John Shuster, Jared Zezel, John Landsteiner

USOC has ‘serious concerns’ about USA Curling


The U.S. Olympic Committee called USA Curling’s recent Olympic finishes “unacceptable” in a March letter and said it could cut funding and/or ties with the national governing body unless changes are made, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The USOC wants USA Curling to put more emphasis on winning Olympic and World Championships medals, give a chief executive full authority over the high-performance program (which will be voted on at a USA Curling meeting Saturday) and adopt methods that made other countries successful, according to the report.

Proposed changes clash with U.S. curling’s “traditional ways,” according to the newspaper.

The U.S. men and women combined to go 3-15 at the Sochi Olympics, finishing in ninth and 10th place out of 10 teams, respectively. The men needed to win five straight games at the final Olympic Qualification Event in December to make it to Sochi.

The U.S. men and women both finished in last place at the 2010 Olympics. The U.S.’ only Olympic curling medal was a men’s bronze at the 2006 Olympics.

The U.S. women finished sixth of 12 teams at the post-Olympics World Championships in March. The U.S. men finished 10th out of 12 teams.

Catching up with Paul Wylie

Mikaela Shiffrin wins Aspen World Cup slalom

Mikaela Shiffrin
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With a slalom win today in Aspen, Colo., Mikaela Shiffrin broke some of the barriers she had been chasing.

En route to her fourth consecutive slalom World Cup title – which would tie the record for the most with Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider from 1992-95 – she became the first female skier to win four World Cup slalom races in a row since Austria’s Marlies Schild did it in the 2011-12 season.

In addition, Shiffrin became the first female skier from the U.S. to win a slalom World Cup race in Aspen. And she’s now tied with France’s Perrine Pelen for sixth overall with total slalom World Cup victories.

“I was pissed after I made that ridiculous mistake yesterday,” Shiffrin said to media, referencing yesterday’s giant slalom crash. Both her and Lindsey Vonn crashed and did not finish in Aspen’s giant slalom. “I tried to use that anger today.”

Shiffrin called the mistake a “brainfart” and Vonn dismissed it because “giant slalom isn’t [her] strongest event.”

Slovakia’s Veronika Velez Zuzulova was second behind Shiffrin, followed by Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter.

By finishing behind Shiffrin in Aspen, Zuzulova extends her slalom World Cup podium finish streak to four.

Hansdotter has the second-most second place World Cup slalom finishes at 13 total, including today’s race. Only Pernilla Wiberg, of Sweden, has more with a total of 14.

MORE: Shiffrin, Vonn discuss friendship and rivalry

Fencing great Valentina Vezzali fails to qualify for Rio 2016

Mario Monti, Valentina Vezzali
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TURIN, Italy (AP) – Six-time Olympic champion fencer Valentina Vezzali has failed to qualify for next year’s Rio de Janeiro Games.

The 41-year-old Vezzali was eliminated in the second round of the foil event at the Trofeo Inalpi meet Saturday, while Italian teammate Arianna Errigo reached the semifinals and gained the necessary points to qualify.

Vezzali won at least one gold at the last five Olympics in either individual or team foil. She has a total of nine Olympic medals and 25 at world championships.

Her second son was born in 2013, the year in which she also became a member of Italy’s parliament.

Vezzali told the Gazzetta dello Sport this week that “I had another son and it was really difficult to come back. … I don’t think I have anything else to prove.”

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