Expected to be one of the primary figures in the battle for the first-ever Olympic gold medal in women’s ski jumping, Japan’s Sara Takanashi earned her ninth FIS World Cup win of the season today in windy Hinzenbach, Austria.
The 17-year-old Takanashi, who figures to duel with Team USA’s Sarah Hendrickson for that Sochi gold, will have her final event before the Olympics tomorrow (again at Hinzenbach).
Her jumps of 87.0 and 90 meters led her to a score of 231.7, enough to top Austrian runner-up Daniela Iraschko-Stolz and her score of 226.9 (jumps of 82 and 90.5 meters). Maja Vtic of Slovenia was third (score: 223.5; jumps of 88.5 and 85.0 meters), earning her first career World Cup podium.
“The wind was changing a lot, as you could see,” Takanashi said in an FIS release. “But I did my best and at the end I could win. This success gives me self-confidence for the Olympic Games.”
Takanashi is looking forward to competing in Sochi and, in particular, with Hendrickson – who returned to jumping last month after sustaining a torn ACL, MCL and meniscus in her right knee during a crash in Germany last August.
“It’s not so much fun jumping without [Hendrickson],” she said about her American counterpart in December. “I have learned a lot of things from her. To me, she is a sort of icon rather than a rival. I don’t consider myself champion.”
The inaugural Olympic women’s ski jumping competition takes place on Tuesday, Feb. 11.
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U.S. 800m runner Nick Symmonds‘ right shoulder is apparently twice as valuable as his left shoulder.
The two-time Olympian auctioned ad space on his body for a second straight Olympic summer, with the final bid at $21,800 for nine square inches on his right shoulder in an Ebay auction that ended Thursday afternoon.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere‘s Twitter account claimed the winning bid of 107 overall bids.
In 2012, Symmonds auctioned the same nine inches on his left shoulder for $11,100 to Hanson Dodge Creative, a marketing agency based in Milwaukee. Here’s what that temporary tattoo looked like.
Symmonds’ temporary tattoo was not visible during the 2012 Olympics or 2012 Olympic Trials, as rules mandate the advertisement is taped over in those events plus other IAAF competitions.
Symmonds, 32, finished fifth at the 2012 Olympics and second at the 2013 World Championships.
He was left off the 2015 World Championships roster, after winning the national title, after refusing to sign a USA Track and Field contract that required athletes to wear Nike-branded Team USA gear at team functions at Worlds.
Symmonds’ apparel sponsor has been Brooks since January 2014. He was previously a Nike-sponsored Oregon Track Club member for seven years.
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Karch Kiraly will continue as U.S. women’s volleyball team head coach through the 2020 Olympics, agreeing to a four-year contract renewal.
“It’s been a tremendous honor to lead this special group of intelligent, powerful, hard-working, dedicated women, and the great staff that supports them — and it’s a double honor to prepare for battle at the Rio Olympics, knowing we’ll have the opportunity to carry that work forward in the next quadrennial,” Kiraly said in a press release.
Kiraly, the only U.S. volleyball player to earn indoor and beach Olympic titles, took over after serving on Hugh McCutcheon‘s staff from 2009 through the 2012 Olympics, where the U.S. women took silver behind Brazil.
Kiraly then led the U.S. women to their first World or Olympic title in 2014. They are ranked No. 1 in the world ahead of China and Brazil.
The program has gone 50 years with zero Olympic golds and broke a 62-year World Championship drought in 2014.
Kiraly, 55, is set to become the first coach of multiple U.S. Olympic women’s volleyball teams since Terry Liskevych from 1988 through 1996.
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