Russian husband-and-wife duo win medals in parallel giant slalom

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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

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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