Atlanta Braves’ ‘The Freeze’ identified as U.S. sprinter

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An incredibly perceptive track and field fan might recognize “The Freeze” from the now-viral Atlanta Braves promotion.

The man behind the full-body suit and ski goggles is Nigel Talton, a sprinter who has clocked 10.47 seconds in the 100m and made the 2013 U.S. Indoor Championships 60m final (green jersey, second from the right in above video).

He ranks as the 4,678th-fastest man all time, according to Tilastopaja.org’s historic 100m rankings.

Talton harbored Rio Olympic dreams but did not qualify for the Olympic Trials because he had not met the entry standard of 10.16 seconds.

He has been racing domestically since 2010, when he broke the Iowa Wesleyan 100m record as a freshman, running 10.73.

He has also been a member of the Atlanta Braves grounds crew since 2012, according to the Washington Post. Chasing down fans on the Suntrust Park outfield track is a bit different than lining up against the nation’s best sprinters.

“Mainly with the big ol’ goggles, it was a big adjustment,” Talton said, according to the newspaper, adding that he is done racing this outdoor season but hopes to make the 2018 World Indoor Championships team. “I’m used to running in those kind of Boathouse speed suits or little short shorts for track meets.”

To make 2018 World Indoors, Talton would likely have to finish in the top two of the 60m at the U.S. Indoors in Albuquerque in February.

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World downhill champion Ilka Stuhec tears ACL

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Lindsey Vonn’s top rival for downhill gold is in danger of missing the upcoming Olympics.

Ilka Stuhec, a world champion Alpine skier from Slovenia, suffered a torn ACL after a practice crash in Austria this weekend.

Stuhec had become a strong medal favorite for PyeongChang after winning FIS World Cup titles in downhill and Alpine combined last season. She also won a gold medal in downhill at the 2017 World Championships, where Vonn placed third.

According to a post on the FIS website, surgery is set for this Wednesday, with more information to come after that. But preliminary reports suggest that she is likely to miss the Olympics.

“For now it looks like Ilka Stuhec will have to miss a large part or maybe the whole World Cup season, including the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea,” a spokesperson for Struhec told Reuters.

In a tweet, Struhec acknowledged that she would be sidelined “for a few months.”

The Olympics start in less than four months.

 

U.S. Ski & Snowboard mourns after 17-year-old aerials skier found dead

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Mikey Lillis, a 17-year-old aerials skier, died in his sleep at his home in East Rochester, N.Y., overnight Saturday, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard.

“We are a family, and as a family our entire team grieves for Mikey, his own family and his teammates,” U.S. Ski & Snowboard President and CEO Tiger Shaw said in a statement. “We’ll remember him for the pathway he was following and the goals he was beginning to achieve. Our condolences go out to his parents Bernie and Jamie and the entire Lillis family.”

Lillis was working his way to join his two older brothers at the elite international level. He made three podiums on the Nor-Am Cup tour between the last two seasons.

Jon Lillis, 23, is the reigning world champion in aerials. Chris Lillis, 19, won the FIS Rookie of the Year award last season with four top-10 finishes on the World Cup.