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Olympic Year in Review: Headlines

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OlympicTalk takes a look back at the year in Olympic sports this week. Today, we review enduring news stories.

U.S. Ski Team Prospects Die in Avalanche

Ronnie Berlack, 20, and Bryce Astle, 19, two U.S. development-level Alpine skiers, died in an avalanche while freeskiing in Austria on Jan. 4.

Their deaths shocked the winter sports community and led to an outpouring of remembrances and support from U.S. skiers such as Olympic champions Ted Ligety and Lindsey Vonn.

Boston 2024 becomes Los Angeles 2024

The U.S. Olympic Committee announced Boston as its 2024 Olympic bid city Jan. 8, ending a domestic competition since the USOC sent letters to 35 cities gauging interest in potential bids in February 2013.

However, setbacks plagued Boston’s first-ever Olympic bid, most notably a lack of public support and most importantly the refusal of Boston mayor Marty Walsh to sign a document that could put taxpayers at risk if there were cost overruns.

The bid ended July 27.

Los Angeles, one of the other three finalist cities, stepped in quickly. That city’s bid became official Sept. 1, two weeks before an International Olympic Committee bid submission deadline.

L.A. 2024 is up against Budapest, Paris and Rome as it seeks to end a U.S. drought of hosting the Olympics that’s dated to 2002 (Winter Games) and 1996 (Summer Games). The IOC will vote to choose the 2024 host city in September 2017.

Miracle on Ice Reunion

All living members of the Miracle on Ice team gathered in Lake Placid, N.Y., for the first time since the 1980 Winter Olympics for a 35-year reunion in February.

The event came together after the team lost its first player, Bob Suter to a heart attack Sept. 9, 2014.

On Feb. 21, the remaining 19 players sat and spoke during a chronological ceremony at Herb Brooks Arena, spliced with video of the Miracle on Ice, the 2004 film “Miracle” and the coach Brooks saying before the Olympics that the U.S. was unlikely to win a medal.

Ronda Rousey Becomes a Superstar

Rousey made more headlines in a matter of seconds in the UFC Octagon this year than during her entire judo career that included a 2008 Olympic bronze medal, the first medal earned by a U.S. female judoka.

She won two fights in a combined 48 seconds before being upset by Holly Holm on Nov. 15 with a vicious kick to the head for a knockout. Rousey had not lost on such a big stage since the Beijing 2008 Games.

Camille Muffat Dies in Helicopter Crash

Muffat, the French 2012 Olympic 400m freestyle swimming champion, died along with French Olympic bronze medalist boxer Alexis Vastine and eight others while filming a reality TV show in Argentina on March 9.

Marathon Oddities

St. Louis: Winner DQ’d for cheating.
Boston: Runner finishes the following morning.
San Diego: Oldest woman to finish a marathon.
World Championships: First teenage gold medalist.
Berlin: Eliud Kipchoge misses world record by 63 seconds after shoe malfunction.
Nairobi: Runner-up DQ’d for cheating.
Bangkok Half: Wrong distance.
London 2016: A British astronaut plans to run the 26.2-mile race in space.

Lindsey Vonn, Tiger Woods split

The 2010 Olympic downhill champion and 2016 Olympic hopeful ended a nearly three-year relationship, announcing their breakup May 3.

Vonn and Woods were often seen together at Woods’ golf tournaments, Vonn’s ski races (notably Woods missing a tooth while at Vonn’s most notable victory of the year) and at least one Denver Broncos football game.

Vonn started her 2015-16 season off well with four December victories. Woods has fallen outside of the top 400 in the Official World Golf Ranking, has no return date from a back injury and is extremely unlikely to qualify for the first Olympic golf tournament in 112 years.

Rio Olympic Countdown

Rio Olympic organizers unveiled the 2016 Olympic competition schedule, torch design and torch relay details this year.

They also spent plenty of time dealing with issues such as water quality and athlete air conditioning.

