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Travis Ganong, top U.S. downhill skier, to miss Olympics

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Travis Ganong, the only U.S. man to win a World Cup Alpine skiing event in the last two years, tore an ACL in a race crash Thursday and will miss the Olympics, according to his social media.

Ganong, 29, earned downhill silver at the 2015 World Championships in Colorado, one of few highlights for the U.S. men’s speed team since the Sochi Olympics.

He also won a World Cup downhill last Jan. 27, ending the U.S.’ longest drought between men’s World Cup wins since 2000.

The previous win was by Ted Ligety on Oct. 25, 2015.

Ganong and the rest of the U.S. downhillers have struggled this season. Ganong’s best World Cup finish before his crash was 16th.

No U.S. man has finished in the top eight of a World Cup downhill or super-G this season. Ligety has the top finish in any event, a fifth in a giant slalom on Dec. 17.

The U.S. Olympic Alpine team will be named in three weeks.

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As you may have seen, I crashed in the downhill race in Bormio a few days ago, and tweaked my right knee.  After flying home and getting an MRI, it is confirmed that I have torn my ACL which unfortunately means my season is over. Bormio is a bittersweet place for me now as it is where I scored my first World Cup Points, had my first top 10, and where I won my first World Cup DH (in nearby Santa Caterina). However, now it is also the place where I had my first crash after 115 World Cup starts, and the first time that I have hit the B-net, in both training and racing! Having an injury is tough, and I am especially disappointed that this happened 5 weeks before the Olympics in South Korea where I was hoping to represent my country for the second time and fight for medals.  Now my next 6 months will obviously be very different to those of a World Cup skier, but I am excited for this new challenge and I am looking forward to re-setting, re-motivating, and working harder than ever to come back even stronger than I am now.  I still have many goals and much that I want to accomplish as a professional skier, and I can’t wait to get back into the starting gate again next season.  I will also have a great rehab partner with @mmgagnon rehabbing by my side! I want to thank all of my sponsors, fans, coaches, teammates and everyone at U.S. Ski & Snowboard, my friends and my family for their continued support and I want to let you all know that it is an honor being a part of the snow sports community! I will be cheering for the whole team in South Korea and I am excited to see so many talented athletes achieve their goals at the Games. I am planning on having surgery late this week after the swelling has gone down and I have my range of motion back.  After that I will start the rehab process here in Lake Tahoe, and also re-start working on my Ski Resort Management and Business degree from @sierranevadacollege .  I am also looking forward to having some time to work on and launch a new coffee company @pacificcrestcoffee (more to come)! So here is to a new year filled with new challenges!  The road back is not always easy, but I am embracing it and will be ready…

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Julia Mancuso skis final race dressed as Wonder Woman (video)

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Julia Mancuso bid farewell like only she could — with a tiara, cape and Wonder Woman suit.

The most decorated female U.S. Olympic skier with four medals announced Friday morning that today’s World Cup downhill in Cortina d’Ampezzo would be the last race of her career.

More on Mancuso’s retirement, career and immediate future here.

She raced Friday as her nickname — “Super Jules” — and coasted to the bottom 18 seconds slower than winner Sofia Goggia.

Afterward, U.S. Ski Team members sprayed her with champagne and lifted her up in the finish corral.

Mancuso chose an appropriate venue for her last race.

She notched her first World Cup podium in Cortina in January 2006, then won the Olympic giant slalom in Sestriere, Italy, four weeks later.

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Jordyn Wieber says she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar

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Jordyn Wieber said she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar, becoming the fourth member of the Fierce Five 2012 Olympic team to come forward Friday.

McKayla MaroneyAly Raisman and Gabby Douglas previously said they were sexually abused by Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics team doctor for nearly two decades.

Two more Olympians — Jamie Dantzscher (2000) and Simone Biles (2016) — also said they were sexually abused by Nassar.

Wieber spoke for six minutes to start the fourth day of a Nassar sentencing hearing at a Michigan court on Friday.

Michigan state Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis said Wieber reached out this week to say she wanted to speak at the hearing where more than 100 women are expected to deliver victim impact statements.

