Maddie Bowman wins gold for U.S. in women’s ski halfpipe

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Two-time reigning X Games champion Maddie Bowman has now become the first Olympic champion in women’s ski halfpipe, completing an American sweep in the discipline’s debut after David Wise won the men’s gold two days ago.

Bowman led after the first run (an 85.40) and then extended her advantage with a second run that featured a pair of 900s and netted her a new top score of 89.00.

France’s Marie Martinod, who returned to competition in the 2011-12 season after a five-year hiatus that saw her start a family, was the last person to get a chance to top Bowman and stomped a solid second run.

But while it earned her a new best score of 85.40, it only was enough for the silver. Japan’s Ayana Onozuka won the bronze after an improved second run that got an 83.20.

Bowman had gone into Sochi with lots of momentum beyond her second straight X Games title. She won three of the first four Olympic qualifier events this winter and hit the podium in all of those four.

This marks the second American sweep of a new Olympic discipline in Sochi after the inaugural snowboard slopestyle golds were captured by Sage Kotsenburg and Jamie Anderson.

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FREESTYLE SKIING – WOMEN’S SKI HALFPIPE FINAL
Best score of two runs

1. Maddie Bowman (USA), 89.00
2. Marie Martinod (FRA), 85.40
3. Ayana Onozuka (JPN), 83.20
4. Virginie Faivre (SUI), 78.00
5. Janina Kuzma (NZL), 77.00
6. Brita Sigourney (USA), 76.00
7. Rosalind Groenewoud (CAN), 74.20
8. Mirjam Jaeger (SUI), 71.20
9. Annalisa Drew (USA), 66.40
10. Amy Sheehan (AUS), 40.60
11. Angeli VanLaanen (USA), 29.60
12. Anais Caradeux (FRA), DNS

Valencia Marathon produces historic times in men’s, women’s races

2022 Valencia Marathon
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Kenyan Kelvin Kiptum and Ethiopian Amane Beriso won the Valencia Marathon and became the third-fastest man and woman in history, respectively.

Kiptum, a 23-year-old in his marathon debut, won the men’s race in 2 hours, 1 minute, 53 seconds. The only men to ever run faster over 26.2 miles are legends: Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge (2:01:09 world record, plus a 2:01:39) and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele (2:01:41).

Kipchoge made his marathon debut at age 28, and Bekele at 31.

Beriso, a 31-year-old whose personal best was 2:20:48 from January 2016, stunned the women’s field Saturday by running 2:14:58. The only women to have run faster: Kenyans Brigid Kosgei (2:14:04) and Ruth Chepngetich (2:14:18).

Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey finished second in 2:16:49, the fastest-ever time for a woman in her marathon debut. Gidey is the world record holder at 5000m and 10,000m.

Valencia is arguably the top annual marathon outside of the six World Marathon Majors. The next major marathon is Tokyo on March 5.

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Aleksander Aamodt Kilde wins Beaver Creek downhill

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BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde won his second straight World Cup downhill race to start the season, despite feeling under the weather.

Although dealing with an illness all week in training, Kilde powered through the challenging Birds of Prey course Saturday in a time of 1 minute, 42.09 seconds. It was enough to hold off Marco Odermatt of Switzerland by 0.06 seconds. James Crawford of Canada was third to earn his second career World Cup podium finish.

Kilde also won the opening downhill last weekend in Lake Louise, Alberta.

“It’s been a tough week,” Kilde said after the race. “I caught the flu in Lake Louise after a very, very nice weekend. It really hit me hard. Then I got a couple of days to rest and take it easy. … I felt OK. Still feeling it a little bit in my system.”

The Beaver Creek crew members had the course in solid shape a day after a downhill race was canceled due to high wind and snowfall.

ALPINE SKIING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Kilde reached speeds around 75 mph in picking up his eighth World Cup downhill victory. That tied him with Kjetil Jansrud for the third-most downhill wins in the World Cup discipline among Norwegian men. The total trails only Aksel Lund Svindal (14) and Lasse Kjus (10).

“I found a really, really good set-up with my equipment and also with my skiing,” Kilde explained. “I believe in myself. I trust in myself. I have a good game plan. When I stand on the start, I don’t dwell on anything. I know that this plan is what I do and when I do that it’s going to be fast.”

Odermatt has been on the podium in all four World Cup races this season as he tries to defend his overall World Cup title. The 25-year-old finished third in the opening downhill of the season last weekend. He’s also won a giant slalom race and a super-G.

Ryan Cochran-Siegle wound up in seventh place for the top American finish. He was ninth in the downhill in Lake Louise.

“It’s been solid,” Cochran-Siegle said of his strides in the discipline. “A couple of little things here and there that pushed me off that top three. You have to ski with a lot of intensity and ski without abandon, in a sense. Today was a good step.”

Switzerland’s Beat Feuz, who won the Olympic downhill gold medal at the Beijing Games last February, tied for ninth.

The Beaver Creek stop on the circuit comes to a close Sunday with a super-G race. Odermatt will be the favorite after holding off Kilde in the opening super-G last weekend.

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