Aliya Mustafina, Viktoria Komova
Getty Images

Russia identifies majority of Olympic gymnastics team

Leave a comment

Viktoria Komova and Aliya Mustafina, silver and bronze medalists in the 2012 Olympic all-around, were named among four preliminary members for Russia’s Olympic women’s artistic gymnastics team Thursday.

They were joined by 2012 Olympic teammates Maria Paseka and Ksenia Afanasyeva on a report published on the Russian gymnastics federation’s website. Komova and Mustafina are expected to compete in the all-around in Rio, according to the report.

The fifth and final spot on the team is up for grabs, though any name on the roster could change with the Olympics eight months away.

Russia took silver behind the U.S. at the 2011 Worlds and 2012 Olympics but fell to bronze at the 2014 Worlds and fourth this year.

Komova and Mustafina have both endured health problems since London, with Komova missing the 2013 and 2014 Worlds and Mustafina sitting out this year.

Komova shared the World uneven bars title with American Madison Kocian, China’s Fan Yilin and another Russian, Daria Spiridonova, on Oct. 31.

Paseka is the reigning World vault champion. Afanasyeva took silver on floor exercise behind American Simone Biles.

MORE GYMNASTICS: U.S. announces American Cup gymnasts

Ski jumping World Cup season kicks off in Poland

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The World Cup ski jump season opens Friday with men’s team and individual events in Wisla, Poland.

The host country had three of the top five jumpers in the overall standings last year. Defending champion Kamil Stoch placed third, Piotr Zyla was close behind in fourth, and Dawid Kubacki was fifth.

Japan’s Ryoyu Kobayashi dominated last year’s competition, finishing with 2,085 points to 1,349 for runner-up Stefan Kraft of Austria, the 2017 World Cup champion.

Kobayashi’s performance was a dramatic improvement over his previous season, when he finished no higher than sixth in any individual competition and was 24th overall. Last year, he had 15 wins and 23 podium finishes in 30 World Cup events, though he only managed fourth and 14th in the two world championship events.

The top American last season, Kevin Bickner, finished 51st overall, a drop from 39th the year before. He was 18th and 20th in the 2018 Olympic jumps.

Women’s World Cup action begins Dec. 6-8 in Lillehammer, Norway.

NBC Sports Gold will broadcast World Cup action throughout the season. This weekend, the qualifying jumps will air at noon ET Friday, the team event starts at 11:30 a.m. ET Saturday, and the individual competition is at 6 a.m. Sunday.

MORE: Full ski jumping broadcast schedule

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

 

 

 

 

Snowboarding pioneer Jake Burton Carpenter dies at 65

Getty Images
1 Comment

Jake Burton Carpenter, the pioneer who brought snowboarding to the masses and helped turn the sport into a billion-dollar business and Olympic showpiece, has died at 65.

He died Wednesday night in Burlington, Vermont, according to an email sent to the staff of the company he founded. Carpenter had emailed his staff this month saying, “You will not believe this, but my cancer has come back.” He had been diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011 but after several months of therapy had been given a clean bill of health.

Carpenter quit his job in New York in 1977 to form the company now known simply as Burton. His goal was to advance the rudimentary snowboard, then called a “Snurfer,” which had been invented by Sherman Poppen a dozen years earlier.

It worked, and more than four decades later, snowboarding is a major fixture at the Winter Games and snowboards are as common as skis at resorts across the globe.

“He was our founder, the soul of snowboarding, the one who gave us the sport we all love so much,” Burton co-CEO John Lacy said in his email to the staff.

It is virtually impossible to avoid the name “Burton” once the snow starts falling at any given mountain around the world these days. The name is plastered on the bottoms of snowboards, embroidered on jackets, stenciled into bindings.

At a bar in Pyeongchang, South Korea, not far from where snowboarding celebrated its 20th anniversary at the Olympics last year, there was a wall filled with Burton pictures and memorabilia — as sure a sign as any of the global reach of a company founded in his garage in Londonderry, Vermont.

The company sponsored pretty much every top rider at one time or another — from Shaun White to Kelly Clark to Chloe Kim.

Carpenter watched all his champions win their Olympic golds from near the finish line, never afraid to grind away in the mosh pit of snowboarders and snowboarding fans that he helped create.

In an interview in 2010, he said he was happy with how far his sport had come, and comfortable with where it was going.

“I had a vision there was a sport there, that it was more than just a sledding thing, which is all it was then,” Burton said. “We’re doing something that’s going to last here. It’s not like just hitting the lottery one day.”

Lacy said details about the celebration of Burton’s life would be coming soon but, for now, “I’d encourage everyone to do what Jake would be doing tomorrow, and that’s riding. It’s opening day at Stowe, so consider taking some turns together, in celebration of Jake.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!