Germany’s Carina Vogt wins inaugural women’s ski jumping gold; U.S. shut out

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The first Olympic gold medal for women’s ski jumping has gone to Germany’s Carina Vogt, while Team USA’s trio of competitors and Japan’s all-world jumper, Sara Takanashi, finished out of the medals altogether on the normal hill.

Vogt, who started ski jumping after watching it on television as a young girl, led the event after the first of two final-round jumps.

On her last, she soared 97.5 meters and earned a score of 120.6 for a two-jump score of 247.4 – enough to beat silver medalist Daniela Iraschko-Stolz of Austria by 1.2 points and bronze medalist Coline Mattel of France by 2.2 points.

Hendrickson, the 2013 world champion, was expected to have a say in the outcome despite just coming back recently from a torn right ACL, MCL, and meniscus that she suffered in an August crash.

But she was not a factor in the end, finishing 21st after a final jump of 91.5 meters led to a score of 217.6 that was behind those of fellow Americans Jessica Jerome (10th, 234.1) and Lindsey Van (15th, 227.2).
She did, however, earn the distinction of being the first woman to ever ski jump in the Olympics.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was that Takanashi, who won the World Cup in 2012-13 and had already earned 10 World Cup wins this season going into Sochi, narrowly missed the podium with a fourth-place finish after a score of 243.0.

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WOMEN’S SKI JUMPING – NORMAL HILL FINAL
1. Carina Vogt (GER), 247.4
2. Daniela Iraschko-Stolz (AUT), 246.2
3. Coline Mattel (FRA), 245.2

10. Jessica Jerome (USA), 234.1
15. Lindsey Van (USA), 227.2
21. Sarah Hendrickson (USA), 217.6

Teddy Riner, dominant judoka, to skip 2018, 2019 Worlds

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French judoka Teddy Riner, arguably the world’s most dominant athlete, will reportedly skip the next two world championships before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

French coach Franck Chambily said Riner will compete a light international schedule the next two years ahead of what would be his fourth Olympics, according to Agence France-Presse.

Riner, a 29-year-old, 6-foot-8-inch native of Guadeloupe, is undefeated since 2010 with a reported 144-match winning streak. That includes Olympic titles in 2012 and 2016 and world titles in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Before the streak, Riner also earned world titles in 2007, 2009 and 2010, plus an Olympic bronze at age 19 in 2008.

He could compete through the 2024 Paris Games.

“When I am invincible, I will stop,” Riner said in 2013, according to The Associated Press.

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Maggie Nichols wins NCAA all-around title with perfect 10

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Even after a perfect 10 in the last rotation, Maggie Nichols didn’t know that she had won the NCAA all-around title. Her coach at Oklahoma, K.J. Kindler, had to tell her.

The reaction?

“Excitement,” Nichols said Friday night on ESPNU. “I just wanted to go out there and feel out the equipment, staying calm and doing my routines that I have been doing in training.”

Nichols, a 2015 World team champion who retired from elite gymnastics after missing the 2016 Olympic team (set back by a torn meniscus that year), became the first Sooner to win the NCAA all-around in 30 years.

The sophomore tallied 39.8125 points and topped Olympic alternate MyKayla Skinner of Utah by .0875 for the title in St. Louis. It came one year after Nichols was 29th in the all-around with a balance beam fall.

Oklahoma and Utah will be joined in Saturday night’s Super Six team finals by UCLA, LSU, Florida and Nebraska. The Sooners eye their third straight national title.

Nichols capped her night with one of two perfect scores between the two semifinal sessions, matching 2012 Olympic alternate Elizabeth Price‘s 10 on uneven bars. It gave Nichols a second career gym slam, a perfect score on every apparatus for the season.

On Jan. 9, Nichols came forward as “Athlete A,” who first reported to USA Gymnastics that she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar in summer 2015.

“She has had a really unique year probably like no one else, and her strength showed through,” Kindler said Friday, according to the University of Oklahoma. “It was tough, and to come out on this side this year is really special.”

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