Ted Ligety

Ted Ligety third in giant slalom won by Marcel Hirscher

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Marcel Hirscher won his second straight World Cup giant slalom, helping keep Ted Ligety off the top step of a GS podium again in Alta Badia, Italy, on Sunday.

Ligety finished third, .63 of a second behind the Austrian. France’s Alexis Pinturault was second as the top three did not change from after the first run.

“I’m happy to see that Ted is beatable and human,” Hirscher said, according to The Associated Press. “We worked really hard over the past year and sometimes we didn’t know if we were doing exactly the right thing. There are so many different (variables).”

American Tim Jitloff matched his best-ever World Cup result in fifth. Bode Miller did not qualify for the second run.

Ligety, the reigning world and World Cup giant slalom champion, is mired in his longest GS race victory drought since the 2011-12 season — two races.

“I’m happy with third,” Ligety said, according to the AP. “I don’t feel like I skied my best but that’s not easy to do every time.

“I’ve had a tough European trip and it’s nice to put in a decent result. It’s not been an easy December for me.”

Ligety, who has won four of the past six season giant slalom titles, trails Hirscher in this season’s race by 60 points after four of eight races.

Jitloff, 28, fell to the snow in exhaustion and/or exultation after his second run.

That’s understandable. Jitloff’s only other top-five was a solo fifth in a giant slalom on Feb. 21, 2009.

“I just felt like I was on and I was doing it right,” said Jitloff, according to the AP. “To come to the place that is the definition of giant slalom racing and throw down a fifth, I couldn’t be happier.”

Miller, who finished second in a giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Dec. 8, did not make the top 30 to earn a second run.

“I was just telling [wife] Morgan, it’s not her fault or [son] Nate’s fault, but I don’t spend nearly the time thinking about skiing that I did in the past,” Miller said, according to the AP. “And I keep making really stupid mistakes.”

The men’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues with a downhill in Bormio, Italy, next Sunday.

Alta Badia Giant Slalom
1. Marcel Hirscher (AUT) 2:37.45
2. Alexis Pinturault (FRA) 2:37.80
3. Ted Ligety (USA) 2:38.03
4. Fritz Dopfer (GER) 2:38.82
5. Tim Jitloff (USA) 2:39.10
5. Felix Neureuther (GER) 2:39.10
7. Benjamin Raich (AUT) 2:39.44
8. Stefan Luitz (GER) 2:39.47
9. Leif Kristian Haugen (NOR) 2:39.59
10. Steve Missillier (FRA) 2:39.71

Sochi Olympic hockey pucks unveiled

Simone Manuel upsets world-record holder again for gold (video)

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Simone Manuel pulled off another upset for gold.

The Olympic 100m free co-gold medalist won the world 100m freestyle title by stunning world-record holder Sarah Sjöström in an American record 52.27 seconds in Budapest on Friday.

The Swede Sjöström took silver in 52.31, followed by Denmark’s Pernille Blume in 52.69. American Mallory Comerford was fourth.

Sjöström was a heavy favorite going into the final, given she clocked 51.71 leading off the 4x100m free relay Sunday, taking .35 off the world record. Sjöström was .08 faster than her world-record pace at the 50-meter mark, but Manuel passed her in the last 10 meters and lowered her personal best by .42.

One year ago, Manuel and Canadian Penny Oleksiak were surprise Rio 100m free co-champions, topping then-world-record holder Cate Campbell of Australia. Campbell skipped worlds.

Manuel became the first U.S. woman to win the world 100m free title since Jenny Thompson in 1998.

She also took back the American record from Comerford, the 19-year-old who lowered it leading off the 4x100m free relay Sunday.

Women’s 100m Freestyle Results
Gold: Simone Manuel (USA) — 52.27
Silver: Sarah Sjöström (SWE) — 52.31
Bronze: Pernille Blume (DEN) — 52.69
4. Mallory Comerford (USA) — 52.77
5. Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) — 52.78
6. Penny Oleksiak (CAN) — 52.94
7. Bronte Campbell (AUS) — 53.18
8. Emma McKeon (AUS) — 53.21

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Yulia Efimova beats Lilly King at worlds; Simone Manuel pulls upset

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Yulia Efimova and Lilly King are even with one round to go.

The Russian took the latest episode of the Cold War swim rivalry, winning her trademark 200m breaststroke at the world championships in Budapest on Friday.

Earlier, American Simone Manuel won the 100m free in an upset, but Efimova was the clear favorite in the 200m breast. The Russian entered worlds with the top time in the world this year by two seconds.

Efimova passed King, four lanes to her right, with less than 100 meters to go and clocked 2:19.64. American Bethany Galat earned silver. King was fourth.

In four career head-to-head events in Rio and Budapest, King won both 100m breast duels, while Efimova finished higher in both 200m breast events.

King and Efimova are both entered in the 50m breast, with the final on Sunday and King the favorite. The 50m breast is not contested at the Olympics.

The women’s 100m free was much closer than the 200m breast on Friday. Manuel stunned world-record holder Sarah Sjöström in an American record 52.27 seconds.

The Swede Sjöström took silver in 52.31, followed by Denmark’s Pernille Blume in 52.69. American Mallory Comerford was fourth.

Sjöström was a heavy favorite going into the final, given she clocked 51.71 leading off the 4x100m free relay Sunday, taking .35 off the world record. Sjöström was .08 faster than her world-record pace at the 50-meter mark, but Manuel passed her in the last 10 meters.

One year ago, Manuel and Canadian Penny Oleksiak were surprise Olympic 100m free co-champions, topping then-world-record holder Cate Campbell of Australia. Campbell skipped worlds.

Manuel became the first U.S. woman to win the world 100m free title since Jenny Thompson in 1998.

The U.S. also grabbed silver and bronze medals in the men’s 200m backstroke.

Russian Yevgeny Rylov won in 1:53.61, with Olympic champion Ryan Murphy nearly chasing him down in the last 50 meters. Murphy ended up six tenths back, followed by countryman Jacob Pebley.

In semifinals, Caeleb Dressel broke the American record in the 50m freestyle to lead the qualifiers into Saturday’s final.

Australian Emily Seebohm was the fastest qualifier into the women’s 200m back final Saturday. Seebohm, the 2015 World champion, is joined by 100m back world-record holder Kylie Masse and silver medalist Kathleen Baker, plus Hungarian superstar Katinka Hosszu and 15-year-old American Regan Smith.

Women’s 100m Freestyle Results
Gold: Simone Manuel (USA) — 52.27
Silver: Sarah Sjöström (SWE) — 52.31
Bronze: Pernille Blume (DEN) — 52.69
4. Mallory Comerford (USA) — 52.77
5. Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) — 52.78
6. Penny Oleksiak (CAN) — 52.94
7. Bronte Campbell (AUS) — 53.18
8. Emma McKeon (AUS) — 53.21

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