Maria Hoefl-Riesch

Maria Hoefl-Riesch crashes in World Cup Finals downhill (video)

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Maria Hoefl-Riesch crashed, landed into netting and screamed repeatedly at the World Cup Finals downhill in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, on Wednesday.

She suffered a shoulder injury and was taken away by helicopter, according to reports.

“She has pain in the shoulder and back on the right side,” Germany team spokesman Ralph Eder said, according to The Associated Press. “We don’t know yet but we don’t expect any fracture or (dislocation).”

Update: Hoefl-Riesch is done for the season due to injuries sustained in the crash, according to reports.

The German Hoefl-Riesch lost her World Cup overall points lead to Austrian Anna Fenninger, who was sixth in Wednesday’s race.

Swiss Lara Gut won in 1 minute, 32.31 seconds, .05  better than Austrian Elisabeth Goergl. Swiss Fraenzi Aufdenblatten was third.

Hoefl-Riesch entered the four-race World Cup Finals with a 29-point lead over Fenninger in a tight race for the overall title and crystal globe trophy. Hoefl-Riesch has finished in the top three of the overall standings each of the previous six seasons and was looking for the second overall title of her career.

A 10-time Olympic and world medalist, Hoefl-Riesch, 29, has said she may retire after this season. She clinched the season downhill title Wednesday. It’s unknown if Hoefl-Riesch will be able to enter the remaining races this week, starting with a super-G on Thursday.

Fenninger, 24, appears very likely to win her first overall title now after winning gold and silver at the Sochi Olympics. She leads Hoefl-Riesch by 11 points and Gut by 235 with three races to go. Race winners receive 100 points, followed by 80 points for second place and on down the line.

Americans Julia Mancuso and Stacey Cook were 10th and 18th on Wednesday.

Lenzerheide Downhill
1. Lara Gut (SUI) 1:32.31
2. Elisabeth Goergl (AUT) 1:32.36
3. Fraenzi Aufdenblatten (SUI) 1:32.88
4. Fabienne Suter (SUI) 1:33.15
5. Andrea Fischbacher (AUT) 1:33.27
6. Anna Fenninger (AUT) 1:33.38
7. Nicole Schmidhofer (AUT) 1:33.41
8. Daniela Merighetti (ITA) 1:33.58
9. Dominique Gisin (SUI) 1:33.60
10. Julia Mancuso (USA) 1:33.65
18. Stacey Cook (USA) 1:35.28

Final World Cup Downhill Standings
1. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) — 504
2. Anna Fenninger (AUT) — 464
3. Tina Maze (SLO) — 409
15. Julia Mancuso (USA) — 160
17. Stacey Cook (USA) — 156

Ligety stuns in men’s downhill

Jennie Finch to manage baseball team for one day

Jennie Finch
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Athens Olympic softball champion Jennie Finch will manage the Bridgeport Bluefish, an independent minor-league baseball team on Sunday and, reportedly, become the first woman to manage a men’s pro baseball team.

Finch, a pitcher, retired from softball in 2010, two years after her sport’s Olympic farewell in Beijing, where she and the U.S. took silver behind Japan.

Finch has been an advocate for softball’s return to the Olympics, which could happen in Tokyo 2020.

The International Olympic Committee is expected to decide in August if baseball and softball, among four other sports, will be added for the Tokyo Games.

Finch, who is married to former MLB pitcher Casey Daigle, is also known for having struck out Albert Pujols.

MORE: Jennie Finch, Lisa Fernandez weigh in on Mo’ne Davis

Looking fwd to guest managing the Bridgeport Bluefish this Sunday! ⚾️ #Baseball #BridgeportBluefish

A photo posted by Jennie Finch (@jfinch27) on

Justin Gatlin, alter ego trailed by film crew for documentary

Justin Gatlin
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Justin Gatlin swears he’s not as bad as he’s made out to be.

