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

What to watch at Drake Relays, Penn Relays

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Olympic gold medalists ramp up their track and field seasons at the Penn Relays and Drake Relays, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold this weekend.

Athletes are working toward the U.S. Championships in June and the world championships in August.

First, the historic Penn Relays will air on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold on Friday (5:30-6:30 p.m. ET) and Saturday (12:30-3 p.m. ET).

USA vs. The World in men’s and women’s 4x100m, 4x400m and sprint medley relays will air live on Saturday from Franklin Field in Philadelphia. A full schedule is here.

The U.S. teams are led by Olympic relay champions English Gardner and Natasha Hastings. The full roster is here.

Rio Olympic rematches highlight the individual-event fields at the Drake Relays in Des Moines on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold from 3-5 p.m ET on Saturday. A full schedule is here.

Perhaps no field is deeper than the 100m hurdles. World-record holder Keni Harrison takes on Rio silver and bronze medalists Kristi Castlin and Nia Ali, plus 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson.

The 110m hurdles contingent is strong as well. It features the last two Olympic champions, Jamaican Omar McLeod and American Aries Merritt, plus 2013 World champion David Oliver.

Grenada’s Kirani James and American LaShawn Merritt, who earned silver and bronze in Rio, go head-to-head again in the 400m at Drake.

The men’s 1500m is headlined by Rio Olympic 800m bronze medalist Clayton Murphy and London Olympic 1500m silver medalist Leo Manzano.

Rio bronze medalist Jenny Simpson races individually for the first time this year in the women’s 1500m.

That field also includes New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin, who gained fame of her own in Rio. Hamblin and American Abbey D’Agostino fell in an Olympic 5000m heat and helped each other make it to the finish line. Both were praised for their sportsmanship.

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IOC president unsure whether esports should be considered sport

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Esports are gaining momentum in the international sports movement, but they are not close to becoming an Olympic sport.

“We are not yet 100 percent clear whether esports is really sport, with regard to physical activity and what it needs to be considered sport,” IOC president Thomas Bach said Tuesday, according to insidethegames. “We do not see an organization or a structure that will give us confidence, or guarantee, that in this area the Olympic rules and values of sport are respected and in place, and that the implementation of these rules are monitored and secured.”

The first clear step (of many) to become an Olympic sport is for the IOC to recognize the sport’s international governing body.

Esports will be added as a medal sport to the Asian Games in 2022, and has been praised by LA 2024 Olympic bid chairman Casey Wasserman, but it is not yet IOC recognized.

“We are watching it, we see the differences, we see the lack of organisation,” Bach said, according to the report. “But we also see the high engagement of youth in esports. Therefore, we have to carefully consider how this could be consolidated.”

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