Ted Ligety

Ted Ligety’s super combined win key for Sochi medal hopes

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Ted Ligety notched a World Cup victory Friday that will boost his multiple-medal chances at the Olympics.

The American captured a super combined race in Wengen, Switzerland. He had the second fastest morning slalom run and the 13th fastest afternoon downhill to win in a total time of 2 minutes, 44.74 seconds.

France’s Alexis Pinturault was second, .22 behind, followed by Croatia’s Natko Zrncic-Dim.

Overall World Cup leader Aksel Lund Svindal was fifth with the fastest downhill time. Bode Miller was ninth, his fourth top 10 of the season.

Ligety won his 20th career World Cup race, but the previous 19 were giant slaloms. He had not made a podium in a World Cup race outside giant slalom in more than four years.

That stat was somewhat forgotten when Ligety won three gold medals at the 2013 World Championships, including in the super combined. He was instantly marked as a contender for three gold medals.

But Ligety posted one top-10 in the first seven non-giant slalom World Cup races this season before Friday. He had finished 27th, DNF and DNF in the first three World Cup races in 2014.

“January’s been a tough month for me so far,” Ligety said. “It’s nice to kind of turn the corner, I guess.”

This was the first super combined of the season, and Ligety is the 2006 Olympic champion in the combined, a race no longer contested at the Olympics that included not one but two slalom runs and a downhill.

The men’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues with a downhill in Wengen on Saturday.

Snow caused officials to switch the format Friday, going with slalom in the morning and downhill in the afternoon. Ligety was the first skier off in the slalom.

“To run first was definitely an advantage,” he said, according to The Associated Press. “The snow was pretty bad up there.”

Victory helicopter ride to the press conference. #perks #wengen #supercombi

A video posted by Ted Ligety (@ted_ligety) on

Wengen Super Combined
1. Ted Ligety (USA) 2:44.74
2. Alexis Pinturault (FRA) 2:44.96
3. Natko Zrncic-Dim (CRO) 2:45.82
4. Sandro Viletta (SUI) 2:46.12
5. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) 2:46.22
6. Thomas Mermillod Blondin (FRA) 2:46.30
7. Christof Innerhofer (ITA) 2:46.64
8. Matthias Mayer (AUT) 2:46.80
9. Bode Miller (USA) 2:46.89
10. Peter Fill (ITA) 2:47.04
20. Jared Goldberg (USA) 2:48.29
28. Andrew Weibrecht (USA) 2:50.15

Photos: Hockey goalie’s mask has Constitution removed

Katie Ledecky throws first pitch as Bryce Harper holds medals (video)

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Katie Ledecky‘s first pitch at a Washington Nationals game Wednesday was an easy strike. Taking care of her medals, however, was a bit more time-consuming.

Near the mound before the pitch, it took Ledecky 25 seconds to take off each of her five 2016 Olympic medals from around her neck and hand them to reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper.

“We kind of planned that,” Ledecky said in a TV interview. “When I got to the park today, I proposed that idea. I guess Bryce offered. He wanted to be the one that held them.”

Ledecky, a native of Bethesda, Maryland, previously threw first pitches at Nationals Park after her first Olympic title in 2012, when she was 15 years old, and at the start of the 2014 playoffs.

Ledecky is leaving the D.C. area to begin classes at Stanford. She is expected to swim collegiately this season. The first meet is Sept. 25.

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Michael Phelps co-hosts ‘America’s Got Talent’ (video)

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Michael Phelps co-hosted “America’s Got Talent” with Nick Cannon on NBC on Wednesday, taking a seat between judges Mel B and Heidi Klum, three days after the Rio Olympic Closing Ceremony.

Phelps said he and his fianceé, Nicole, watch the show regularly after dinner.

Cannon asked Phelps to reflect on completing his career with 23 Olympic gold medals.

“At that moment was when all the emotions came out, because I was finally happy with everything that I did in my career, and I was able to retire how I wanted to,” Phelps said. “But, most importantly, I had our first child in the stands there watching the race. He wasn’t always awake, but it’s a completely different experience being able to look up and see your baby boy up there after a race.”

The whole episode is here.

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