Before he attempts Olympic history, Armin Zoeggeler will carry his nation’s flag into the opening ceremony at the Sochi Olympics.
Zoeggeler, who turns 40 on Jan. 4, could become the first Winter Olympian to win six medals in a single event if he can make the luge podium Feb. 9.
Zoeggeler won gold in 2002 and 2006, silver in 1998 and bronze in 1994 and 2010.
“He’s the greatest athlete of all time in his sport,” Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago said, according to The Associated Press. “I’m very pleased with this choice.”
The list of five-time Olympic medalists in one event also includes Zoeggeler’s former rival, Georg Hackl of Germany, who won three golds and two silvers from 1998 through 2002.
Zoeggeler will likely not be favored to take home his sixth medal in Sochi. He reached the podium three times in nine events on the World Cup circuit last year, including a fourth place in Sochi. He skipped the World Championships in February to recover from injuries, which included back and neck problems.
The reigning Olympic, world and World Cup champion Felix Loch of Germany was 4 years old when Zoeggeler won his first Olympic medal.
Zoeggeler was also Italy’s flag bearer at the 2006 Torino Olympics closing ceremony.
The Sochi luge competition begins the night after the opening ceremony.
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Bobby Joe Morrow, one of four men to win the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at one Olympics, died at age 84 on Saturday.
Morrow’s family said he died of natural causes.
Morrow swept the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, joining Jesse Owens as the only men to accomplish the feat. Later, Carl Lewis and Usain Bolt did the same.
Morrow, raised on a farm in San Benito, Texas, set 11 world records in a short career, according to World Athletics.
He competed in one Olympics, and that year was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year while a student at Abilene Christian. He beat out Mickey Mantle and Floyd Patterson.
“Bobby had a fluidity of motion like nothing I’d ever seen,” Oliver Jackson, the Abilene Christian coach, said, according to Sports Illustrated in 2000. “He could run a 220 with a root beer float on his head and never spill a drop. I made an adjustment to his start when Bobby was a freshman. After that, my only advice to him was to change his major from sciences to speech, because he’d be destined to make a bunch of them.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Johnny Gregorek, a U.S. Olympic hopeful runner, clocked what is believed to be the fastest mile in history for somebody wearing jeans.
Gregorek recorded a reported 4 minutes, 6.25 seconds, on Saturday to break the record by more than five seconds (with a pacer for the first two-plus laps). Gregorek, after the record run streamed live on his Instagram, said he wore a pair of 100 percent cotton Levi’s.
Gregorek, the 28-year-old son of a 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic steeplechaser, finished 10th in the 2017 World Championships 1500m. He was sixth at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.
He ranked No. 1 in the country for the indoor mile in 2019, clocking 3:49.98. His outdoor mile personal best is 3:52.94, ranking him 30th in American history.
Before the attempt, a fundraiser was started for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, garnering more than $29,000. Gregorek ran in memory of younger brother Patrick, who died suddenly in March 2019.
“Paddy was a fan of anything silly,” Gregorek posted. “I think an all out mile in jeans would tickle him sufficiently!”
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