Bill Demong to run New York City Marathon

Bill Demong
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Bill Demong, the only American to win an Olympic Nordic combined gold medal, will test his endurance at the New York City Marathon on Nov. 2.

“Intermittently, over the last however many, 15 years, I have had the desire and done some running races,” Demong said in a phone interview while driving in rural Germany on Monday. “I’ve kind of had a desire to do a marathon, especially while I’m relatively fit.”

Demong, 34, won gold and silver medals at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. He came back for a fifth Olympics in Sochi, and placed sixth with the U.S. team and 24th and 31st in individual events.

It was reported in Sochi that Demong would probably retire after those Winter Games, but he will partially compete this season, hoping to help the U.S. Nordic combined team regain funding following U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association cuts after Sochi.

Demong hopes to average six minutes per mile at the New York City Marathon, with a finishing time around 2 hours, 36 minutes. He said in 2003 he ran a 37km Colorado road race (three miles shy of a marathon) over a mountain in 2 hours, 17 minutes, but said he was in better running shape then.

Demong’s work ethic is well-known among U.S. Winter Olympians.

“He will wake up at four in the morning, go hike up some insane mountain with his cross-country skis, find a field and go trudging around cross-country,” ski jumper Anders Johnson once said. “Then he’ll come back down for breakfast, go do intervals on his bike for two hours, come home and eat lunch. … Then he’ll go and do a bike race. … I don’t think the guy has taken a day off since he was 13.”

Demong’s experience in cross-country skiing endurance training for Nordic combined should pay off in New York. He pointed to other cross-country skiers who performed well in distance running, such as former Dartmouth skier Ben True. True was the second-fastest U.S. man in the 5000m this year.

“Certainly having that cardiovascular base helps immensely, already knowing that given a few training sessions you can easily go out and probably run a marathon,” said Demong, whose summer roller-ski training over the last two decades included three-, four- and five-hour sessions at 10 mph. “The catch is, of course, that just because you could finish one doesn’t necessarily make you, a) fast — not all cross-country skiers cross over well into running — and b) in cross-country skiing, you’re used to going out, uphill, as hard as you can and then recovering. Obviously, in a marathon if you go and burn it in the first three miles, you’re not coming back. That’s going to be the challenge.”

Demong will join a long list of Olympians to take part in the five-borough race.

It includes his U.S. Winter Olympic teammate Apolo Ohno, who clocked 3:25:14 in 2011. Ohno recently completed the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.

Outside of Olympic distance runners, Olympic champions swimmer Summer Sanders and sprinter Marie-Jose Perec also ran the NYC Marathon in 2013.

Caroline Wozniacki, a two-time Olympic tennis player, will also run this year’s NYC Marathon.

Olympic triathlete Gwen Jorgensen, the reigning World champion, will race the Dash to the Finish Line 5k in Central Park the day before the marathon.

Lindsey Vonn still struggles with depression

Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight

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Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

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Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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