Gwen Jorgensen repeats as triathlon World champion, extends streak

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Gwen Jorgensen completed a perfect season, repeated as World champion and won her 13th straight top-level international triathlon in the World Triathlon Series Grand Final in drizzly Chicago on Friday.

Jorgensen, heavily favored to become the first U.S. Olympic triathlon champion next year, prevailed by 29 seconds in 1:55:36 over Great Britain’s Non Stanford. Britain’s Vicky Holland was third. Full results here.

Jorgensen was in the lead group after the 1500m swim (five seconds behind) and the 40km bike (also five seconds behind) but did not crush the run as hard as normal.

Stanford and Holland stayed with her for the first 7.5 of 10km before Jorgensen made her move and pulled away by so much that she was able to rest her sunglasses on top of her head, look behind her and grab an American flag before crossing the finish line.

“They’re pretty tough,” Jorgensen said of the Brits shortly after winning. “I was really hurting today and had no idea what was going to happen. Non was leading a lot of the run, and I was just trying to stick with her.”

“Her kick was phenomenal,” Stanford said of Jorgensen.

Jorgensen entered seven World Triathlon Series events this season and won all of them. Her last top-level individual triathlon loss was April 26, 2014.

“I never would have thought that, to be able to perform on so many different days when I’m not feeling well or feeling well, or hilly courses, it just doesn’t seem real,” Jorgensen said.

The former Ernst & Young accountant notched her 15th career win in 31 World Triathlon Series starts, extending the longest men’s or women’s win streak in series history.

Pre-WTS, Australian Emma Carney and Portugal’s Vanessa Fernandes were unbeaten across 12 straight International Triathlon Union World Cup races, but they lost separate World Championships races during those streaks.

Jorgensen and another London Olympian, Sarah True, became the first two of a maximum three women to make the 2016 U.S. Olympic triathlon team with first- and fourth-place finishes in an Olympic test event in Rio on Aug. 2.

A third woman, favored to be Katie Zaferes, will be determined in 2016.

True was seventh Friday and finished third in the overall standings this season behind Jorgensen and New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt. Zaferes was 24th, though she’s finished runner-up in half of this season’s races and finished fifth in the season-long standings. Full standings here.

The 2016 World Triathlon Series begins in Abu Dhabi the first weekend in March.

In Rio, Jorgensen, True and perhaps Zaferes will look to join Susan Williams, who took bronze at Athens 2004, as U.S. Olympic triathlon medalists. Triathlon debuted at the Sydney 2000 Games.

In 2012, Jorgensen placed a disappointing 38th at the Olympics after suffering a flat tire on the bike and crossed the finish line thinking only about gold in Rio. True was fourth at the London Olympics as Sarah Groff, two years before marrying distance runner Ben True.

“We all know that [Jorgensen] is setting the level,” said Holland, who was closest to Jorgensen during the streak with a five-second loss in Hamburg on July 18. “She’s the target. She’ll know that. We’ve got a year now to work on that and really try and up our game and challenge her next year.”

The last defeat for some of the U.S.’ most dominant current and former female individual Olympic sports athletes:

Serena Williams (Tennis): Sept. 11, 2015
Adeline Gray (Wrestling): July 27, 2014 (25 straight wins)
Gwen Jorgensen (Triathlon): April 26, 2014 (13 straight wins)
Katie Ledecky (Swimming): Jan. 18, 2014 (31 straight wins)
Simone Biles (Gymnastics): March 30, 2013 (9 straight wins)
Claressa Shields (Boxing): May 13, 2012 (more than 30 straight wins)
Ronda Rousey (MMA/Judo): Aug. 13, 2008 (more than 15 straight wins)

Jorgensen’s streak includes only top-level individual international triathlon races. Ledecky’s includes only long-course meters 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle finals. Biles’ includes only all-around competitions. Rousey’s includes MMA fights and judo matches.

