Isere Giant Slalom
1. Marcel Hirscher (AUT) 2:17.21
2. Thomas Fanara (FRA) 2:17.97
3. Stefan Luitz (GER) 2:18.30
4. Alexis Pinturault (FRA) 2:18.39
5. Roberto Nani (ITA) 2:18.53
6. Luca De Aliprandini (ITA) 2:18.68
7. Matts Olsson (SWE) 2:18.74
8. Manfred Moelgg (ITA) 2:19.16
9. Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR) 2:19.23
10. Fritz Dopfer (GER) 2:19.35

Vuvuzelas, certain ‘printed literature’ banned at Sochi Olympics

Nathan Chen holds off Yuzuru Hanyu to win first Grand Prix

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U.S. champion Nathan Chen opened the Grand Prix season by beating Olympic gold-medal favorite Yuzuru Hanyu.

Chen, 18, held off Hanyu at Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, totaling 293.79 points to win by 3.02 over the Japanese megastar.

Russian Yevgenia Medvedeva easily won the women’s title despite a rare fall in her free skate. Medvedeva is undefeated since 2015 Rostelecom Cup.

Full scores are here.

Chen landed four quadruple jumps in a strong but imperfect free skate for his first Grand Prix title in his second senior international season.

“I got a little tired halfway through the program and started faltering a little bit on the second quad toe – that was a big mistake,” Chen said, according to the International Skating Union .”I can’t let things like that happen in the future. But this is my first Grand Prix win, and I’m very happy with that.”

Hanyu outscored Chen in the free skate, but the American benefited from his 5.69-point lead from Friday’s short program.

Hanyu, the reigning Olympic and world champion, has never won his opening Grand Prix start in eight tries.

He did three quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate rather than the planned five, but did not fall as he did in the short program.

Chen has now outscored Hanyu in three of their last four head-to-head events dating to February. Hanyu got the better of Chen at the most important event — winning the world championships, where the American was sixth.

Also Saturday, two-time world medalists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani won the ice dance with 189.24 points, sweeping both the short and free programs.

The siblings and U.S. champions have now won four straight Grand Prix titles (not counting the Grand Prix Final).

They won by 4.5 points over Russians Yekaterina Bobrova and Dmitry Soloviyev.

The world’s top two couples were not in the field — Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron.

Russia swept the pairs podium, led by world bronze medalists Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov.

The top pairs teams from the rest of the world — including world champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong — were not in the field.

The Rostelecom Cup women’s free skate is later Saturday.

The Grand Prix season continues next weekend with Skate Canada, headlined by three-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner and three-time world champion Patrick Chan.

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Rostelecom Cup
Men
1. Nathan Chen (USA) — 293.79
2. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) — 290.77
3. Mikhail Kolyada (RUS) — 271.06
11. Grant Hochstein (USA) — 206.09

Ice Dance
1. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) — 189.24
2. Yekaterina Bobrova/Dmitry Soloviyev (RUS) — 184.74
3. Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin (RUS) — 179.35
7. Rachel Parsons/Michael Parsons (USA) — 148.75

Pairs
1. Yevgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS) — 224.25
2. Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov (RUS) — 204.43
3. Kristina Astakhova/Aleksey Rogonov (RUS) — 199.11
7. Marissa Castelli/Mervin Tran (USA) — 170.53

Olympic ski cross champion suffers serious knee injury

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Canadian Marielle Thompson, the reigning Olympic and World Cup ski cross champion, ruptured an ACL and MCL in a training crash in Switzerland.

Alpine Canada did not say when the accident happened or what Thompson’s chances are of returning to defend her Olympic title in PyeongChang.

Thompson flew from Switzerland to Vancouver for an MRI that confirmed the injury.

“I’ll be making a plan with my team moving forward and when the time is right getting back on the ski cross course stronger than ever,” Thompson said in a press release.

Thompson, 25, tore a meniscus in January 2015 and returned to competition 11 months later. She won seven of the 13 World Cup races last season.

Other Olympic medal contenders include Swede Sandra Näslund and Swiss Fanny Smith.

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