As we’ve documented over the last several days, the Olympic slopestyle course has given top snowboarders like Norway’s Torstein Horgmo (who broke a collarbone in training Monday and is out of the Games) and Team USA’s Shaun White (who jammed his wrist today) some problems.
However, the skiing contingent – which will also be hosting its inaugural Olympic slopestyle competition in Sochi – appear to be taking the challenging course in stride. While acknowledging its tough nature, they’re staying mostly positive.
“The course is a little rough, but it’s fun,” U.S. skier Nick Goepper told NBCOlympics.com’s Skyler Wilder today. “It’s a little high impact on the jumps because they are big step-downs, but overall it’s pretty sweet. It is just different.
“The rails are interesting, they are a little bit hard to do tricks on, but I think we just have to make do. I’m feeling confident. We’ve had more training than ever, so I think you will see some sick runs in the qualifiers and finals.”
MORE: Ski halfpipe, slopestyle teams include youngest U.S. Winter Olympian since 1972
Not that the course is entirely perfect in the eyes of the skiers. Another American, Joss Christiansen, said to Wilder that ice has been an issue on the course. As a result, he’s hoping for higher temperatures in the days leading up to the competition on Feb. 13.
“They are having a bit of problems, but the park crew is doing a pretty good job,” he said. “They are going to work the kinks out. I’m hoping through the next nine days before we compete that it warms up and gets a little softer. I think that would be a good show if we are all a little more comfortable.”
For more reaction from the training runs, check out Wilder’s story in the first link above.
SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — The head of the Major League Baseball Players Association says it will be difficult for big leaguers to participate at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Baseball returns to Olympics after a 12-year absence for the Tokyo Games, which are scheduled for July 24-Aug. 9 — in the middle of baseball’s season.
“There are challenges with the schedule, and there are challenges with major leaguers being involved,” Tony Clark said Thursday at the Baltimore Orioles’ spring training camp.
In 2008, players on major league 25-man rosters and disabled lists on June 26 were ineligible to play. The U.S. roster included 17 players from Triple-A, seven from Double-A and college pitcher Stephen Strasburg, now with the Washington Nationals.
“It doesn’t mean that we are not continuing to have dialogue. We have going back. We will going forward. Where we land, I don’t know,” Clark said. “One of the things we were able to discuss during this round of bargaining were some additional flexibility in the schedule moving forward. Maybe there are some opportunities for a broader discussion than there have been a year ago. We’ll have to wait and see. We haven’t had that kind of substantive sit down yet.”
Many players are preparing for the fourth edition of World Baseball Classic, an international tournament launched in 2006 that is co-owned by Major League Baseball and the union. Clark hopes to see a fifth edition in 2021.
“I see no reason at this point why it wouldn’t,” he said. “I’m hopeful it continues, understanding that the world we live in four years from now may be different from the one we’re in now.”
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MORE: Some 2020 Olympic baseball games set 150 miles from Tokyo
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lance Armstrong‘s $100 million legal fight with the federal government has been set for a November trial.
U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper on Thursday set a Nov. 6 trial start in Washington. Armstrong’s legal team had asked to postpone trial until 2018 because of a potential scheduling conflict.
The government wants Armstrong to pay back the $32 million the U.S. Postal Service paid his team for sponsorship, plus triple damages.
Armstrong’s former teammate Floyd Landis initially filed the whistle-blower case in 2010, accusing him of violating the sponsorship contract by taking performance-enhancing drugs. The government joined the case in 2013 after Armstrong admitted cheating and was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and 2000 Olympic bronze medal.
Landis, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title for cheating, could collect up to 25 percent of damages awarded.
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MORE: Armstrong intrigued by ultra marathon, obstacle-course races