Austrian downhill contender Hannes Reichelt will miss Olympics

Hannes Reichelt

Hannes Reichelt will miss the Sochi Olympics due to a back injury, knocking out Austria’s top medal hope in the downhill.

Reichelt, 33, won the biggest race of his career in the Hahnenkamm downhill in Kitzbuehel, Austria, on Saturday. An MRI revealed a herniated disk in his back Monday.

“Surgery is unavoidable,” Reichelt said in a statement Monday, according to The Associated Press. “Health comes in first place, and I want to keep doing sports after my career. Unfortunately my Olympic dream is in shatters.”

Reichelt is ranked No. 2 in the World Cup downhill standings. His absence from Sochi makes leader Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway an even clearer favorite in Sochi.

Svindal is the reigning Olympic silver medalist and world champion.

Another threat to Svindal, Italian world silver medalist Dominik Paris, hasn’t finished better than 15th in a World Cup race since suffering a leg injury in a December fall.

Reichelt’s absence and Paris’ recovery improve the medal chances of two 36-year-olds.

2010 Olympic champion Didier Defago won his first World Cup race in more than two years on Sunday, a super-G in Kitzbuehel.

2010 Olympic bronze medalist Bode Miller finished third behind Reichelt and Svindal in the Kitzbuehel downhill Saturday.

Austria leaves Vancouver gold medalist off Olympic Team

Olympian Derrick Mein ends U.S. men’s trap drought at shotgun worlds

Derrick Mein

Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.

He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.

The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.

Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).

The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.

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Mo Farah withdraws before London Marathon

Mo Farah

British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.

Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.

“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.

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