MORE TRIATHLON: Gwen Jorgensen’s bike helmet includes Paul Bunyan, Bucky Badger

Oleksandr Abramenko, Ukraine’s top Winter Olympian, tears knee, career in question

Oleksandr Abramenko
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Aerials skier Oleksandr Abramenko, who won both of Ukraine’s medals over the last two Winter Olympics, is out for the season after a knee ligament tear and said he might not return to competition at all, according to Ukrainian media.

Abramenko, 34, won gold at the 2018 Olympics — Ukraine’s second-ever individual Winter Olympic title after figure skater Oksana Baiul in 1994 — and silver last year.

He competed once this season, placing 10th at a World Cup in Finland on Dec. 4, and then flew with the Ukrainian national team to stay in Utah ahead of World Cups in Canada in January and at the 2002 Olympic venue in Park City this weekend. The area also hosted many Ukraine winter sports athletes this past summer.

Abramenko missed the competition in Canada two weeks ago due to injury and then wasn’t on the start list for today’s aerials event in Park City. He is set to miss the world championships later this month in Georgia (the country, not the state).

Abramenko said he needs surgery, followed by a nine-month rehabilitation process, similar to an operation on his other knee six years ago, according to Ukraine’s public broadcaster. He said he will see how the recovery goes and determine whether to return to the sport at age 35, according to the report.

Abramenko is already the oldest Olympic men’s aerials medalist and come the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games will be older than all but one male aerialist in Olympic history, according to Olympedia.org.

At last year’s Olympics, Abramenko, Ukraine’s flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony, was hugged after the aerials final by Russian Ilya Burov, who finished one spot behind Abramenko for a bronze medal. A week later, Russia invaded Ukraine.

A week after that, Abramenko posed for a photo sitting on a mattress in a Kyiv parking garage with his wife and 2-year-old son published by The New York Times.

“We spend the night in the underground parking in the car, because the air attack siren is constantly on,” Abramenko texted, according to the newspaper. “It’s scary to sleep in the apartment, I myself saw from the window how the air defense systems worked on enemy missiles, and strong explosions were heard.”

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Freestyle skiers in World Cup action on NBC Sports, Peacock

Ski Halfpipe
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Olympic gold medalists David Wise and Alex Hall headline World Cup freestyle skiing and snowboarding stops in the U.S. this weekend, airing on NBC Sports and Peacock.

Wise, who last Sunday won his fifth X Games Aspen ski halfpipe title, led the qualifiers into the final at the Mammoth Mountain Grand Prix in California.

He’s joined in the 10-man final by U.S. Olympic teammates Aaron Blunck and Birk Irving. The women’s ski halfpipe final includes the top three from last week’s X Games — Brit Zoe Atkin, Canadian Rachael Karker and American Svea Irving. Olympic champion Eileen Gu of China is out after suffering a knee injury in an X Games training crash.

The ski slopestyle finals include the reigning men’s and women’s Olympic gold medalists — Hall, plus Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland.

The marquee snowboarders in Mammoth finals are Olympic big air silver medalist Julia Marino (slopestyle) and X Games silver medalist Maddie Mastro (halfpipe). Two-time Olympic champion Chloe Kim is taking the season off, and another double Olympic champion, Jamie Anderson, is pregnant.

Aerials and moguls skiers are competing in their lone U.S. World Cup stop in Park City, Utah.

The moguls fields including Olympic gold medalists Walter Wallberg of Sweden, Mikael Kingsbury of the U.S., Perrine Laffont of France and Jakara Anthony of Australia. Olympic silver medalist Jaelin Kauf is the standout American.

The aerials include every member of the U.S. team that took gold at last year’s Olympics — Ashley Caldwell, Chris Lillis and Justin Schoenefeld.

Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding World Cup Broadcast Schedule

Day Event Time (ET) Platform
Saturday Moguls 11 a.m. CNBC, Peacock
Ski Halfpipe 3 p.m. NBC, Peacock
Sunday Ski Slopestyle 12 p.m. CNBC, Peacock
Sun., Feb. 12 Aerials, Dual Moguls 2 p.m. NBC, Peacock
Snowboard Halfpipe 2 p.m. CNBC, Peacock

All NBC and CNBC coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

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