Here’s what Wieber said in front of Nassar on Friday:

I thought that training for the Olympics would be the hardest thing that I would ever had to do, but in fact the hardest thing that is process that I’m a victim of Larry Nassar. It has caused me to feel shame and confusion, and I have spent months trying to think back on my experience and wonder how I didn’t even know this was happening to me and how I became so brainwashed by Larry and everyone at USA Gymnastics, both whom I thought were supposed to be on my side.

I started seeing Larry Nassar at the age of 8 in my hometown of Lansing. He was known as the best gymnastics doctor in the world. Everyone in my club, on the U.S. national team and across the country saw Larry, and everyone said the same thing. He was a miracle worker, and he could fix just about anything. I was treated by Larry for any and all of my injuries from ages 8 ’til I was 18, and it wasn’t long before he had gained my trust. He became a safe person of sorts, and to my teenage self he appeared to be the good guy in an environment that was intense and restricting.

He would try to advise me on how to deal with the stresses of training or my coaches. He would bring us food and coffee at the Olympics when we were too afraid to eat too much in front of our coaches. I didn’t know that these were all grooming techniques that he used to manipulate me and brainwash me to trusting him.

When I was 14 years old, I tore my hamstring in my right leg. This is when he started performing the procedure that we are all now familiar with. I would cringe at how uncomfortable it felt. He did it time after time, appointment after appointment, convincing me that it was helping my hamstring injury. And the worst part was that I had no idea he was sexually abusing me for his own benefit. I knew it felt strange, but he was the national team doctor. Who was I to question his treatments, or even more, risk my chance at making the Olympic team or being chosen to compete internationally. And after all, he was recommended by the national team staff, and he treated us monthly at all of our national team camps. I even talked to my teammates, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney, about this treatment, and how uncomfortable it made us feel. None of us really understood it. After I made the Olympic team, I suffered a stress fracture in my right shin. It was extremely painful to tumble and land using my legs, but I fought through the pain because it was the Olympics, and I knew it would be probably my only shot.

Our bodies were all hanging by a thread when we were in London. Who was the doctor that USAG sent to keep us healthy and help us get through? The doctor that was our abuser. The doctor that is a child molester. Because of my shin, I couldn’t train without being in extreme pain, and it affected the number of routines I could do to prepare before the competition. And, ultimately, it made me feel less prepared than I should have been. I didn’t qualify to the all-around competition, and I went through a dark time right before we won the team gold. 

Now, I question everything about that injury and the medical treatment I received. Was Larry even doing anything to help my pain? Was I getting the proper medical care, or was he only focused on which one of us he was going to prey on next? What does he think about when he massaged my sore muscles every day? Now I question everything.

To this day, I still don’t know how he could have been allowed to do this for so long. My teammates and I were subjected to his medical care every single month at the national-team training center in Texas. He was the only male allowed to be present in the athlete dorm rooms to do whatever treatments he wanted. He was allowed to treat us in hotel rooms alone without any supervision. He took photos of us during training and whenever else he wanted. Nobody was protecting us from being taken advantage of. Nobody was even concerned whether or not we were being sexually abused. I was not protected, and neither were my teammates. 

My parents trusted USA Gymnastics and Larry Nassar to take care of me, and we were betrayed by both. And now the lack of accountability from USAG, USOC and Michigan State have caused me and many other girls to remain shameful, confused and disappointed. 

I am angry with myself for not recognizing the abuse, and that’s something I’m struggling with today. But even thought I am a victim, I do not and will not live my life as one. I am an Olympian. Despite being abused, I worked so hard and managed to achieve my goal. But I want everyone, especially the media, to know that despite my athletic achievements, I am one of over 140 women and survivors whose story is important. Our pain is all the same, and our stories are all important. And now the people who are responsible need to accept responsibility for the pain they have caused me and the rest of the women who have been abused. Larry Nassar is accountable. USA Gymnastics is accountable. The U.S. Olympic Committee is accountable. My teammates and friends have been through enough, and now it’s time for change because the current and future gymnasts do not deserve to live in anxiety, fear or be unprotected like I was.