Allyson Felix headed to 200m final at Olympic Trials

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EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — This could feel like a road game for Allyson Felix.

She has the aching right ankle and Jenna Prandini the crowd support.

The last step on Felix’s road to the 200-400 double figures to finally feature some drama Sunday at the U.S. Track and Field Trials.

Granted, Felix is the favorite — always is in her signature event, the one she captured gold at the 2012 London Games. But she’s far from a lock with an ankle that made winning the 400 earlier in the week troublesome and running the curve in the 200 less than ideal.

What’s more, this is Prandini’s house. The former University of Oregon standout will have about 100 friends and family in attendance to watch her race. They even designed T-shirt with “Go, Jenna, Go” stenciled on them.

“I’m at my home track, my whole family is here,” Prandini said. “I’m set up well.”

Felix just wishes her ankle would’ve allowed her more time to work on the curve of the 200, the spot where this race could be won or lost.

“I mean, unfortunately, that’s an area we haven’t had the luxury of working on,” Felix said. “Just trying to get through with what I have.”

Heading into Trials, one of the big topics was whether Felix could make the team in both the 200 and 400. She breezed in the 400.

But someone beat her to qualifying in both — LaShawn Merritt, who finished second in the 200 on Friday after winning the 400.

In addition to Prandini, Tori Bowie will be a threat to Felix, along with Oregon Duck Deajah Stevens and 19-year-old Ariana Washington, the Oregon runner who captured the 200 title at NCAA championships last month.

Missing from the field will be Candace Hill, a 17-year-old high school who didn’t make it out of the semifinals.

“It was a great experience. I’m glad I went,” said Hill, who turned pro last December and signed a 10-year deal with ASICS. “This really helped me learn how pro meets are run. High school meets were getting too easy for me. This is the next level for me.”

Track and Field Trials: Results Daily Schedule | TV Schedule

Ski jumping World Cup season kicks off in Poland

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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

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Snowboarding pioneer Jake Burton Carpenter dies at 65

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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.”

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