Tiger Woods impressed with Lindsey Vonn’s return in ‘scary’ sport

Lindsey Vonn, Tiger Woods
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Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn had vastly different outcomes in their returns from injury over the weekend.

Their results — joint last place for Woods at the Hero World Challenge and a win and a second place for Vonn in World Cup races — weren’t the only contrasts.

“I’m not going to die in my sport,” Woods said after he finished even after 72 holes, sharing the bottom of an 18-man field in Orlando. “You know, what they [Alpine skiers] do and the surfaces they’re on, injected snow, it’s just scary how fast it is and how dangerous and how much focus you have to bring to the table. You know, probably the biggest thing besides that is our sport is about playing a physical chess match that takes time and lots and lots of patience, whereas theirs is just pure aggression.”

Woods, who played his first tournament in four months after a back injury, fell to No. 25 in this week’s Official World Golf Ranking and No. 14 among Americans. It matched his lowest ranking since Nov. 27, 2011. Woods was the year-end No. 1 in 2013.

To make the Rio 2016 Olympics, Woods will likely have to be in the top 15 come July 11, 2016, when the rankings will determine the 60-man field.

He will definitely have to be among the top four Americans.

Vonn, on the other hand, is off to a tremendous start in her bid to make a fourth U.S. Olympic team in 2018.

Of course, it is very early in the process for both athletes.

“You have to understand she really hadn’t skied that competitively in two years,” said Woods, who watched Vonn from the finish area at her last race before this past weekend, on an injured knee Dec. 21, 2013, in Val d’Isere, France. “So to be able to get into a position where she felt comfortable to push the physical limits, absolute limits -‑ because that’s what [you] have to do in order to win in her sport ‑- and to be able [to] take those chances and take [those] risks without having her knee blow out on her is pretty cool. She almost won today, which is even better. She’s got her confidence back.”

Vonn is next expected to race in Val d’Isere on Dec. 20, should there be adequate snow.

Lindsey Vonn second in Lake Louise super-G

Summer McIntosh breaks 400m individual medley world record, extends historic week

Summer McIntosh
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Canadian swimmer Summer McIntosh broke her second world record this week, lowering the 400m individual medley mark on Saturday.

McIntosh, a 16-year-old who trains in Sarasota, Florida, clocked 4 minutes, 25.87 seconds at the Canadian Championships in Toronto.

She took down Hungarian Katinka Hosszu‘s world record of 4:26.36 from the 2016 Rio Olympics. Before Saturday, McIntosh had the fourth-fastest time in history of 4:28.61.

“It’s always nice to set world records,” McIntosh said.

On Tuesday, McIntosh broke the 400m freestyle world record, becoming the youngest swimmer to break a world record in an individual Olympic event since Katie Ledecky in 2013.

McIntosh also this week became the fourth-fastest woman in history in the 200m individual medley and the eighth-fastest woman in history in the 200m butterfly.

In each of her four races this week, she also broke the world junior record as the fastest woman in history under the age of 19.

She is entered to swim the 200m free on the meet’s final day on Sunday. She is already the eighth-fastest woman in history in that event.

McIntosh, whose mom swam the 1984 Olympic 200m fly and whose sister competed at last week’s world figure skating championships, placed fourth in the Tokyo Olympic 400m free at age 14.

Last summer, she won the 200m fly and 400m IM at the world championships, becoming the youngest individual world champion since 2011.

This summer, she could be at the center of a showdown in the 400m free at the world championships with reigning world champion Ledecky and reigning Olympic champion Ariarne Titmus of Australia. They are the three fastest women in history in the event.

Around age 7, McIntosh transcribed Ledecky quotes and put them on her wall.

MORE: McIntosh chose swimming and became Canada’s big splash

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Hilary Knight leads new-look U.S. women’s hockey roster for world championship

Hilary Knight
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Hilary Knight headlines a U.S. women’s hockey roster for this month’s world championship that lacks some of the biggest names from last year’s Olympic silver-medal team. Changes have been made as the U.S. looks to end losing streaks to Canada, both overall and in major finals.

The full roster is here. Worlds start Wednesday in Brampton, Ontario, and run through the gold-medal game on April 16.

It was already known that the team would be without stalwart forwards Kendall Coyne Schofield, who plans to return to the national team after having her first child this summer, and Brianna Decker, who announced her retirement last month.

Notable cuts include the No. 1 goalies from the last two Olympics: Alex Cavallini, who returned from Christmas childbirth for the tryout camp this past week, and Maddie Rooney, the breakout of the 2018 Olympic champion team.

Cavallini, 31, was bidding to become the first player to make an Olympic or world team after childbirth since Jenny Potter, who played at the Olympics in 2002, 2006 and 2010 as a mom, plus at several world championships, including less than three months after childbirth in 2007.

Forward Hannah Brandt, who played on the top line at last year’s Olympics with Knight and Coyne Schofield, also didn’t make the team.

In all, 13 of the 25 players on the team are Olympians, including three-time Olympic medalists forward Amanda Kessel and defender Lee Stecklein.

The next generation includes forward Taylor Heise, 23, who led the 2022 World Championship with seven goals and was the 2022 NCAA Player of the Year at Minnesota.

The team includes two teens — 19-year-old defender Haley Winn and 18-year-old forward Tessa Janecke — who were also the only teens at last week’s 46-player tryout camp. Janecke, a Penn State freshman, is set to become the youngest U.S. forward to play at an Olympics or worlds since Brandt in 2012.

Abbey Levy, a 6-foot-1 goalie from Boston College, made her first world team, joining veterans Nicole Hensley and Aerin Frankel.

Last summer, Canada repeated as world champion by beating the U.S. in the final, six months after beating the U.S. in the Olympic final. Canada is on its longest global title streak since winning all five Olympic or world titles between 1999 and 2004.

Also at last summer’s worlds, the 33-year-old Knight broke the career world championship record for points (now up to 89). She also has the most goals in world championship history (53). Knight, already the oldest U.S. Olympic women’s hockey player in history, will become the second-oldest American to play at a worlds after Cammi Granato, who was 34 at her last worlds in 2005.

The Canadians are on a four-game win streak versus the Americans, capping a comeback in their recent seven-game rivalry series from down three games to none. Their 5-0 win in the decider in February was their largest margin of victory over the U.S. since 2005.

Last May, former AHL coach John Wroblewski was named U.S. head coach to succeed Joel Johnson, the Olympic coach.

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