Tucker West

Tucker West becomes first U.S. men’s luge World Cup winner since 1997

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Olympian Tucker West won a World Cup luge race in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Friday, becoming the first U.S. man to prevail on the circuit since 1997.

West, 19, clocked a two-run time of 1 minute, 42.117 seconds, breaking the track record in both runs. He won by a comfortable .773 over Austrian Wolfgang Kindl. Italian Dominik Fischnaller was third.

”These are some of the top dogs,” West said, according to The Associated Press. ”I never knew that I could compete with them at such a level.”

Two-time reigning Olympic champion Felix Loch of Germany was sixth. Loch has not finished worse than sixth in a World Cup race since the 2010-11 season.

In February, West finished 22nd in Sochi as the youngest U.S. Olympic luger ever.

The last U.S. man to win a World Cup race was Wendel Suckow on Feb. 15, 1997.

Video: Lindsey Vonn’s first race of 2014

Tokyo Paralympic medals unveiled with historic Braille design, indentations

Tokyo Paralympic Medals
Tokyo 2020
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The Tokyo Paralympic medals, which like the Olympic medals are created in part with metals from recycled cell phones and other small electronics, were unveiled on Sunday, one year out from the Opening Ceremony.

In a first for the Paralympics, each medal has one to three indentation(s) on its side to distinguish its color by touch — one for gold, two silver and three for bronze. Braille letters also spell out “Tokyo 2020” on each medal’s face.

For Rio, different amounts of tiny steel balls were put inside the medals based on their color, so that when shaken they would make distinct sounds. Visually impaired athletes could shake the medals next to their ears to determine the color.

More on the design from Tokyo 2020:

The design is centered around the motif of a traditional Japanese fan, depicting the Paralympic Games as the source of a fresh new wind refreshing the world as well as a shared experience connecting diverse hearts and minds. The kaname, or pivot point, holds all parts of the fan together; here it represents Para athletes bringing people together regardless of nationality or ethnicity. Motifs on the leaves of the fan depict the vitality of people’s hearts and symbolize Japan’s captivating and life-giving natural environment in the form of rocks, flowers, wood, leaves, and water. These are applied with a variety of techniques, producing a textured surface that makes the medals compelling to touch.

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Tokyo Paralympic Medals

Tokyo Paralympic Medals

Alysa Liu lands quad Lutz

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Alysa Liu, a 14-year-old who in January became the youngest U.S. women’s figure skating champion, on Saturday landed a quadruple Lutz, something no other U.S. woman has done in competition.

Liu landed the jump at the Aurora Games, a women’s sports festival in Albany, N.Y. It does not count officially, since it’s not a sanctioned competition.

Previously, Sasha Cohen landed a quadruple Salchow in practice in 2001, but never in competition. At least three Russian teens landed quads in junior competition in the last two years.

Kazakhstan’s Elizabet Tursynbaeva became the first woman to land a clean, fully rotated quad in senior competition en route to silver at last season’s world championships.

Liu, who landed three triple Axels between two programs at January’s nationals, makes her junior international debut at a Grand Prix stop in Lake Placid, N.Y., next week.

She will not meet the age minimum for senior international competitions until the 2022 Olympic season. But she can continue to compete at senior nationals.

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