Double sweep for U.S. men and women in snowboard slopestyle at Mammoth Grand Prix

Leave a comment

Reigning Olympic champion Jamie Anderson outscored her teenage teammates to claim gold in women’s snowboard slopestyle at the U.S. Grand Prix in Mammoth Mountain, Calif.

Anderson won the competition, the first Olympic selection event, with a second-run score of 80.25. She was joined on the podium by 16-year-old Hailey Langland and 19-year-old Julia Marino.

At last weekend’s X Games, Anderson finished second behind Marino, while Langland placed fourth.

American rookies took the top spots in the men’s slopestyle event as well, with 16-year-old Redmond Gerard scoring 87.95 to place first. Kyle Mack and Dylan Thomas completed the double sweep for U.S. snowboarders.

Gerard felt a few nerves before what turned out to be his first major title, and told U.S. Snowboarding, “When I was in the rail section I was like, ‘this jump section is going to be gnarly, I’m terrified right now!’ It turned out to be fine—just trust your landing and trust your skills and you’re good to go.”

Besides Anderson, all five medalists would be first-time Olympians if named to the U.S. Olympic team for the 2018 PyeongChang Games. The Grand Prix in Mammoth is the first of five competitions used to select the snowboarding slopestyle team. A maximum of three male and three female snowboarders can earn automatic berths onto the Olympic with podium finishes at these qualifying events.

In the women’s ski slopestyle event, Maggie Voisin won gold and was the only American to make it onto the podium. Devin Logan, Olympic silver medalist in the event, placed fourth.

Voisin was named to the 2014 Olympic team but wasn’t able to compete in Sochi due to an ankle injury sustained in practice.

The men’s ski slopestyle event was cancelled due to deteriorating conditions on Sunday afternoon.

MORE: Torin Yater-Wallace, Maddie Bowman lead U.S. skiers onto halfpipe podium at Olympic qualifier

 

Mark Spitz takes on Katie Ledecky’s challenge

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Swimmers around the world took on Katie Ledecky‘s milk-glass challenge since it became a social media sensation, including one of the few Americans with more Olympic gold medals.

Mark Spitz, who won seven golds at the 1972 Munich Games, took 10 strokes in an at-home pool while perfectly balancing a glass of what appeared to be water on his head.

“Would’ve been faster with the ‘stache, @markspitzusa, but I still give this 7 out of 7 gold medals,” Ledecky tweeted.

Spitz joined fellow Olympic champions Susie O’Neill of Australia and American Matt Grevers in posting similar videos to what Ledecky first shared Monday.

In Tokyo next year, Ledecky can pass Spitz’s career gold-medal count of nine if she wins all of her expected events — 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles and the 4x200m free relay.

Then she would trail one athlete from any country in any sport — Michael Phelps, the 23-time gold medalist who has yet to post video of swimming while balancing a glass on his head.

MORE: Spitz puts Michael Phelps’ career in perspective

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis eyeing Grand Slam record

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Serena Williams travels with “like 50 masks” and has been a little bit of a recluse since early March and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t have full lung capacity, so I’m not sure what would happen to me,” Williams said Saturday, two days before the start of the WTA’s Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky., her first tournament since playing Fed Cup in early February. “I’m sure I’ll be OK, but I don’t want to find out.”

Williams, 38, has a history of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. She faced life-threatening complications following her Sept. 1, 2017, childbirth that confined her to a bed for six weeks. She said her daily routine was surgery and that she lost count after the first four.

More recently, Williams enjoyed “every part” of the last six months at home in Florida, her longest time grounded since her teens.

“I’ve been a little neurotic, to an extent,” on health and safety, she said. “Everyone in the Serena bubble is really protected.”

Williams is entered to play next week in Lexington and at consecutive tournaments in New York City later this month — the Western & Southern Open and U.S. Open, the latter starting Aug. 31.

Williams is the highest-ranked player in the Lexington field at No. 9. Others include 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, older sister Venus Williams and 16-year-old Coco Gauff.

She has been bidding ever since having daughter Olympia to tie Margaret Court‘s record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, albeit many of Court’s crowns came before the Open Era and, notably at the Australian Open, against small fields lacking the world’s best players. Williams reached the last two Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals, losing all of them.

She showed her seriousness in committing early to this year’s U.S. Open by installing a court at home with the same surface. Three of the top 10 female singles players already said they will skip the U.S. Open due to travel and/or virus concerns, including No. 1 Ash Barty.

“Tennis is naturally a socially distanced sport, so it was kind of easy to go back and just walk on my side of the court and have my hitter walk on his side of the court,” Williams said.

The French Open starts two weeks after the U.S. Open ends. Williams was asked if she will fly to Europe for tournaments this autumn.

“I see myself doing it all, if it happens,” she said.

The Tokyo Olympics are too far away to make plans.

“We’ll have to kind of wait to see what happens in the fall,” she said. “One thing I have learned with this pandemic is don’t plan.”

MORE: Past U.S. Open champions get wild cards

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!