Maria Hoefl-Riesch

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

Leave a comment

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

Nick Goepper opens Olympic qualifying on podium; contenders crash out

Getty Images
Leave a comment

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. — U.S. Olympic men’s ski slopestyle qualifying is underway with Sochi bronze medalist Nick Goepper delivering the first blow.

Goepper finished second at Dew Tour Breckenridge, taking the early edge in Olympic qualifying.

With a victory at any of the remaining selection events, Goepper would be looking good for one of up to four spots on the team for PyeongChang.

“I was really hoping to ski my best today, and I think I skied 98 percent,” Goepper said. “The Olympic selection podium is a bonus and eases the pressure a little bit for the next couple, but the pressure wasn’t really there. I’m just thinking of these as individual events [instead of Olympic qualifiers].”

Alex Hall (fifth place) and Sochi silver medalist Gus Kenworthy (sixth place) also got their Olympic qualifying attempts off to a decent start, but in order to be automatically nominated to the Olympic team, skiers need a minimum of two top-three finishes among five selection events.

Goepper was the only U.S. skier able to crack the podium in Breckenridge.

Sweden’s Henrik Harlaut (first place) and Norway’s Oystein Braaten (third place) played the role of spoiler for the rest of the U.S. team. Harlaut and Braaten are both considered medal contenders for PyeongChang.

Crashes took their toll on several U.S. Olympic hopefuls.

McRae Williams, the reigning world champion, was forced to drop out after crashing on his first run. Colby Stevenson and 2014 Olympian Bobby Brown also did not finish the contest after taking spills of their own.

The contest also missed the reigning Olympic gold medalist. Joss Christensen sat out the event as he rehabs from a torn ACL but plans to return in January for the final four selection events.

On the women’s side, Maggie Voisin remains on track for a nomination to the U.S. Olympic team.

She finished fourth, best among Americans, in the Olympic qualifier at Breckenridge on the strength of a run that featured three 900s.

Voisin won the first qualifier for women’s slopestyle, which was held last season.

She still needs one more top-three finish at any of the three remaining selection events to be eligible for an automatic nomination, but she has consistently been the top performer among the U.S. women.

With two-time X Games gold medalist Kelly Sildaru sidelined with a knee injury this season, the field looks wide open for PyeongChang.

Voisin, then 15, was slated to make her Olympic debut in Sochi as the youngest American in any sport but was injured just days before the competition.

As long as she stays healthy, she will be a medal contender in PyeongChang, as will Norway’s Johanne Killi and France’s Tess Ledeux.

Killi narrowly edged out Ledeux, who recently turned 16, for the victory in Breckenridge. Sarah Hoefflin of Switzerland rounded out the podium.

Four U.S. selection events remain for the men, and three events remain for the women. Olympic qualifying resumes in January with a series of contests in Aspen, Colo., and Mammoth Mountain, Calif.

U.S. Olympic Qualifying Standings
Ski Slopestyle 
(women through two of five events; men through one of five)
1. Maggie Voisin — 150*
2. Devin Logan — 82
3. Darian Stevens — 81
4. Taylor Lundquist — 52
5. Nadia Gonzales — 28

1. Nick Goepper — 80*
2. Alex Hall — 45
3. Gus Kenworthy — 40
4. Bobby Brown — 32
5. Cody LaPlante — 29

**Has automatic qualifying minimum of two top-three results.
*Has one top-three result.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: List of athletes qualified for U.S. Olympic team

Maame Biney, J.R. Celski join U.S. Olympic short track team

Leave a comment

Maame Biney will become the second African-born athlete to compete for the U.S. at the Winter Olympics and the first black woman on a speed skating team.

J.R. Celski, a three-time medalist, is going to a third Winter Games.

Biney, Celski and Aaron Tran qualified in short track at the Olympic Trials in Kearns, Utah, after the 500m on Saturday.

The team is now at five skaters — John-Henry Krueger and Lana Gehring qualified on the first night Friday.

Three more skaters will qualify Sunday after 1000m races — two men and one woman.

One of Katherine Reutter-Adamek and Jessica Kooreman, the top U.S. women at the last two Olympics, is guaranteed to miss the PyeongChang team.

Neither could keep up with the 17-year-old Biney, who moved to the D.C. area from Ghana with her father at age 5, on Saturday.

Biney swept the 500m finals, taking leads from the start and holding off more experienced women. She actually fell — while celebrating after crossing the finish line in the last race.

Afterward, NBC Sports’ Andrea Joyce told Biney that eight-time Olympic medalist Apolo Ohno believes Biney doesn’t know how good she is.

“People have been telling me that forever, and I think right now I’m kind of seeing it, but I feel like I have a long ways to go, but thanks Apolo,” said Biney, who won a junior world championships bronze medal last season.

Celski did not win the men’s 500m, where he is the world-record holder. Krueger did, with Tran in second.

But the fact that Krueger finished in the top two in Friday’s 1500m and the 500m means that Celski gets on the team via his second-place finish in the 1500m.

Celski won two bronze medals at the 2010 Olympics and another relay silver in Sochi.

He took a full season off after Sochi — undergoing hip surgery — and overcame further knee and back injuries the last two years to return to the World Cup podium this season.

Celski is the only American to earn an individual World Cup medal this season (a bronze) in 24 total races.

Celski won’t be able to race the 500m in PyeongChang if Thomas Hong makes the Olympic team on Sunday.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: U.S. Olympic short track skater gets 4-year doping ban

U.S. Olympic Short Track Trials

Day Time (ET) Events Network
Friday 6:45-8 p.m. 1500m rounds STREAM LINK
8:30-10 p.m. 1500m finals NBCSN | STREAM LINK
Saturday 12-1:45 p.m. 500m rounds STREAM LINK
2:30-4 p.m. 500m finals NBC | STREAM LINK
Sunday 10:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. 1000m rounds STREAM LINK
1-3 p.m. 1000m finals NBC | STREAM LINK