Tina Maze becomes oldest women’s World champion; Lindsey Vonn 5th


Tina Maze captured the World Championships downhill, relegating Lindsey Vonn to fifth place in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Friday.

Maze, 31, became the oldest woman to win Worlds gold in an individual race. She bagged her second medal in as many events this week, after taking silver in the super-G on Tuesday. The Slovenian could become the first woman to win five medals at a single World Championships.

“I knew I could do this [win five medals],” Maze, who raced with words to the Slovenian national anthem on her suit, said in a press conference. “I knew that before I came here. Of course, it’s in my mind, but thinking about it, it makes no sense. You have to go day by day.”

Maze, the co-Sochi Olympic downhill champion, prevailed by .02 of a second over Austrian Anna Fenninger, who won the super-G on Tuesday. Swiss Lara Gut took bronze, .34 back.

Maze repeated Friday that she will consider retirement after this season, July to be specific. She said at the Sochi Olympics that she would not continue to the 2018 Winter Games, which would have been her fifth.

“I don’t feel old at all,” Maze said. “Of course, I’m one of the oldest, but I feel full of energy. I was never injured, that’s my big thing.”

Vonn was 1.05 behind, shrugging her shoulders after crossing the finish after taking super-G bronze. (full results here)

“I didn’t have the greatest feeling on the snow, couldn’t get things going,” Vonn, who has won three of six World Cup downhills this season, said on NBCSN. “It’s unfortunate. I wish I could have done better today for the hometown crowd.”

Vonn recorded her worst result in a World Championships downhill.

She earned gold in 2009, silver in 2007 and 2011 and was fourth in 2005. Vonn, whose last gold medal was in the 2010 Olympic downhill, missed the 2013 World Championships downhill due to injury.

The World Championships continue with the men’s downhill Saturday. Vonn’s next race is expected to be the super combined Monday. Vonn said she hasn’t skied slalom in about 2 1/2 years.

“Maybe in the combined I can pull off a miracle,” Vonn joked to media.

World Championships broadcast schedule

Bode Miller leaning toward retirement

Mark Spitz takes on Katie Ledecky’s challenge

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Swimmers around the world took on Katie Ledecky‘s milk-glass challenge since it became a social media sensation, including one of the few Americans with more Olympic gold medals.

Mark Spitz, who won seven golds at the 1972 Munich Games, took 10 strokes in an at-home pool while perfectly balancing a glass of what appeared to be water on his head.

“Would’ve been faster with the ‘stache, @markspitzusa, but I still give this 7 out of 7 gold medals,” Ledecky tweeted.

Spitz joined fellow Olympic champions Susie O’Neill of Australia and American Matt Grevers in posting similar videos to what Ledecky first shared Monday.

In Tokyo next year, Ledecky can pass Spitz’s career gold-medal count of nine if she wins all of her expected events — 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles and the 4x200m free relay.

Then she would trail one athlete from any country in any sport — Michael Phelps, the 23-time gold medalist who has yet to post video of swimming while balancing a glass on his head.

MORE: Spitz puts Michael Phelps’ career in perspective

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Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis eyeing Grand Slam record

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Serena Williams travels with “like 50 masks” and has been a little bit of a recluse since early March and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t have full lung capacity, so I’m not sure what would happen to me,” Williams said Saturday, two days before the start of the WTA’s Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky., her first tournament since playing Fed Cup in early February. “I’m sure I’ll be OK, but I don’t want to find out.”

Williams, 38, has a history of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. She faced life-threatening complications following her Sept. 1, 2017, childbirth that confined her to a bed for six weeks. She said her daily routine was surgery and that she lost count after the first four.

More recently, Williams enjoyed “every part” of the last six months at home in Florida, her longest time grounded since her teens.

“I’ve been a little neurotic, to an extent,” on health and safety, she said. “Everyone in the Serena bubble is really protected.”

Williams is entered to play next week in Lexington and at consecutive tournaments in New York City later this month — the Western & Southern Open and U.S. Open, the latter starting Aug. 31.

Williams is the highest-ranked player in the Lexington field at No. 9. Others include 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, older sister Venus Williams and 16-year-old Coco Gauff.

She has been bidding ever since having daughter Olympia to tie Margaret Court‘s record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, albeit many of Court’s crowns came before the Open Era and, notably at the Australian Open, against small fields lacking the world’s best players. Williams reached the last two Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals, losing all of them.

She showed her seriousness in committing early to this year’s U.S. Open by installing a court at home with the same surface. Three of the top 10 female singles players already said they will skip the U.S. Open due to travel and/or virus concerns, including No. 1 Ash Barty.

“Tennis is naturally a socially distanced sport, so it was kind of easy to go back and just walk on my side of the court and have my hitter walk on his side of the court,” Williams said.

The French Open starts two weeks after the U.S. Open ends. Williams was asked if she will fly to Europe for tournaments this autumn.

“I see myself doing it all, if it happens,” she said.

The Tokyo Olympics are too far away to make plans.

“We’ll have to kind of wait to see what happens in the fall,” she said. “One thing I have learned with this pandemic is don’t plan.”

MORE: Past U.S. Open champions get wild cards

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