Julia Mancuso out for season due to hip surgery


Julia Mancuso, a four-time Olympic medalist, will miss the entire Alpine skiing season after she undergoes hip surgery Wednesday.

“If I were to try to push through, get more treatments and try to ski this season, I would just be setting myself back towards the real goal, which is PyeongChang 2018,” Mancuso said in a press release. “My goal is to be strong enough to freeski at the end of March, but conservatively, it depends on the outcome of the surgery.”

Mancuso cut her 2014-15 season short due to right hip pain, a problem area throughout her career that intensified after she fell on her right side in a giant slalom in Are, Sweden, on Dec. 12, and later skipped the World Cup Finals in March.

She then hit her head on a reef, needing 15 staples among her hair, according to her Instagram in late May. She didn’t race in the season-opening giant slalom Oct. 24. The second and third races of the season are Nov. 28-29 in Aspen, Colo.

“We used this year’s prep season to exhaust all conservative treatment,” U.S. Ski Team medical director Kyle Wilkens said in a press release. “Unfortunately, those efforts were not successful and she has elected to go forth with surgery.”

Mancuso, 31, competed at every World Cup Finals, World Championships and Olympics since 2005 up until last season’s World Cup Finals, racking up the most Alpine medals by a U.S. woman in history (nine combined Olympic/Worlds medals) and six top-three finishes in World Cup discipline standings.

She last won an international race Feb. 21, 2012, though Mancuso did earn a 2014 Olympic super combined bronze medal.

Mancuso has 395 World Cup starts dating to her Nov. 20, 1999, debut, which is 13 starts shy of the women’s record held by retired Austrian Renate Goetschl.

The Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Games would be her fifth Olympics. No U.S. woman previously competed in five Winter Games.

Mancuso’s absence means that eight of the 11 women who earned 2014 Olympic Alpine medals are not competing this season, via injuries, retirements and Tina Maze‘s break.

Lindsey Vonn, coming back from a broken ankle, and Mikaela Shiffrin are the favorites for the biggest prize in the sport this season, the World Cup overall title.

MORE: Bode Miller to join NBC Sports Alpine coverage

Saudi Arabia to host 2029 Asian Winter Games

Olympic Council of Asia

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


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.”