Ted Ligety struggles in first race of season (video)

Ted Ligety

Ted Ligety‘s quest for a fourth straight season-opening win in Soelden, Austria, went awry in his second giant slalom run. Instead, Marcel Hirscher, his biggest rival and the world’s best overall skier, won on home snow Sunday.

Ligety, the Olympic, World and World Cup giant slalom champion, fell from second place behind Hirscher after the first run to 10th after the second, his worst result in eight Soelden appearances.

“I’m happy with where my skiing is,” Ligety said. “I’m not panicking or anything. It would have been really easy to get second place today. I could’ve won.”

Hirscher won by 1.58 seconds over German Fritz Dopfer. France’s Alexis Pinturault was third. Ligety was 3.02 seconds back.

“I’m super happy and wish you all a great party today,” Hirscher, the first Austrian man to win Soelden since 2005, told an adoring crowd on a national holiday.

Ligety aimed to become the first man to win Soelden four times. He and Austrian Hermann Maier are the only men to win three times. But Ligety lost substantial time on a mistake during his second run.

“A big bobble at the bottom,” U.S. coach Sasha Rearick said. “Sounds like he hit a pretty big rock and knocked off some edge. Once you do that, you can’t get speed on the ski. That’s critical for Ted’s style of skiing.”

Ligety now faces a deficit in the World Cup giant slalom standings, looking up at Hirscher. Last season, Ligety and Hirscher tied for first place in the World Cup giant slalom standings, with Ligety winning the crystal globe due to a tiebreaker.

Ligety’s hope at least the last two years has been to close the gap on Hirscher in the World Cup overall standings. Instead, Hirscher may be closing the gap on Ligety in the giant slalom. Hirscher is the world’s best slalom skier and three-time reigning World Cup overall champion.

Six-time Olympic medalist Bode Miller skipped the season opener due to back problems. Another American, Tim Jitloff, was 26th on Sunday.

The Alpine skiing World Cup continues with women’s and men’s slaloms in Levi, Finland, on Nov. 15 and 16.

Video: Shiffrin wins first World Cup GS in tie

South Korea’s first gold medalist of 2018 PyeongChang Olympics to compete for China

Lim Hyo-Jun

Lim Hyo-Jun, a short track speed skater who won South Korea’s first gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been cleared to skate for China and was reportedly named to the national team Monday.

Lim, who won the 1500m on the first day of medal competition at the PyeongChang Games, began the process of switching to China after a June 2019 incident where he pulled down a teammate’s trousers, leaving him standing, exposed, in front of female teammates.

Lim, the 2019 World overall champion, was banned from the team for a year and later found guilty of sexual harassment before the verdict was overturned on appeal.

It was reported in March 2021 that Lim was in the process of trying to gain Chinese nationality to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but Lim was not cleared to switch by the International Skating Union until this July. His Chinese name is Lin Xiaojun.

Another star South Korean skater, triple 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ahn Hyun-Soo, switched to Russia after not making the 2010 Olympic team. He then won three golds for the host nation as Viktor Ahn at the 2014 Sochi Games.

China’s national team for the upcoming season reportedly does not include veterans Wu Dajing, the nation’s lone gold medalist across all sports at the 2018 Olympics, and Fan Kexin, a three-time Olympic medalist.

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Brigid Kosgei, world record holder, to miss London Marathon

Brigid Kosgei

World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.

“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”

Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.

Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.

The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.

The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.

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