Beijing 2022

The IOC chose Beijing over Almaty, Kazakhstan, to host the 2022 Winter Olympics in a close July 31 vote. Beijing will become the first city to hold a Summer Games and a Winter Games.

It will mark the third straight Olympics in East Asia, following the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Russian Doping

The prevalent use of performance-enhancing drugs in Russian track and field was a story throughout the year, from the bans of Olympic and World track and field champions in January to the entire nation being banned by the IAAF on Nov. 13.

Russia has plenty of work ahead if it’s to be reinstated before the Rio Olympics.

Oscar Pistorius Appeal

The first double amputee to run in the Olympics was released after serving less than a year in prison in October, to spend the remainder of a five-year term under house arrest.

However, Pistorius was convicted of murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in an appeals court Dec. 3 and was released on bail ahead of an April sentencing date.

Retirements
Kaitlyn Farrington
, Snowboarding
Haile Gebrselassie, Track and Field
Dominique Gisin, Alpine Skiing
Katie Hoff, Swimming
Nicole Hosp, Alpine Skiing
Hannah Kearney, Freestyle Skiing
Cindy Klassen, Speed Skating
Steven Langton, Bobsled
Liu Xiang, Track and Field
Mario Matt, Alpine Skiing
Nick McCrory, Diving
Paula Radcliffe, Track and Field
Benjamin Raich, Alpine Skiing
Maëlle Ricker, Snowboarding
Abby Wambach, Soccer
Jordyn Wieber, Gymnastics
Lauryn Williams, Bobsled

Olympic Year in Review: Winter Sports | Summer Sports | Photos | Social Media

2020 Tour de France standings

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2020 Tour de France results for the yellow jersey, green jersey, white jersey and polka-dot jersey …

Overall (Yellow Jersey)
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) — 87:20:05
2. Primoz Roglic (SLO) — +:59
3. Richie Porte (AUS) — +3:30
4. Mikel Landa (ESP) — +5:58
5. Enric Mas (ESP) — +6:07
6. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL) — +6:47
7. Tom Dumoulin (NED) — +7:48
8. Rigberto Uran (COL) — +8:02
9. Adam Yates (GBR) — +9:25
10. Damiano Caruso (ITA) — +14:03
13. Richard Carapaz (ECU) — +25:53
15. Sepp Kuss (USA) — +42:20
17. Nairo Quintana (COL) — +1:03:07
29. Thibaut Pinot (FRA) — +1:59:54
36. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) — +2:19:11
DNF. Egan Bernal (COL)

Sprinters (Green Jersey)
1. Sam Bennett (IRL) — 380 points
2. Peter Sagan (SVK) — 284
3. Matteo Trentin (ITA) — 260
4. Bryan Coquard (FRA) — 181
5. Wout van Aert (BEL) — 174

Climbers (Polka-Dot Jersey)
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) — 82 points
2. Richard Carapaz (ECU) — 74
3. Primoz Roglic (SLO) — 67
4. Marc Hirschi (SUI) — 62
5. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL) — 51

Young Rider (White Jersey)
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) — 87:20:13
2. Enric Mas (ESP) — +6:07
3. Valentin Madouas (FRA) — +1:42:43
4. Dani Martinez (COL) — +1:55:12
5. Lennard Kamna (GER) — +2:15:39

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TOUR DE FRANCE: TV, Stream Schedule | Stage By Stage | Favorites, Predictions

Tadej Pogacar, Slovenia win Tour de France for the ages

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A Tour de France that almost didn’t happen ended up among the most exciting in the race’s 117-year history.

Tadej Pogacar, a 21-year-old Slovenian, rode into Paris on Sunday as the first man in more than 60 years to pedal in the yellow jersey for the first time on the final day of a Tour.

Let’s get the achievements out of the way: Pogacar is the first Slovenian to win the Tour, finishing with the other overall leaders behind stage winner Sam Bennett on the Champs-Elysees.

“Even if I would come second or last, it wouldn’t matter, it would be still nice to be here,” Pogacar said. “This is just the top of the top. I cannot describe this feeling with the words.”

