Bode Miller

Bode Miller strong in Val Gardena downhill; Canadian wins

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Bode Miller posted his best finish in three downhill races this season Saturday, his comeback campaign from major knee surgery.

Miller, 36, was fifth in Val Gardena, Italy, coming in behind a podium of three more skiers who recorded their best results in months or years.

“I’ve been skiing well,” Miller said, according to the U.S. Ski Team. “The fact is we just don’t have the whole thing together right now. We’re close, and we’re getting there.”

Canadian Erik Guay won in 1 minute, 56.65 seconds. The 2011 world downhill champion won a World Cup race for the first time since March 11, 2010.

Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud was second, .12 behind, his best World Cup finish since March 4, 2012. The Olympic silver medalist tore an ACL at the World Championships in February.

Frenchman Johan Clarey was third, matching his best World Cup result from Dec. 19, 2009. World Cup overall leader Aksel Lund Svindal was fourth.

Miller, a five-time Olympic medalist, continued to improve a day after taking eighth in a super-G. His best finish this season was second in a giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Dec. 8, but Miller is thought to be a better Sochi medal threat in speed events downhill and super-G.

Miller underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee Feb. 20, 2012, and missed all of the 2012-13 season.

“I skied pretty well, but it’s one of those courses where there’s not enough to it to bring it back in with my technical ability,” Miller said.

The men’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues with a giant slalom in Alta Badia, Italy, on Sunday. American world and World Cup giant slalom champion Ted Ligety is the favorite.

Val Gardena Downhill
1. Erik Guay (CAN) 1:56.65
2. Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) 1:56.77
3. Johan Clarey (FRA) 1:56.89
4. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) 1:56.94
5. Bode Miller (USA) 1:57.04
6. Patrick Kueng (SUI) 1:57.28
7. Manny Osborne-Paradis (CAN) 1:57.45
8. Werner Heel (ITA) 1:57.51
9. Jan Hudec (CAN) 1:57.55
10. Peter Fill (ITA) 1:57.57
13. Erik Fisher (USA) 1:57.79
16. Marco Sullivan (USA) 1:58.08
19. Travis Ganong (USA) 1:58.41
38. Jared Goldberg (USA) 1:59.67
40. Andrew Weibrecht (USA) 1:59.84
48. Nick Daniels (USA) 2:00.50
DNF. Steven Nyman (USA)

Lindsey Vonn fails to finish Val d’Isere downhill

Syria-born Olympian takes advocacy role at U.N. refugee agency

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GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. refugee agency has chosen as a goodwill ambassador a Syrian teenage girl who helped save a boat carrying fellow refugees and later became an Olympic swimmer.

Yusra Mardini was appointed as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador on Thursday, joining other notables like actress Cate Blanchett and author Khaled Hosseini in the unpaid advocacy role.

UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said Mardini “represents the hopes, the fears and the incredible potential of the more than 10 million young refugees around the globe.”

Mardini and her sister Sarah jumped overboard and swam for hours alongside their overloaded boat to reach Greece from Turkey in 2015.

She swam on the first Refugee Olympic team in Rio last year and has discussed refugees’ challenges with leaders like Pope Francis and President Barack Obama.

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Rafael Nadal recreates famous 1992 Olympic cauldron lighting

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Rafael Nadal, owner of two Olympic gold medals, recently parroted arguably the most famous moment in Spanish Olympic history.

Nadal and Marc Lopez, the 2016 Olympic doubles champions, took up bows and arrows and joined archer Antonio Rebollo on Monday at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Stadium. It brought back memories of Rebollo’s unforgettable cauldron lighting from the only Olympics held in Spain.

Nadal is in Barcelona for an ATP Tour event as he prepares to vie for a 10th French Open title next month.

Rebollo, now 61 years old, was one of 200 hundred archers considered to light the cauldron in 1992. He learned that he was chosen for the role over four other finalists two hours ahead of time, according to an NBC Olympics profile in 1996.

The cauldron would be 195 feet away. Fearing Rebollo would miss the target, organizers instructed him to fire his arrow beyond the stadium walls. As the arrow soared, a technician lit the natural gas flame with a remote control.

The illusion worked. The true story wasn’t revealed for another 20 years.

“There were no fears,” Rebollo, a Barcelona native who contracted polio at age 8, told NBC two decades ago. “I was practically a robot. I focused on my positioning and reaching the target. That was all. … My feelings were taken from the people who described to me how they saw it. What they felt, their emotions, their cries. This is what made me realize what the moment actually meant.”

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