Andrea Fischbacher

Austrian Fischbacher wins World Cup downhill; Americans struggle

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Andrea Fischbacher exacted a bit of redemption after being left off the Austrian Olympic Team in Sochi, winning the first post-Olympic World Cup race Sunday.

Fischbacher, unable to defend her 2010 Olympic super-G gold, stunned the favorites in a downhill in Crans-Montana, Switzerland. She clocked 1 minute, 34 seconds from late bib No. 29, beating countrywoman Anna Fenninger by .15. Slovenia’s Tina Maze, the co-Olympic downhill champion, was third.

German Maria Hoefl-Riesch padded her overall World Cup lead by finishing ninth. The woman in second place in the standings, Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather, remains out due to injury.

Julia Mancuso was the top American in 18th, followed by Stacey Cook in 21st.

The women’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues with technical events in Are, Sweden, next week, likely marking the return of Olympic slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin.

The spotlight Sunday was on Fischbacher, though. The 28-year-old claimed her first World Cup podium in more than four years, before she won that 2010 Olympic super-G.

She had not been better than eighth in any race this season, the slight drop in form perhaps a big reason why she didn’t earn a trip to Sochi on the deep Austrian team.

Fenninger’s second place kept Hoefl-Riesch from clinching the season downhill title, which will now be decided at the World Cup Finals in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, in two weeks.

Hoefl-Riesch, in what may be her final season, is looking great to finish in the top three of overall points for the seventh straight season. If she maintains her overall lead, she will win the overall title for a second time.

Crans-Montana Downhill
1. Andrea Fischbacher (AUT) 1:34.00
2. Anna Fenninger (AUT) 1:34.15
3. Tina Maze (SLO) 1:34.47
4. Elisabeth Goergl (AUT) 1:34.49
5. Edit Miklos (HUN) 1:34.82
6. Lotte Smiseth Sejersted (NOR) 1:34.83
7. Fabienne Suter (SUI) 1:34.94
8. Nicole Schmidhofer (AUT) 1:35.08
9. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) 1:35.26
10. Dominique Gisin (SUI) 1:35.35
18. Julia Mancuso (USA) 1:36.34
21. Stacey Cook (USA) 1:36.76
30. Laurenne Ross (USA) 1:37.42
31. Jacqueline Wiles (USA) 1:37.96
38. Julia Ford (USA) 1:38.94
40. Leanne Smith (USA) 1:39.74

Career best for American in men’s super-G

2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships to be in San Jose

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The 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the final competition to determine the Pyeongchang Olympic team, will be in San Jose, California, at the SAP Center, concluding Jan. 7.

It appears to be the earliest the U.S. Figure Skating Championships will end in an Olympic year in at least 50 years.

The competition will be broadcast live on NBC and streamed live on Icenetwork.com.

San Jose previously hosted the U.S. Championships in 1996 and 2012, but it has never hosted in an Olympic year.

Sochi Olympian Polina Edmunds is from San Jose and figures to receive a boost of crowd support. Edmunds, 18, begins classes at nearby Santa Clara University next month.

The January 2017 U.S. Championships will be in Kansas City. The international figure skating season starts next month, with Skate America kicking off the Grand Prix season in October.

Recent Nationals host cities in Olympic years were Boston in 2014 and Spokane, Washington, in 2010.

MORE: Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold headline Skate America

Fiji Olympic rugby coach given 3 acres of land, special name

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 11:  Gold medalists Ro Dakuwaqa of Fiji and Fiji head coach Ben Ryan celebrate after the medal ceremony for the Men's Rugby Sevens on Day 6 of the Rio 2016 Olympics at Deodoro Stadium on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
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Olympic coaches don’t receive gold medals. Fiji Olympic men’s rugby coach Ben Ryan may have gotten something better anyway.

Ryan’s reward for guiding Fiji to its first Olympic medal in any sport — gold in rugby sevens’ Olympic debut — included three acres of land in Fiji and a new name, Ratu Peni Raiyani Latianara, according to Fijian reports.

Ryan, a London native, is stepping down as coach of the Fijian team. The 44-year-old coached the team for three years after leading the England national sevens team for six years.

MORE: Fiji wins nation’s first Olympic medal