He is the second-youngest winner in race history, after Henri Cornet in 1904. (Cornet won after the first four finishers were disqualified for unspecified cheating. The 19-year-old Frenchman rode 21 miles with a flat tire during the last stage after spectators reportedly threw nails on the road.)

Pogacar is the first man to win a Tour in his debut since Frenchman Laurent Fignon in 1983.

And he’s part of a historic one-two for Slovenia, a nation with the population of Houston.

Countryman Primoz Roglic, who wore the yellow jersey for nearly two weeks before ceding it after Saturday’s epic time trial, embraced Pogacar after a tearful defeat Saturday and again during Sunday’s stage.

Tasmanian Richie Porte, who moved from fourth place to third on Saturday, made his first Tour podium in his 10th start, a record according to ProCyclingStats.com. The age range on the Paris gloaming podium — more than 13 years — is reportedly the largest in Tour history.

TOUR DE FRANCE: Standings | TV, Stream Schedule | Stage By Stage

Three men on a Tour de France podium in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe, each for the first time. Hasn’t been done since 2007, arguably the first Tour of a new era.

This Tour feels similarly guard-changing.

It barely got off, delayed two months by the coronavirus pandemic. Two days before the start, France’s prime minister said the virus was “gaining ground” in the nation and announced new “red zones” in the country, including parts of the Tour route.

Testing protocols meant that if any team had two members (cyclists or staff) test positive before the start or on either rest day, the whole team would be thrown out.

It never came to that. Yet the Tour finishes without 2019 champion, Colombian Egan Bernal, who last year became the first South American winner and, at the time, the youngest in more than 100 years.

Bernal abandoned last Wednesday after struggling in the mountains. His standings plummet signaled the end, at least for now, of the Ineos Grenadiers dynasty after five straight Tour titles dating to Chris Froome and the Team Sky days.

Jumbo-Visma became the new dominant team. The leader Roglic was ushered up climbs by several Jumbo men, including Sepp Kuss, the most promising American male cyclist in several years.

What a story Roglic was shaping up to be. A junior champion ski jumper, he was concussed in a training crash on the eve of what would have been his World Cup debut in 2007. Roglic never made it to the World Cup before quitting and taking up cycling years later.

As Roglic recovered from that spill in Planica, Pogacar had his sights on the Rog Ljubljana cycling club about 60 miles east. Little Tadej wanted to follow older brother Tilen into bike racing, but the club didn’t have a bike small enough.

The following spring, they found one. Pogacar was off and pedaling. In 2018, at age 18, he was offered a contract and then signed with UAE Team Emirates, his first World Tour team. The next year, Pogacar finished third at the Vuelta a Espana won by Roglic, becoming the youngest Grand Tour podium finisher since 1974.

Pogacar was initially slated to support another rider, Fabio Aru, for UAE Emirates at this year’s Tour. But his continued ascent propelled him into a team leader role.

Bernal and Roglic entered the Tour as co-favorites. After that, Pogacar was among a group of podium contenders but perhaps with the highest ceiling.

He stayed with the favorites for much of the Tour, save losing 81 seconds on the seventh stage, caught on the wrong end of a split after a crash in front of him.

“I’m not worried,” Pogacar said that day. “We will try another day.”

The next day, actually. He reeled back half of the lost time, putting him within striking distance of Roglic going into Saturday’s 22-mile time trial, the so-called “race of truth.”

Pogacar put in a performance in the time trial that reminded of Greg LeMond‘s epic finale in 1989. Pogacar won the stage by 81 seconds, greater than the margin separating second place from eighth place. Roglic was a disappointing fifth on the day, but he could have finished second and still lost all of his 57-second lead to Pogacar.

Pogacar turns 22 on Monday, but that might not add much to the celebration.

“Sorry,” he said, “but I’m not really a fan of my birthdays.”

MORE: USA Cycling names Olympic team finalists

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