Team USA takes bronze in men’s doubles

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The American men’s doubles pair of Steve Johnson and Jack Sock began Friday with hopes of winning the nation’s second consecutive gold medal, following up on the triumph of the Bryan brothers at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. But a straight set loss to Romania’s Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau in the semifinals dropped the Americans into the bronze medal match, meaning only a win would get them onto the medal stand.

Johnson and Sock bounced back in a big way, defeating Canada’s Daniel Nestor and Vacek Pospisil in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4, to take the bronze.

This is the first Olympic medal of any kind for both Johnson, who lost to Great Britain’s Andy Murray in the quarterfinals of the men’s singles tournament, and Sock. This is the fourth time since the 1988 Summer Olympics that the U.S. has won a medal in men’s singles, with Ken Flach and Robert Seguso taking gold in Seoul and the Bryan brothers taking bronze in 2008 and gold in 2012.

WATCH: Americans Johnson, Sock take men’s doubles bronze

Spain’s Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez won the gold medal match, beating the Romanian tandem of Mergea and Tecau 6-2, 3-6, 6-4. Nadal, who took gold in men’s singles at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, has now won two Olympic gold medals in his career with a chance for a third as he’s in the men’s single semifinals. This is Lopez’s first Olympic gold of any kind, and it’s the first-ever gold medal in men’s doubles for Spain (first medal since 2000).

American Madison Keys will also look to win a bronze medal after falling in the semifinals of the women’s singles tournament to Germany’s Angelique Kerber. The mixed doubles tandem of Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram advanced to the semifinal round, and Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Jack Sock have quarterfinal match of their own later Friday.

Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight


Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

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Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen

Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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