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

Syria-born Olympian takes advocacy role at U.N. refugee agency

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GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. refugee agency has chosen as a goodwill ambassador a Syrian teenage girl who helped save a boat carrying fellow refugees and later became an Olympic swimmer.

Yusra Mardini was appointed as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador on Thursday, joining other notables like actress Cate Blanchett and author Khaled Hosseini in the unpaid advocacy role.

UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said Mardini “represents the hopes, the fears and the incredible potential of the more than 10 million young refugees around the globe.”

Mardini and her sister Sarah jumped overboard and swam for hours alongside their overloaded boat to reach Greece from Turkey in 2015.

She swam on the first Refugee Olympic team in Rio last year and has discussed refugees’ challenges with leaders like Pope Francis and President Barack Obama.

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Rafael Nadal recreates famous 1992 Olympic cauldron lighting

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Rafael Nadal, owner of two Olympic gold medals, recently parroted arguably the most famous moment in Spanish Olympic history.

Nadal and Marc Lopez, the 2016 Olympic doubles champions, took up bows and arrows and joined archer Antonio Rebollo on Monday at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Stadium. It brought back memories of Rebollo’s unforgettable cauldron lighting from the only Olympics held in Spain.

Nadal is in Barcelona for an ATP Tour event as he prepares to vie for a 10th French Open title next month.

Rebollo, now 61 years old, was one of 200 hundred archers considered to light the cauldron in 1992. He learned that he was chosen for the role over four other finalists two hours ahead of time, according to an NBC Olympics profile in 1996.

The cauldron would be 195 feet away. Fearing Rebollo would miss the target, organizers instructed him to fire his arrow beyond the stadium walls. As the arrow soared, a technician lit the natural gas flame with a remote control.

The illusion worked. The true story wasn’t revealed for another 20 years.

“There were no fears,” Rebollo, a Barcelona native who contracted polio at age 8, told NBC two decades ago. “I was practically a robot. I focused on my positioning and reaching the target. That was all. … My feelings were taken from the people who described to me how they saw it. What they felt, their emotions, their cries. This is what made me realize what the moment actually meant.”

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