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Frank Busch to retire as USA Swimming national team director

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Frank Busch, national team director for USA Swimming since 2011, will retire in September, following executive director Chuck Wielgus out the door at the sport’s national governing body.

Busch said Tuesday he will leave on Sept. 1. Last month, Wielgus announced he is leaving on Aug. 31.

Under Busch, U.S. swimmers topped the standings with 31 medals at the 2012 London Olympics and 33 at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. Over the last three world championships, the American team won 81 medals, including 38 gold. Busch will stay on through this summer’s world meet in Hungary.

“I’m forever grateful to Chuck for giving me the opportunity to lead USA Swimming’s national team division,” Busch said in a statement. “It was the gold standard internationally long before I arrived, and the people that I’ve been able to work with over the last six years are remarkable people and the best in the world at what they do.”

Before taking his current position, Busch coached the University of Arizona swimming team from 1989-2011. He guided the Wildcats to men’s and women’s NCAA team titles in 2008, and his club team, Tucson Ford Dealers Aquatics, produced numerous standout swimmers.

He was on the U.S. coaching staffs for the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.

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No NHL players means more mistakes and goals at Olympics

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GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — Hockey is a game of mistakes and it’s on display in fine form at the Olympics.

It doesn’t look beautiful, of course, with players all outside the NHL turning the puck over for point-blank scoring chances or leaving opponents wide open in front. The talent level is lower, so the risk factors and the entertainment level are up. Goaltenders have to be on their toes for unexpected, game-saving stops even more than usual.

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“It’s a short tournament: A few mistakes can decide your fate,” Finland goaltender Karri Ramo said Saturday. “You try to create more than carry it out of the zone, so obviously teams are trying to keep the puck and create scoring chances, so those mistakes happen. You’re not going to win if you play safe.”

There’s not a whole lot of safe, low-risk play so far, and scoring has increased as a result. After each team played twice, games were averaging 5.1 goals, up from 4.7 in Sochi with NHL players on the rosters.

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Ligety exits quietly, Hirscher brilliant again

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Marcel Hirscher, the Austrian ski god, is finally having his moment. King of the World Cup tour for the past seven seasons, on Sunday Hirscher won his second Olympic gold, in the giant slalom.

Hirscher had won a grand total of no Olympic medals, nada, zip, zero in two prior Games. Now he might — could, should — win three here at PyeongChang. The slalom, another Hirscher specialty, is due to be run Thursday.

To watch Hirscher ski is to watch one of the great athletes of our — or any — time. Like being courtside in Chicago to see Michael Jordan back in the day. At Wimbledon for a Roger Federer volley. At the Water Cube in Beijing in 2008 when Michael Phelps was swimming the butterfly.

In Sunday’s race, Kristoffersen finished second, 1.27 seconds back of Hirscher. Pinturault finished third, 1.31 behind.

American racer Ted Ligety used to own this event: the Sochi 2014 giant slalom gold medalist, he was world champion in 2011, 2013 and 2015. Pinturault took Sochi 2014 bronze.

Considering his relatively low slalom ranking and the pounding that slalom demands, Sunday’s GS was — just like that, that quickly, that quietly — likely the final race of Ligety’s outstanding Olympic career.

“This is probably it for me at these Games,” he said after run two, adding that he is planning to head back to Europe, to race the remainder of the World Cup season.

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