Ted Ligety ‘trying to get the feeling back’ after injuries

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Ted Ligety‘s not pleased with his recent skiing, but there’s an understandable reason why he’s missed the podium in three straight World Cup giant slalom races.

“I’m not in good shape,” the Olympic and World giant slalom champion said after finishing fourth in a giant slalom in Alta Badia, Italy, on Sunday. “I’m definitely smaller, weaker, than I was two months ago.”

That’s because Ligety “basically didn’t do anything” for three weeks to a month after winning the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 25.

He said he couldn’t touch his knees or tuck in training due to three herniated disks in his back. Then he tore a hip labrum.

“I don’t have any pain anymore,” Ligety, who fought through it to take second in a super-G in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Dec. 5, said Sunday. “I just need to get back to being strong again.”

Ligety attributed the back problems to new skis.

“They’re difficult, and they hurt everybody’s back,” he said. “Everybody has bad backs here. It’s just the trend. So, it’s an unfortunate new reality.”

Ligety is now 210 points behind Austrian rival Marcel Hirscher in the World Cup giant slalom standings after four of a scheduled 11 races.

Hirscher, who won his third straight GS on Sunday, also took the standings title last season, helping deny Ligety from a three-peat.

Ligety no longer controls his own destiny in the race for this year’s title.

“I definitely have that ability in there,” Ligety said. “Trying to get the feeling back. … Definitely not how I want to be skiing right now.”

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Eliud Kipchoge sets next marathon

Eliud Kipchoge
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Eliud Kipchoge will race the London Marathon on April 26 before he is expected to defend his Olympic title in Japan on Aug. 9, which would mark the shortest break between marathons of his career.

Kipchoge, who in his last 26.2-mile effort became the first person to break two hours at the distance, won all four of his London Marathon starts, including breaking the course record in 2016 and 2019.

His time this past April 28 — 2:02:37 — is the third-fastest time in history. Kipchoge has the world record of 2:01:39 set at the 2018 Berlin Marathon. His sub-two-hour marathon in Vienna on Oct. 12 was not in a record-eligible race.

Kipchoge’s previous shortest break between marathons came in 2016, when he also ran London and the Olympics. The Olympics will be two weeks earlier in 2020 than in 2016.

Kipchoge, 35, has won 11 of 12 marathons since moving to road racing after failing to make Kenya’s 2012 Olympic track team.

He has yet to race the two most prestigious marathons in the U.S. — Boston and New York City — but has said they are on his bucket list.

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Canadians become first female doubles luge team in World Cup

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WHISTLER, British Columbia (AP) — Caitlin Nash and Natalie Corless made luge history Saturday, becoming the first female team to compete in a World Cup doubles race.

The 16-year-olds from Whistler combined to finish 22nd in a field of 23 sleds, though that seemed largely irrelevant. There have been four-woman teams in what is typically called four-man bobsledding, but luge has never seen a pairing like this until now.

The German sled of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken won the race in 1 minute, 16.644 seconds. Germany’s Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt finished second and the Russian team of Vsevolod Kashkin and Konstantin Korshunov placed third for their first medal of the season.

The U.S. team of Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman placed 11th.

But the story was the Canadian teens, who qualified for the World Cup event on Thursday. They were nearly a half-second behind any other finisher and almost 2.7 seconds back of Eggert and Benecken. But they’ll forever be able to say that they were winning the race at one point — a technicality because they were the first ones down the hill at the Whistler Sliding Center, but accurate nonetheless.

The only sled they beat was the Italian team of Ivan Nagler and Fabian Malleier, who crashed in the second heat.

There are women’s singles and men’s singles races on the World Cup luge circuit, but there is no rule saying doubles teams must be composed of two men. There have been more female doubles racers at the junior level in recent years, and it was generally considered to be just a matter of time before it happened at the World Cup level.

That time became Saturday.

Canada had the chance to qualify a second sled into the doubles field because some teams typically on the circuit chose to skip this weekend’s stop, and Nash and Corless got into by successfully finishing a Nations Cup qualifying race on Thursday.

They were 11th in that race out of 11 sleds, more than a full second behind the winner and nearly a half-second behind the closest finisher. But all they had to do was cross the line without crashing to get into Saturday’s competition, and earned their spot in the luge history books as a result.

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