Ted Ligety

Ted Ligety’s super combined win key for Sochi medal hopes

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Ted Ligety notched a World Cup victory Friday that will boost his multiple-medal chances at the Olympics.

The American captured a super combined race in Wengen, Switzerland. He had the second fastest morning slalom run and the 13th fastest afternoon downhill to win in a total time of 2 minutes, 44.74 seconds.

France’s Alexis Pinturault was second, .22 behind, followed by Croatia’s Natko Zrncic-Dim.

Overall World Cup leader Aksel Lund Svindal was fifth with the fastest downhill time. Bode Miller was ninth, his fourth top 10 of the season.

Ligety won his 20th career World Cup race, but the previous 19 were giant slaloms. He had not made a podium in a World Cup race outside giant slalom in more than four years.

That stat was somewhat forgotten when Ligety won three gold medals at the 2013 World Championships, including in the super combined. He was instantly marked as a contender for three gold medals.

But Ligety posted one top-10 in the first seven non-giant slalom World Cup races this season before Friday. He had finished 27th, DNF and DNF in the first three World Cup races in 2014.

“January’s been a tough month for me so far,” Ligety said. “It’s nice to kind of turn the corner, I guess.”

This was the first super combined of the season, and Ligety is the 2006 Olympic champion in the combined, a race no longer contested at the Olympics that included not one but two slalom runs and a downhill.

The men’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues with a downhill in Wengen on Saturday.

Snow caused officials to switch the format Friday, going with slalom in the morning and downhill in the afternoon. Ligety was the first skier off in the slalom.

“To run first was definitely an advantage,” he said, according to The Associated Press. “The snow was pretty bad up there.”

Wengen Super Combined
1. Ted Ligety (USA) 2:44.74
2. Alexis Pinturault (FRA) 2:44.96
3. Natko Zrncic-Dim (CRO) 2:45.82
4. Sandro Viletta (SUI) 2:46.12
5. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) 2:46.22
6. Thomas Mermillod Blondin (FRA) 2:46.30
7. Christof Innerhofer (ITA) 2:46.64
8. Matthias Mayer (AUT) 2:46.80
9. Bode Miller (USA) 2:46.89
10. Peter Fill (ITA) 2:47.04
20. Jared Goldberg (USA) 2:48.29
28. Andrew Weibrecht (USA) 2:50.15

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Alysa Liu rallies to win Junior Grand Prix with another quadruple jump

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U.S. figure skating champion Alysa Liu landed a quadruple Lutz for a second straight Junior Grand Prix, rallying from fourth after the short program to win an event in Poland on Friday.

Liu, who in January became the youngest U.S. champion in history at age 13, won both of her starts in her first season on the Junior Grand Prix to become the first U.S. woman to qualify for the six-skater Junior Grand Prix Final since 2013 (Polina Edmunds and Karen Chen). The Final is held with the senior Grand Prix Final in Turin, Italy, in December.

She won Friday by 6.63 points by surpassing a pair of Russians, a rarity in this era. Her free skate is here.

Liu trailed by 4.03 points after doubling a planned triple loop in the short program. She was the lone skater in the field to attempt a triple Axel (landing three of them, including two in combination and one with a negative grade of execution) or a quad.

Liu tallied 138.99 points in the free skate and 203.10 overall. She ranks sixth in the world this season by best total scores among junior and senior skaters, though some top skaters have yet to compete.

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Rafaela Silva, first Brazilian gold medalist at Rio Olympics, claims innocence after positive drug test

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Rafaela Silva, the judoka who grew up in Rio’s most famously violent favela to become Brazil’s first gold medalist at the Rio Olympics, reportedly tested positive for a banned substance last month.

Silva tested positive for fenoterol, a substance that can be legal to treat asthma if an athlete has a therapeutic use exemption (TUE). Silva did not have a TUE before testing positive at the Pan American Games in August, according to Brazilian media.

A possible punishment has not been announced.

Silva claimed innocence at a news conference Friday afternoon, saying that a young child with whom she had bodily contact at her training location used the substance, and she plans to compete at a domestic event this weekend, according to O Globo.

Silva, 27, backed up her Rio Olympic 57kg title by taking bronze at the world championships later in August. If she is punished for the positive test, Silva could lose that bronze medal, though she said Friday that she had a clean drug test at worlds, according to O Globo.

Silva, from Rio’s Ciadade de Deus favela, has the Olympic rings tattooed on her right bicep with the inscription “God knows how much I’ve suffered and what I’ve done to get here.”

Brazil’s top female swimmer, Etiene Medeiros, reportedly tested positive for fenoterol in May 2016 but was cleared to compete at the Rio Olympics.

In PyeongChang, Slovenian hockey player Ziga Jeglic tested positive for fenoterol and was scratched before his nation’s last game before it was announced. Jeglic was suspended from the Games and, later, was suspended eight months.

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