One day before the Opening Ceremony, competition got underway at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
Thursday’s biggest event was the start of the inaugural Olympic figure skating team competition. And on home ice, Russia had it almost perfect, scoring 19 out of 20 possible points in Day 1 (men’s and pairs’ short program) to take the lead.
Nine of Russia’s 19 points came from Yevgeny Plushenko (pictured), whose runner-up performance certainly felt like a winner. Meanwhile, the U.S. finds itself on the bubble going into Day 2 on Saturday (women’s short program/short dance/pairs’ free skate) after having mixed fortunes.
Another new Olympic discipline, snowboard slopestyle, also made its debut today sans Team USA’s Shaun White and Norway’s Torstein Horgmo (broken collarbone). But it wasn’t an easy day for men’s gold medal favorite Mark McMorris of Canada, who failed to make the final and will have to advance there through the semis. As for the women, two Americans – gold medal threat Jamie Anderson and Karly Shorr – locked up spots in their final.
WATCH: How did Tea USA fare on Day -1?
American freestyle moguls skier Hannah Kearney began her Olympic title defense in style by qualifying first into Saturday’s final. The Vermont native has taken her training to another level going into Sochi, and today, it looked like it paid off. But she’ll still have to watch out for her three main rivals from Canada, the Dufour-Lapointe sisters, who all made it into the final as well.
Training also took place in several sports, including Alpine skiing. Five-time Olympic medalist Bode Miller of the U.S. led the first session for the men, while training was pushed back for the women after multiple competitors complained about a treacherous jump on the course. After some changes, women’s training got going, with American Julia Mancuso logging the third-fastest run at the end of the day.
In hockey, Canada replaced one Tampa Bay Lightning star – the injured Steven Stamkos – with another – the Lightning’s captain, Martin St. Louis. Meanwhile, Slovakia has a big hole to fill after finding out they won’t be able to count on Marian Gaborik (broken collarbone) for the Olympics. Ditto for Sweden, which will be without Henrik Sedin.
We also had a scary moment take place as Nashville Predators and U.S. Olympic hockey general manager David Poile was hit by a puck before the Preds took on the Minnesota Wild today; he was subsequently taken to a local hospital. We’ll keep you posted on his situation.
World record holder Eliud Kipchoge will race the Boston Marathon for the first time on April 17.
Kipchoge, who at September’s Berlin Marathon lowered his world record by 30 seconds to 2:01:09, has won four of the six annual major marathons — Berlin, Tokyo, London and Chicago.
The 38-year-old Kenyan has never raced Boston, the world’s oldest annual marathon dating to 1897, nor New York City but has repeated in recent years a desire to enter both of them.
Typically, he has run the London Marathon in the spring and the Berlin Marathon in the fall.
Kipchoge’s last race in the U.S. was the 2014 Chicago Marathon, his second of 10 consecutive marathon victories from 2014 through 2019.
He can become the first reigning men’s marathon world record holder to finish the Boston Marathon since South Korean Suh Yun-Bok set a world record of 2:25:39 in Boston in 1947, according to the Boston Athletic Association.
In 2024 in Paris, Kipchoge is expected to race the Olympic marathon and bid to become the first person to win three gold medals in that event.
The Boston Marathon field also includes arguably the second- and third-best men in the world right now — Kipchoge’s Kenyan training partners Evans Chebet and Benson Kipruto. Chebet won Boston and New York City this year. Kipruto won Boston last year and Chicago this year.
American Des Linden, who won Boston in 2018, headlines the women’s field.
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The 2024 Tour de France will end on the French Riviera instead of the French capital because of the Paris Olympics.
The finish of cycling’s marquee race leaves Paris for the first time since 1905.
Tour organizers said on Thursday the last stage of its 111th race will take place in the Mediterranean resort of Nice on July 21. Five days later, Paris opens the Olympics.
Because of security and logistical reasons, the French capital won’t have its traditional Tour finish on the Champs-Elysees. Parting with tradition of a sprint on the Champs-Elysees, the last stage will be an individual time trial along Nice’s famed Promenade des Anglais.
The start of the 2024 race, which will begin for the first time in Italy, was brought forward by one week, a customary change during an Olympic year. The Tour will start on June 29 in Florence.
Nice has hosted the Tour 37 times, including its start twice, in 1981 and in 2020. Two years ago, the start was delayed until Aug. 29 due to lockdowns and travels bans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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