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

Ragan Smith delivers in first U.S. championship title win

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Ragan Smith embraced the role of heavy favorite coming into the U.S. gymnastics championships.

Thrust into the spotlight for the first time in her career, the 17-year-old hardly appeared intimidated by the stage. Smith pulled away from the field to claim her first national title Sunday, posting a score of 115.250, more than three points clear of Jordan Chiles in second place and Riley McCusker in third.

Smith opened up a 1.3-point lead over McCusker in the opening round Friday but admitted afterward she wasn’t particularly impressed by her own performance. She was considerably sharper less than 48 hours later, her 57.850 total in the finals was the best in the 16-woman all-around field by nearly two points.

Smith is one of the few holdovers from the 2016 Olympic cycle, serving as an alternate for the “Final Five” team that won half of the available medals in Rio de Janeiro last fall. Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Madison Kocian and Laurie Hernandez are taking breaks or have moved on, leaving Smith as the standard bearer for new national team coordinator Valeri Liukin.

The program appears to be in solid hands. Smith ditched “The Addams Family” themed floor routine she used last year for something a little more mature. It’s not the only part of her gymnastics that has grown up. Smith finished first on floor and beam and tied for third on bars.

Smith will be in the mix for the all-around title at the world championships in Montreal, where she’ll have a chance to extend the U.S.’s dominance. An American woman has won the world or Olympic title each of the last six years. Barring injury, Smith should be right there.

Liukin said he wasn’t alarmed following an uneven performance by the field in preliminaries, calling it a positive step for a group lacking in experience. The gymnastics were markedly improved in the finals.

Chiles slipped by McCusker into second thanks to a fabulous save on beam in which she turned a near disaster into something decidedly artful.

Chiles was in the middle of “wolf turn” (basically spinning on one foot while in a crouch on a 4-inch wide piece of wood) when she nearly fell over. Instead she rose to her feet, kept rotating, and went right into the next part of her routine as if it was planned all along.

Chiles’ steadiness gives Liukin another option as he tries to put together the rest of the four-woman team that will join Smith in Montreal. McCusker, only recently recovered from foot and wrist injuries, tried to keep the heat on Smith but stepped out of bounds following the last tumbling pass on her floor routine. McCusker finished first on bars — her legs practically magnetized together as she went from bar to bar — to win the event with ease.

Ashton Locklear, like Smith an alternate last summer, wound up second on bars with a watered down routine as he makes her way back from her own injury issues and should have time to install upgrades before Montreal.

Whoever heads to Canada in October will go with the usual expectations for what has become the sport’s most dominant program.

MORE: Simone Biles says being back in the gym is “OK” (video)

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Simone Biles says being back in the gym is “OK” (video)

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Simone Biles has competed in the six previous U.S. National Championships, winning the last four, but in Anaheim this year, she’s watching from the sidelines. Biles won four gold medals (team, all-around, vault and floor) and one bronze (on beam) last summer at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

This week she revealed she has returned to the gym to prepare for a yet to be determined event, in her return to competition.

When asked how she’s been doing in the gym by NBC Sports’ Andrea Joyce, Biles responded with her signature smile accompanied by an endearingly bashful eye roll, “the beginning is…OK.”

MORE: Danell Leyva on why he’s retiring

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