Russia’s husband-and-wife snowboarding duo of Vic Wild (pictured) and Alena Zavarzina claimed Olympic parallel giant slalom medals within mere minutes of each other today – with Wild defeating Switzerland’s Nevin Galmarini for the men’s gold in the Big Final.
Wild, who was born in America but has represented Russia since marrying Zavarzina in 2011, was down half a second after the first run of the Big Final against Galmarini but came back in the second run to win by 2.14 seconds.
Before Wild and Galmarini settled the gold on the men’s side, Zavarzina had taken the Small Final on the women’s side to grab the bronze after falling in her semifinal against Switzerland’s Patrizia Kummer.
VIDEO: Vic Wild, to Russia, with love
Following the event, Wild and Zavarzina embraced at the bottom of the course.
Husband-and-wife medalists are certainly a noteworthy story. But as Olympic historian Bill Mallon noted in a Twitter reply to NBCOlympics.com’s Nick Zaccardi, it isn’t an uncommon story.
The Big Final for the women’s gold featured Kummer and Japan’s Tomoka Takeuchi, the top-ranked PGS riders on the World Cup circuit. Takeuchi put Kummer down three-tenths of a second after the first run, but fell on the second run to enable Kummer to take the win.
Only one American competed in PGS at Sochi. Justin Reiter was unable to advance out of men’s qualifying and is credited with a 24th place finish.
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MEN’S SNOWBOARDING – PARALLEL GIANT SLALOM
1. Vic Wild (RUS), won Big Final by 2.14 seconds
2. Nevin Galmarini (SUI)
3. Zan Kosir (SLO), won Small Final by 2.26 seconds
24. Justin Reiter (USA), eliminated in Qualifying
WOMEN’S SNOWBOARDING – PARALLEL GIANT SLALOM
1. Patrizia Kummer (SUI), won Big Final by 7.32 seconds
2. Tomoka Takeuchi (JPN)
3. Alena Zavarzina (RUS), won Small Final by 0.82 seconds
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the American sprinters whose raised-fist salutes at the 1968 Olympics are an ageless sign of race-inspired protest, will join the U.S. Olympic team at the White House next week for its meeting with President Barack Obama.
Smith and Carlos were sent home from the Olympics after raising their black-gloved fists in a symbolic protest during the U.S. national anthem. They called it a “human rights salute.”
USOC CEO Scott Blackmun asked them to serve as ambassadors as the federation tries to bring more diversity to its own ranks. They will join the team at the White House next Wednesday, then later that evening at an awards celebration in Washington.
The sprinters have been referenced frequently in the recent protests, spurred by Colin Kaepernick, during national anthems at NFL games. One player, Marcus Peters of the Chiefs, raised his own black-gloved fist before Kansas City’s season opener.
“I think Tommie and John have played an important and positive role in the evolution of our attitudes about diversity and inclusion, not only in the United States but around the world,” Blackmun said Friday night at a dinner to celebrate the U.S. performance in Brazil this summer.
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The men’s marathon world record has been broken five of the last nine years at the Berlin Marathon.
Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang, who broke the world record at the 2013 Berlin Marathon, believes that he can do it again on Sunday, when the race will stream live on the NBC Sports app beginning at 2:30 a.m. ET.
“I’ve trained well and, three years down the line from my world record here, I feel good and believe I have the potential to attempt the world record once more,” he said at today’s press conference, according to the IAAF. “Running at the top level, there is a lot of wear and tear on the body, especially when you are running for a time, but I am very focused on the world record.”
Kipsang clocked 2 hours, 3 minutes, 23 seconds when he broke the world record in 2013. A year later, fellow Kenyan Dennis Kimetto lowered it to 2:02:57 on the same course. Kimetto will not race in Berlin this year.
Kipsang will be challenged by Kenyan compatriot Emmanuel Mutai, who has the fastest time (2:03:13) in the field, and Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele.
Bekele is a three-time Olympic track champion and the 5000m and 10,000m world-record holder, but acknowledged that his marathon personal best of 2:05:04 places him a distant fourth in the field.
“I consider my personal best of 2:05 to be slow compared to the best runners,” he said. “I want to run as fast as I can on Sunday and beat my best.”
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