Dave Christian gold medal
AP

Miracle on Ice player, father to auction Olympic gold medals

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Their Olympic gold medals and other memorabilia have been spending more time in safety deposit boxes than on display, so Bill Christian and Dave Christian decided the time was right to auction them off.

The father-son collection, currently up for online bidding, will be sold later this month.

As treasured as the items are, parting with them wasn’t as difficult as people might have assumed.

“Whether or not we have it in our hand, we still both won gold medals,” said Dave Christian, a key member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team that produced the “Miracle on Ice” who went on to play 15 seasons in the NHL. “The memories and all the stories and what not, they won’t ever go away.”

Bill Christian was a star on the 1960 team that also beat the heavily favored Soviet Union on the way to winning Olympic gold. For the auction, the two of them pulled out dozens of items, from game-worn jerseys and game-used equipment to plaques, rings and trophies celebrating a host of hockey triumphs.

“Whatever we could find that had made many, many moves and been stored away,” Dave Christian said. “Better to part with it than let the moths eat it.”

The proceeds will go toward college funds for his five grandchildren, said Dave Christian, a native of Warroad, Minn., who’s now 56 years old and living in the Twin Cities area. Bill Christian, age 78, is a resident of Naples, Fla.

Heritage Auctions will conduct the public sale in New York the weekend of Feb. 20-21. Derek Grady, the company’s vice president of sports memorabilia, said the collection will bring in more than $500,000 and probably more. Dave Christian’s gold medal alone is pegged at $300,000.

Last year, Heritage Auctions handled a similar auction for the family of the late Herb Brooks, who coached Dave Christian on the 1980 team. That collection more than doubled the initial estimate, Grady said. The ring Brooks received for the 1980 Olympics fetched $113,525.

“People connect with sports, and the value of sports collectibles has shot up,” Grady said. “I think people are diversifying their investments. If you see the rise of sports memorabilia over the past 20 years, it’s been on par with or better than the stock market, if you buy quality items.”

Rarity, naturally, is the primary driver of value, and material from the 1980 Olympic team is always a big sell.

“Most people in their 40s and older remember where they were when they beat the Russians. So to get a piece of that team, whether it be a jersey, a medal or a stick, is significant to a person,” Grady said. “I think that’s why that team was so beloved. They’re a great group of guys.”

MORE: Highlights from the Miracle on Ice reunion

Federica Brignone passes Mikaela Shiffrin for World Cup overall lead

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Italian Federica Brignone passed an absent Mikaela Shiffrin for the World Cup overall standings lead by winning a combined in Switzerland on Sunday.

Brignone prevailed by .92 of a second adding times from super-G and slalom runs in Crans-Montana. Full results are here.

Brignone moved 73 points ahead of Shiffrin in the overall through 29 of 40 scheduled races. A race winner receives 100 points on a descending scale through the 30th-place finisher. The season runs through March 22.

Shiffrin, the three-time reigning World Cup overall champion, has not competed since the unexpected death of her father on Feb. 2. She has not announced if or when she will return this season.

Brignone, 29, is having a career season with five wins and 10 podiums across four disciplines.

Brignone’s best previous World Cup overall standings finish was fifth. She earned giant slalom medals at the 2018 Olympics (bronze) and 2011 World Championships (silver).

She could become Italy’s first female World Cup overall champion. The last Italian male winner was Alberto Tomba in 1995.

The women’s Alpine skiing World Cup moves to La Thuile, Italy, for a super-G and a combined next Saturday and Sunday.

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Jade Carey on brink of becoming first gymnast to qualify for U.S. Olympic team

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The U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials aren’t until late June, but Jade Carey is in position to qualify for the Tokyo Games in March.

Carey, seeking an individual Olympic gymnastics spot outside of the team competition, earned the maximum points in a World Cup series that is one path to Olympic qualification.

Carey has three wins each on floor exercise and vault with two World Cups left in March. Carey will mathematically clinch an Olympic spot if no other gymnasts earn maximum points on one of the apparatuses to force a tiebreaker.

A gymnast’s top three finishes across the eight-stop series count in Olympic qualifying. If Carey finishes atop the floor or vault standings, she goes to the Olympics.

Carey picked up those third wins on floor and vault at the sixth World Cup in Melbourne, Australia, this weekend.

So far, no other gymnast has two wins on floor. One other gymnast can get to the maximum points on vault with one win between the last two stops (and others with two).

The one downside to qualifying this route: Carey would not be able to compete in the team competition at the Olympics. Those four spots will be determined at and after June’s trials in St. Louis, with Simone Biles likely grabbing one of them.

“I knew I would be giving up being on the team,” Carey said in October of going the World Cup route, “but I think, for me, it made sense to just go for it.”

Carey is a world medalist on vault and floor, but she doesn’t have the all-around credentials of Biles and some other U.S. gymnasts.

Olympic team event roster sizes were cut from five to four for Tokyo, putting a greater onus on all-around prowess given a team must put three gymnasts on each apparatus in the Olympic final.

The U.S. is the deepest country in women’s gymnastics, so the only truly safe pick to make the four-woman Olympic team event roster is Biles.

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