Ted Ligety

Ted Ligety third in giant slalom won by Marcel Hirscher

Leave a comment

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

Teddy Riner, dominant judoka, to skip 2018, 2019 Worlds

Getty Images
Leave a comment

French judoka Teddy Riner, arguably the world’s most dominant athlete, will reportedly skip the next two world championships before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

French coach Franck Chambily said Riner will compete a light international schedule the next two years ahead of what would be his fourth Olympics, according to Agence France-Presse.

Riner, a 29-year-old, 6-foot-8-inch native of Guadeloupe, is undefeated since 2010 with a reported 144-match winning streak. That includes Olympic titles in 2012 and 2016 and world titles in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Before the streak, Riner also earned world titles in 2007, 2009 and 2010, plus an Olympic bronze at age 19 in 2008.

He could compete through the 2024 Paris Games.

“When I am invincible, I will stop,” Riner said in 2013, according to The Associated Press.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Lance Armstrong settles $100M lawsuit with U.S. government

Maggie Nichols wins NCAA all-around title with perfect 10

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Even after a perfect 10 in the last rotation, Maggie Nichols didn’t know that she had won the NCAA all-around title. Her coach at Oklahoma, K.J. Kindler, had to tell her.

The reaction?

“Excitement,” Nichols said Friday night on ESPNU. “I just wanted to go out there and feel out the equipment, staying calm and doing my routines that I have been doing in training.”

Nichols, a 2015 World team champion who retired from elite gymnastics after missing the 2016 Olympic team (set back by a torn meniscus that year), became the first Sooner to win the NCAA all-around in 30 years.

The sophomore tallied 39.8125 points and topped Olympic alternate MyKayla Skinner of Utah by .0875 for the title in St. Louis. It came one year after Nichols was 29th in the all-around with a balance beam fall.

Oklahoma and Utah will be joined in Saturday night’s Super Six team finals by UCLA, LSU, Florida and Nebraska. The Sooners eye their third straight national title.

Nichols capped her night with one of two perfect scores between the two semifinal sessions, matching 2012 Olympic alternate Elizabeth Price‘s 10 on uneven bars. It gave Nichols a second career gym slam, a perfect score on every apparatus for the season.

On Jan. 9, Nichols came forward as “Athlete A,” who first reported to USA Gymnastics that she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar in summer 2015.

“She has had a really unique year probably like no one else, and her strength showed through,” Kindler said Friday, according to the University of Oklahoma. “It was tough, and to come out on this side this year is really special.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Nastia Liukin among gymnastics Hall of Fame inductees