Ted Ligety suffers DNF on last slalom run; Austria’s Mario Matt wins

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Giant slalom winner Ted Ligety of the U.S. (pictured) was unable to come up with a second medal at the Sochi Olympics.

Ligety was one of multiple big names that failed to finish the second run of today’s men’s slalom as the world’s best found the Rosa Khutor course especially problematic.

The American had finished sixth after the first run at just .11 of a second off the bronze medal position.

With Ligety’s DNF, the U.S. Alpine skiing squad will end their Sochi Olympics with five medals: The golds from Ligety and Mikaela Shiffrin in women’s slalom, the silver and bronze in super-G from Andrew Weibrecht and Bode Miller respectively, and the bronze from Julia Mancuso in the super combined.

Afterwards, Ligety told NBCOlympics.com’s Alan Abrahamson that he wasn’t too upset over the outcome:

Austria’s Mario Matt, who’s won two world titles but did not qualify to compete four years ago in Vancouver, won the gold with a second run that helped him knock off countryman Marcel Hirscher by .28 of a second on two-run aggregate time.

Matt, who will turn 35 in April, is now the oldest Olympic champion ever in Alpine skiing. He’s taken that distinction from Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt, who won the 2006 men’s super-G at 34 years, 170 days.

Prior to Matt’s breakthrough today, the Olympics had not been kind to him. He didn’t compete at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games either due to injury, and while he made the 2006 Torino Games, he finished 34th in the combined and skied out of his first run in the slalom.

Poor performances kept him out of Vancouver, but he’s come back in recent years. He claimed bronze in the slalom at the 2013 worlds, and became the oldest to win a World Cup slalom event last December.

Hirscher, the reigning world champion in the slalom, now has his first Olympic medal after two near-misses in Vancouver (fourth, giant slalom; fifth, slalom) and an earlier one in these Sochi Games (fifth in GS).

Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen, 19 years and 235 days old, won the bronze to become the youngest-ever men’s medalist in Olympic Alpine skiing.

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ALPINE SKIING – MEN’S SLALOM
1. Mario Matt (AUT), 1:41.84

2. Marcel Hirscher (AUT), 1:42.12
3. Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR), 1:42:67

U.S. senators speak up as women’s hockey worlds near with no resolution

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Sixteen U.S. senators wrote a letter to USA Hockey’s executive director Monday over their concerns about the treatment of the women’s national team.

Players have threatened to boycott the upcoming world championships over a wage dispute. The senators, all Democrats, urged David Ogrean to resolve the matter and ensure the team receives “equitable resources.” They cited the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act.

USA Hockey’s board of directors meets Monday, and players said Sunday night they hope there’s a deal.

The senators, all Democrats, joined a chorus of support that includes unions representing players from the NHL, NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball. Those organizations said over the weekend they stood with the women’s team and criticized USA Hockey for attempting to find replacement players.

Prominent NHL agent Allan Walsh tweeted Sunday, “Word circulating among NHL players that American players will refuse to play in men’s World Championships in solidarity with the women.”

Zach Bogosian, an American-born Buffalo Sabres defenseman, went to high school with U.S. captain Meghan Duggan. He tweeted his support and said he hopes the dispute is resolved.

The U.S. is the defending champion at the International Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship, which begins Friday in Plymouth, Michigan.

In negotiations over the past 15 months, players have asked for a four-year contract that pays them outside the six-month Olympic period. The senators’ letter notes the $6,000 that players earn around the Olympics and USA Hockey’s $3.5 million annual spending on the men’s national team development program and other discrepancies.

“These elite athletes indeed deserve fairness and respect, and we hope you will be a leader on this issue as women continue to push for equality in athletics,” the senators wrote.

In a statement Sunday night, players said they hoped USA Hockey would approve terms discussed during a meeting last week. They said the agreement has the “potential to be a game changer for everyone.”

The letter was signed by: Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Patty Murray of Washington, Dianne Feinstein of California, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Thomas Carper of Delaware, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Robert Menendez and Cory Booker of New Jersey, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

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Ugandan Olympian’s body shuts down at World Cross-Country Champs (video)

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Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei went from leading the race to finishing 30th in the final kilometer at the World Cross-Country Championships in Kampala, Uganda, on Sunday.

Cheptegei, a 20-year-old Olympian, saw his body shut down in the last four minutes of his race.

His stride shortened. His pace slowed. Cheptegei appeared on the verge of falling. At one point, a teammate deliberately pushed him from behind to keep going.

Cheptegei led by 12 seconds going into the final two-kilometer lap. He would finish 1 minute, 44 seconds behind Kenyan winner Geoffrey Kamworor, with 28 other runners separating them after the 10km race that took about a half-hour.

Cheptegei’s body movement looked similar to that of British triathlete Jonny Brownlee, who had to be helped to the finish line by brother Alistair Brownlee at the World Triathlon Series Grand Final in Cozumel, Mexico, in September.

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