Marcel Hirscher wins first giant slalom world title

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Austrian Marcel Hirscher is now a world champion in three different individual events.

The five-time World Cup overall champion captured his first giant slalom crown in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on Friday, adding to his 2013 World title in the slalom and 2015 World title in the super combined.

Hirscher prevailed by .25 of a second after two runs over countryman Roland Leitinger. Norway’s Leif Kristian Haugen earned bronze. Neither Leitinger nor Haugen own any World Cup podiums.

The top American was Olympian David Chodounsky in 11th.

Hirscher, after reportedly spending days sick in bed in the last week, led by .26 after the first run in the morning. The second run was delayed by a half-hour after a flying plane struck an overhead camera that fell into the finish area before the competition.

Hirscher had taken giant slalom silver at the 2013 and 2015 Worlds behind American Ted Ligety. But Ligety was unable to go for a fourth straight GS world title due to season-ending back surgery last month.

Hirscher is the first man to collect world titles in slalom, giant slalom and the combined since Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt, whose last crown came in 2001.

“It took me six years to get this world champion title,” said Hirscher, who made his world championships debut in 2009, placing fourth in the GS. “After Schladming [in 2013] and Vail-Beaver Creek [in 2015], always finishing second place. Now it is amazing.”

Full Results | Race Replay

Hirscher, who missed gold in the combined by .01 on Monday, is en route to his sixth straight World Cup overall title this season. No other man has won that many, consecutive or not.

Hirscher has already proven his excellence on the World Cup and world championships stages. It’s PyeongChang where he must deliver, since he lacks Olympic gold. Hirscher is only 27 years old, but he has cast doubt on going all the way to the 2022 Winter Games.

The world championships continue with Mikaela Shiffrin going for her third straight slalom title on Saturday (3:45 and 7 a.m. ET, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

Hirscher goes for another gold in the men’s slalom on Sunday.

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USA Hockey to start reaching out to potential replacement players

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USA Hockey will begin reaching out to “alternate players” to determine their interest in playing for the U.S. at the women’s world championship next week amid a potential boycott by its national team.

The contact is taking place in the event a resolution cannot be reached between USA Hockey and the women’s national team in a wage dispute.

“It’s important for everyone to understand clearly that our objective is to have the players we named as the U.S. women’s national team be the ones that compete in the world championship,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey, in a statement. “Productive conversations have taken place this week and are ongoing in our collective efforts to reach a resolution.”

The alternate players are in the professional NWHL and college, according to USA Today.

The world championship tournament starts March 31 in Plymouth, Mich.

As of Thursday evening, no resolution has come between USA Hockey and its women’s national team. Neither side has said when its next scheduled meeting will take place.

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MORE: NHL asked for decision on Olympics by end of April

NHL asked for decision on Olympics by end of April

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International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel tells The Associated Press he needs to know by the end of April whether NHL players will be cleared to play in the South Korea Olympics next year.

NHL team owners have made it clear they don’t want to stop their season again for the Winter Games and put their stars at risk of injury. The reluctance has come up before and yet the NHL has participated in the Olympics since 1998. This time, however, there seems to be an impasse.

The head of the NHL Players Association, Donald Fehr, says the players want to participate and hopes the league will take advantage of the chance to market the game in Asia.

However, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly says without “material change to the current status quo, NHL players will not be participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics.”

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MORE: 2018 Olympic hockey groups set