Jeremy Abbott

Jeremy Abbott brings queen-sized blow-up mattress to Sochi

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SOCHI – Rest assured: Jeremy Abbott is sleeping well at night.

The American who had a dismal performance at the 2010 Vancouver Games said he’s brought his own mattress to the Sochi Games, righting something that went very wrong for him on his way to a ninth-place finish in Vancouver.

“I brought a queen-sized air mattress,” Abbott told NBCOlympics.com after his practice Monday afternoon at the Iceberg Skating Palace. “I did not do well on the twin bed in Vancouver.”

“[The mattress] is really high; it’s a legitimate bed,” Abbott, 28, said. “Getting it here was a pain; it weighs 25 pounds. I literally packed a suitcase just for the bed, but it’s definitely worth it.”

MORE: Abbott’s early Olympic memories

Abbott has said in the past that he suffered for much of his career from not being able to sleep through the night, a struggle he said had mostly subsided in an October interview. Abbott said in Sochi that Vancouver was no different from aforementioned struggles.

“I toss and turn a lot. For the two and a half weeks I was in Vancouver I didn’t sleep one full night because I was always afraid that I was going to roll off the bed.”

Abbott rolled through his practice session Monday, landing his opening quad-triple combination once in his warm-up and again in his short-program run through. The veteran won the U.S. Championships last month with a record-setting short program, holding off a surging Jason Brown in the free skate.

“It was a good practice. I ran my short program for stamina and it went really well,” Abbott said. “The quad felt good.”

Abbott said the ice in Sochi had a lot of spring, something he liked.

After winning at Nationals in 2010, Abbott said he felt crushed by expectations leading into the Vancouver Games. This time around the Olympics feel shockingly “normal,” he said.

“I never in my life thought I would say this, but it feels all normal, all natural,” Abbott said, laughing. “It’s kind of bizarre to be at the Olympics and think, ‘Yeah, this is normal.'”

“I’m extremely comfortable here. I brought a lot of stuff from home to make sure that I had all of my creature comforts that I would have normally. I think I did it all the right way.”

Francesco Friedrich wins historic fourth straight bobsled world title

German bob team, Francesco Friedrich, right, and Thorsten Margis, celebrate their victory  after the men's  two-man bob race at the  Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Championships at Lake Koenigssee, Germany, Sunday Feb. 19. 2017. (Angelika Warmuth/dpa via AP)
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KOENIGSSEE, Germany (AP) — Germany’s Francesco Friedrich was again fastest in both runs to extend his lead and beat Justin Kripps of Canada for his fourth straight world championship in two-man bobsled on Sunday.

Friedrich, who held a 0.52-lead from Saturday’s opening heats, clocked 49.17 seconds and then 48.94 with his brakeman Thorsten Margis for a combined time of 3 minutes, 16.71 seconds after four runs — 1.20 ahead of Kripps and Jesse Lumsden.

The 26-year-old Friedrich says “We were simply unbeatable this week.”

Germany’s Johannes Lochner was 1.25 back in third with Joshua Bluhm, ahead of Oskars Kibermanis and Matiss Miknis of Latvia, Nick Poloniato and Neville Wright of Canada, and Oskars Melbardis and Janis Strenga of Latvia.

American pilot Steven Holcomb was seventh with Carlo Valdes, 1.68 back.

A skeleton and bobsled team competition was scheduled later Sunday.

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Marcel Hirscher reclaims slalom title, wraps up ‘perfect worlds’

ST MORITZ, SWITZERLAND - FEBRUARY 17:  Gold medalist Marcel Hirscher of Austria celebrates on the podium following the Men's Giant Slalom during the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships on February 17, 2017 in St Moritz, Switzerland.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
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Austrian Marcel Hirscher reclaimed the slalom world title, wrapping up what he called “the perfect world championships” with two golds and one silver in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on Sunday.

Hirscher, the five-time reigning World Cup overall champion, prevailed by .68 of a second combining two runs. Fellow Austrian Manuel Feller earned silver, followed by German Felix Neureuther, .93 behind.

Hirscher’s biggest slalom rival, Henrik Kristoffersen, was a disappointing fourth, giving Norway fourth-place finishers in all five men’s events at worlds.

The top American was David Chodounsky in 12th.

Full Results | Race Replay

Hirscher led by .43 after the morning run and had the third-fastest second run. He finished worlds with golds in the giant slalom and slalom and silver in the super combined, missing gold by .01. All that despite entering worlds sick, reportedly spending days ill in bed.

He said that super combined silver, and especially his maiden GS title, took the pressure off Sunday.

“It was super easy for me, mentally, to [go] into this race,” Hirscher said. “It doesn’t matter if I straddle at the first gate. The only thing that wouldn’t be fine is skiing slow.”

Hirscher is en route to his sixth straight World Cup overall title this season. No other man has won that many, consecutive or not. He previously won the slalom world title in 2013, then was upset at the Sochi Olympics, taking silver behind countryman Mario Matt, who at 34 became the oldest Olympic Alpine champion.

Hirscher led the 2015 Worlds slalom by .88 after the first run, then straddled a gate near the end of the second run while his lead was evaporating.

Hirscher has already proven his excellence on the World Cup and world championships stages. It’s PyeongChang where he must deliver, since he lacks Olympic gold. Hirscher is only 27 years old, but he has cast doubt on going all the way to the 2022 Winter Games.

Feller, 24, took surprise silver without a World Cup podium to his name.

Neureuther earned his third straight world slalom medal, but none have been gold.

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