Mark McMorris

Mark McMorris wins Dew Tour slopestyle with Shaun White injured (video)

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There was no Shaun WhiteMark McMorris showdown Sunday. Even if healthy, it’s unlikely White would have taken down the Canadian.

McMorris, a Saskatchewan rider, blew away the snowboard slopestyle field at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships in Breckenridge, Colo. The two-time reigning Winter X Games champion had the best opening run, a conservative (for him) ride that scored 95.00 points.

McMorris went even bigger in his second run, landing a triple cork on the final jump for a 97.80.

“If everything was going good the last run, I was going to do it [the triple],” McMorris, who qualified into the final in 11th place, said on NBCSN. “Sure enough I was headed into the last jump, and I did it. It felt really good.

“I feel like I did my best.”

White led qualifying with a 93.20 on Friday before suffering an ankle injury in Saturday’s halfpipe final.

McMorris, 20, took the mantle as world’s best slopestyle snowboarder after White ruled the discipline a decade ago.

White, 27, won every X Games title from 2003 to 2006 before focusing more on halfpipe. White was fifth at the most recent X Games in January, won by McMorris. He missed Sunday’s anticipated rematch with an ankle injury.

McMorris won by more than five points over Swede Sven Thorgren. Canadian Max Parrot was third. Chas Guldemond was the top American finisher in fifth, taking the lead in the race to make the U.S. Olympic Team.

Breckenridge marked the first of five Olympic selection events for snowboarding and freeskiing. The next four events are on the U.S. Grand Prix schedule — Copper Mountain, Colo., next weekend, followed by Northstar, Calif., Park City, Utah, and Mammoth Mountain, Calif.

The five events will determine Olympians in snowboard halfpipe and the new Olympic events of snowboard slopestyle and ski halfpipe and ski 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 selection events. No more than four athletes can make the U.S. Olympic Team per event. It’s possible fewer than four will be named for some events.

“It’s such an amazing feeling,” McMorris said on NBCSN. “I was so glad to put down what I came out here to do. It’s always nice to get two good runs down. I couldn’t ask to start my season on a better note.”

Breckenridge Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle
1. Mark McMorris (CAN) 97.80
2. Sven Thorgren (SWE) 91.00
3. Max Parrot (CAN) 89.00

Video: American wins ski slopestyle final without poles

Mikaela Shiffrin wins Aspen World Cup slalom

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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
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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.”

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