AP

Marcel Hirscher joined by Americans on Beaver Creek super-G podium

Leave a comment

Austrian Marcel Hirscher won his first World Cup super-G race, while the U.S. put two men on the podium in Ted Ligety and Andrew Weibrecht in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Saturday.

Hirscher, the four-time reigning World Cup overall champion, prevailed by .33 over Ligety. Weibrecht was .36 behind.

Pre-race favorite Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal, seeking his fourth straight win on tour, placed 21st. Full results are here.

Hirscher is the reigning World Cup slalom and giant slalom champion and World champion in the super combined, but he had only one previous World Cup super-G podium before Saturday — a third place back in 2012.

“It is nearly the same technique as giant slalom,” Hirscher said on NBCSN of Saturday’s course, which had a lower start due to weather conditions, which included falling snow to benefit early bib numbers. Hirscher started fourth, while the pre-race favorites were 16th and later.

Ligety, too, is better in the giant slalom as the reigning Olympic and World champion. He did, though, win the 2013 World title in the super-G.

“It’s really the most technical super-G hill on the World Cup,” Ligety said. “You actually have to be really good at turning and have to have some of the gliding skills.”

Weibrecht is more of a speed racer. He’s a two-time Olympic super-G medalist and notched his first career World Cup podium in his 117th start Saturday.

“It’s just such a monkey off my back,” Weibrecht said. “I get the question all the time that you have two Olympic podiums, but you never had a podium in World Cup, who is that? I’m sick of dealing with that.”

On Friday, Weibrecht was fifth in the downhill, then matching his best World Cup finish.

“I like to joke sometimes that he’s the fastest guy in all four events,” Ligety said. “Even slalom sometimes he’s ridiculously fast. It’s no surprise when he gets on the podium, that’s for sure. It’s more of a surprise it hasn’t happened more often.”

Hirscher and Ligety will be favored in a Beaver Creek giant slalom Sunday, live on NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra at 5 p.m. ET.

MORE ALPINE: Bode Miller says ‘good likelihood’ of comeback

Gregorio Paltrinieri swims second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri swam the second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history, clocking 14:33.10 in his native Italy on Thursday.

Paltrinieri, 25, missed Chinese Sun Yang‘s world record from the 2012 Olympics by 2.08 seconds.

The Italian now owns the second- and third-fastest times in history, including his 14:34.10 from the 2016 European Championships, also held at the 2012 Olympic pool in London.

Paltrinieri is a versatile distance swimmer. At last year’s world championships, he finished sixth in the open-water 10km to qualify for the Olympics, then won the 800m free in the pool in a European record time and finished with 1500m bronze, just missing a third straight world title in that event.

German Florian Wellbrock won the 1500m in 14:36.54 at worlds, with Paltrinieri finishing 2.21 seconds back.

Sun, 28, was in February banned eight years stemming from destroying a drug-test sample with a hammer in September 2018. Sun, who focused more on the 200m and 400m frees in recent years, did not race the 1500m at the 2017 or 2019 Worlds.

Top-level swim meets in the U.S. are scheduled to resume in November with the Tyr Pro Series.

MORE: Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Bianca Andreescu to miss U.S. Open

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing “unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic” compromising her ability to prepare to defend her Grand Slam title.

“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level,” Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian, posted on social media. “The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

Andreescu’s absence means the U.S. Open, the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be without both 2019 male and female singles champions.

Rafael Nadal previously announced he would not defend his title, saying he would rather not travel given the global situation. Roger Federer is also out after knee surgery. Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty didn’t enter, either, citing travel concerns.

Last year, Andreescu made her U.S. Open title run as the 15th seed, sweeping Serena Williams in the final. Ranked 208th a year earlier, she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam and the first teen Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 U.S. Open.

Andreescu then missed the Australian Open in January due to rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. She also missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2019 following a rotator cuff tear.

MORE: Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis competition

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!