Julia Mancuso

Julia Mancuso may be rounding into form before Olympics

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Three-time Olympic medalist Julia Mancuso, whose best finish this season is 12th, clocked the fastest training run ahead of four straight days of speed races in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, on Wednesday.

Super-G races Thursday and Sunday and downhills Friday and Saturday will be key in determining Mancuso’s medal chances in Sochi. With Lindsey Vonn out, she is the face of the U.S. women’s speed team.

“Definitely my confidence is getting better and better,” Mancuso said, according to The Associated Press. “Even though we’ve had canceled races I’ve been spending a lot of times on my boots [free] skiing. That’s the most important thing for me — to feel really comfortable and confident on my equipment. … I’ve put in the hours I needed.”

The hope from Mancuso’s struggles this season is that she is seen as a big-event skier, to be able to turn it on at the Olympics or World Championships.

She had never won a World Cup race before taking the 2006 Olympic giant slalom title. In 2010, she was coming off her worst World Cup season in four years and won two silver medals at the Vancouver Olympics.

It was about this time four years ago that Mancuso began to flip the switch. She was a season’s best eighth in a downhill in Cortina on Jan. 23, 2010, and then third in the super-G portion of a super combined one week later.

“I’m sure if I’m skiing well then the results will come,” Mancuso said, according to the AP. “And it doesn’t even matter what place I end up in the races going into it. Even today having a really good training run that’s a really good confidence (booster) for me.”

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Seb Coe splits from Nike as IAAF president

Sebastian Coe
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International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) President Sebastian Coe announced in a press conference Thursday that he dropped his sponsorship deal with Nike, according to reports.

He was sponsored by the brand going back to his days as a professional athlete – he won the 1,500m in 1980 and 1984. His role at Nike included acting as an international advisor and campaign ambassador for “Designed to Move,” aimed at tackling lethargy, Sports Illustrated said.

Coe was voted into office as IAAF president in August for a four-year term, but had since been under scrutiny by British media over the potential conflict of interest. Previously, he acted as the head of the London 2012 Olympic Organizing Committee.

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Hamburg voters to decide on 2024 Olympic bid

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HAMBURG, Germany (AP) – Hamburg’s bid for the 2024 Olympics faces a public referendum Sunday among voters in the north German port city.

Organizers hope the bid that has already been submitted to the International Olympic Committee won’t share the same fate as Munich’s proposed candidacy for the 2022 Winter Games. That bid was rejected in a referendum.

German Olympic Sports Confederation president Alfons Hoermann says “we’re giving the baton to the people of Hamburg and Kiel,” referring to the nearby city where sailing events would be held.

More than 40 percent of the 1.3 million people eligible to vote have already done so through a postal ballot.

Hoermann says “the excellent turnout that has emerged shows the Olympic Games project has been taken on by the city.”

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