Marcel Hirscher’s historically dominant win just about ends Ted Ligety’s title hopes (video)

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Ted Ligety‘s bid to win a third straight World Cup giant slalom season title is all but over after Austrian rival Marcel Hirscher won in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, on Sunday.

Hirscher prevailed by a massive 3.28 seconds over two runs, the largest margin of victory in a men’s World Cup race in more than 35 years, according to ski-db.com.

“I risked everything,” Hirscher said, “but I won everything.”

German Felix Neureuther was second. Ligety was fourth and tipped his cap.

“Impressive piece of skiing,” he told media in Germany.

Ligety dropped to 188 points behind Hirscher in the World Cup giant slalom standings with two races left. A victory nets 100 points. The top 30 skiers earn points on a descending scale, giving Ligety almost no chance of overtaking Hirscher.

Hirscher notched his 30th World Cup victory and increased his overall standings lead. The 25-year-old is in line to win a fourth straight World Cup overall title, something no man has ever done.

Ligety captured the season’s biggest giant slalom, the World Championship in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Feb. 13. But Hirscher has won five of six World Cup giant slalom races this season.

“It was not the greatest year,” Ligety said, “but we salvaged it with the World Championships. That’s at least one bright spot.”

Hirscher also denied Ligety’s bid for a third straight World Cup giant slalom title in 2012. On Sunday, he moved into solo third among Austrian men in all-time World Cup wins. Hermann Maier won 54 races, and Benjamin Raich is at 36.

One must wonder if Ligety can reclaim the World Cup giant slalom title from Hirscher next season. Yes, Ligety is skiing with four screws in his left hand from a November training injury.

But he’s also five years older than Hirscher. Ligety’s only victories this season came on U.S. snow. The World Cup circuit is primarily run in Europe.

And though Ligety hasn’t lost an Olympics or Worlds giant slalom since 2010, he barely kept his World Cup giant slalom title in 2014, by .01 of a second and a points tiebreaker at the World Cup Finals last March.

The men’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues with a downhill and super-G in Kvitfjell, Norway, next Saturday and Sunday.

Saudi Arabia to host 2029 Asian Winter Games

Olympic Council of Asia
Getty
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Saudi Arabia will host the Asian Winter Games in 2029 in mountains near the $500 billion futuristic city project Neom.

The Olympic Council of Asia on Tuesday picked the Saudi candidacy that centers on Trojena that is planned to be a year-round ski resort by 2026.

“The deserts & mountains of Saudi Arabia will soon be a playground for Winter sports!” the OCA said in a statement announcing its decision.

Saudi sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal said the kingdom’s winter sports project “challenges perception” in a presentation of the plan to OCA members.

“Trojena is the future of mountain living,” the minister said of a region described as an area of about 60 square kilometers at altitude ranging from 1,500 to 2,600 meters.

The Neom megaproject is being fund by the Saudi sovereign wealth vehicle, the Public Investment Fund.

Saudi Arabia also will host the Asian Games in 2034 in Riyadh as part of aggressive moves to build a sports hosting portfolio and help diversify the economy from reliance on oil.

A campaign to host soccer’s 2030 World Cup is expected with an unprecedented three-continent bid including Egypt and Greece.

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Jim Redmond, who helped son Derek finish 1992 Olympic race, dies

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Jim Redmond, who helped his injured son, Derek, finish his 1992 Olympic 400m semifinal, died at age 81 on Sunday, according to the British Olympic Association, citing family members.

At the 1992 Barcelona Games, Derek pulled his right hamstring 15 seconds into his 400m semifinal, falling to the track in anguish.

He brushed off help from officials, got up and began limping around the track. About 120 meters from the finish line, he felt the presence of an uncredentialed man who rushed down the stadium stairs, dodged officials and said, “We started this together, and we’re going to finish this together,” according to Olympedia.org.

“As I turned into the home straight, I could sense this person was about to try and stop me,” Derek said in an NBC Olympics profile interview before the 2012 London Games. “I was just about to get ready to sort of fend them off, and then I heard a familiar voice of my dad. He said, ‘Derek, it’s me. You don’t need to do this.'”

Derek said he shouted to his dad that he wanted to finish the race.

“He was sort of saying things like, ‘You’ve got nothing to prove. You’re a champion. You’ll come back. You’re one of the best guys in the world. You’re a true champion. You’ve got heart. You’re going to get over this. We’ll conquer the world together,'” Derek remembered. “I’m just sort of saying, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.'”

At one point, Derek noticed stadium security, not knowing who Jim was, having removed guns from their holsters.

“It’s the only time I’ve ever heard my dad use bad language,” Derek said. “He just goes, ‘Leave him alone, I’m his father.'”

Derek told himself in that moment, “I’m going to finish this race if it’s the last race I ever run.” It turned out to be the last 400m race of his career, after surgery and 18 months of rehab were not enough to yield a competitive comeback, according to Sports Illustrated.

Derek had missed the 1988 Seoul Games after tearing an Achilles, reportedly while warming up for his opening race. He looked strong in Barcelona, winning his first-round heat and quarterfinal.

“I’d rather be seen to be coming last in the semifinal than not finish in the semifinal,” he said, “because at least I can say I gave it my best.”