He calls his alter ego “J Gat.” And that’s someone you don’t want to mess with.

Before a race, the mild-mannered American sprinter says he transforms himself into the feisty guy named “J Gat,” a nickname he’s given to a version of himself that wants to take over the world from archrival Usain Bolt. Their rivalry heading into the Rio de Janeiro Olympics has sometimes been portrayed as “Good vs. Evil” given Gatlin’s doping history.

“I don’t accept myself being the bad guy,” Gatlin said. “I’m a winner. I’m a competitor. I’m a brave person. I’m a good person. I know this about myself and I have to act like that.”

“J Gat” to the rescue. He runs with fury and looks “mean and intimidating” when caught on camera after races.

That’s not the real Justin Gatlin.

“Justin has only gotten as far as starting line. After the gun goes off, it’s never Justin. It’s always as ‘J Gat,'” Gatlin said. “I’m a whole different person away from track.”

To illustrate that, Gatlin is making a documentary. The 34-year-old will have a film crew trailing him around at the Prefontaine Classic this weekend in Eugene, Ore., to record his every move.

One caveat: Stay out of the way of “J Gat.” You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry. (Case in point: gesturing toward a heckler who was bothering his mother in the stands during the awards ceremony at Worlds last summer).

“A lot of athletes get consumed by the Hollywood lights,” said Gatlin, who will face a 100m field at Pre that includes Americans Tyson Gay and Mike Rodgers, along with Asafa Powell of Jamaica. “I’m like, ‘We can make this story, but I have to still do my job. We have to coexist together. I can’t give you my undivided attention and go off and start losing races.'”

There’s no working title yet for the film or date when it will air. And no subject is out of bounds, including his doping past. The 2004 Olympic 100m gold medalist tested positive for excessive testosterone in 2006, was reinstated from his ban on July 24, 2010, and returned to capture bronze at the London Games two years later.

He’s been one of Bolt’s biggest threats ever since.

“The theme of (the movie) is basically my journey,” Gatlin said.

Gatlin recently showed the roughly 90-second trailer to his 6-year-old son, whose first words were: “Play it again, dad.”

“That was the cutest thing ever,” Gatlin said. “He’s like, ‘I have to be faster than a cheetah to keep up with you, dad.’ That makes me proud.”

The trailer shows flashes of Gatlin stretching, lifting weights and sprinting. In one scene, he said: “If I could do this forever, I would. I love the pain I get from training. I know that it’s a pain of growth. Inside, I’m infinity.”

Gatlin said he’ll race at least through the 2020 Tokyo Olympics so his son could be there.

“I’d like to give that to him as a gift,” Gatlin said. “Even if I don’t win in 2020, just to be able to be on the team.”

Gatlin’s times in the 100 have been slower this season, running 9.94 seconds so far compared with 9.74 this time a year ago.

All by design.

He’s treating the early season races more like rounds so he can work on his form. Gatlin believes he has the speed to keep up with Bolt, but needs to execute his style of race.

That didn’t happen in Beijing at the World Championships last summer. Gatlin was a slight favorite in the 100m given that Bolt wasn’t exactly race sharp. Gatlin was neck-and-neck with the Jamaican, but over-strided with about 15 meters left. Gatlin went into his lean too early, paving the way for Bolt to capture gold yet again.

“It’s all a process,” Gatlin said. “Sometimes, processes are rewarding and sometimes processes are painful.”

Before a 100m showdown with Bolt can occur in Rio de Janeiro, Gatlin has to make Team USA at the Olympic Trials in July. It’s not an easy task with sprinters such as Gay, Rodgers, Trayvon Bromell and Gatlin contending for three spots. Gatlin also will try to earn a place in the 200m.

To assist him, he will summon “J Gat.”

“Very rarely will you find an athlete that calls me Justin,” Gatlin said. “It’s always ‘J Gat.’ Justin has never run a race.”

MORE: Five events to watch at Pre Classic; broadcast schedule