Travis Ganong, top U.S. downhill skier, to miss Olympics

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Travis Ganong, the only U.S. man to win a World Cup Alpine skiing event in the last two years, tore an ACL in a race crash Thursday and will miss the Olympics, according to his social media.

Ganong, 29, earned downhill silver at the 2015 World Championships in Colorado, one of few highlights for the U.S. men’s speed team since the Sochi Olympics.

He also won a World Cup downhill last Jan. 27, ending the U.S.’ longest drought between men’s World Cup wins since 2000.

The previous win was by Ted Ligety on Oct. 25, 2015.

Ganong and the rest of the U.S. downhillers have struggled this season. Ganong’s best World Cup finish before his crash was 16th.

No U.S. man has finished in the top eight of a World Cup downhill or super-G this season. Ligety has the top finish in any event, a fifth in a giant slalom on Dec. 17.

The U.S. Olympic Alpine team will be named in three weeks.

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As you may have seen, I crashed in the downhill race in Bormio a few days ago, and tweaked my right knee.  After flying home and getting an MRI, it is confirmed that I have torn my ACL which unfortunately means my season is over. Bormio is a bittersweet place for me now as it is where I scored my first World Cup Points, had my first top 10, and where I won my first World Cup DH (in nearby Santa Caterina). However, now it is also the place where I had my first crash after 115 World Cup starts, and the first time that I have hit the B-net, in both training and racing! Having an injury is tough, and I am especially disappointed that this happened 5 weeks before the Olympics in South Korea where I was hoping to represent my country for the second time and fight for medals.  Now my next 6 months will obviously be very different to those of a World Cup skier, but I am excited for this new challenge and I am looking forward to re-setting, re-motivating, and working harder than ever to come back even stronger than I am now.  I still have many goals and much that I want to accomplish as a professional skier, and I can’t wait to get back into the starting gate again next season.  I will also have a great rehab partner with @mmgagnon rehabbing by my side! I want to thank all of my sponsors, fans, coaches, teammates and everyone at U.S. Ski & Snowboard, my friends and my family for their continued support and I want to let you all know that it is an honor being a part of the snow sports community! I will be cheering for the whole team in South Korea and I am excited to see so many talented athletes achieve their goals at the Games. I am planning on having surgery late this week after the swelling has gone down and I have my range of motion back.  After that I will start the rehab process here in Lake Tahoe, and also re-start working on my Ski Resort Management and Business degree from @sierranevadacollege .  I am also looking forward to having some time to work on and launch a new coffee company @pacificcrestcoffee (more to come)! So here is to a new year filled with new challenges!  The road back is not always easy, but I am embracing it and will be ready…

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Ironman Kona World Championships return for first time in three years, live on Peacock

Ironman Kona World Championship
Ironman
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The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

Both are entered in Kailua-Kona, where the races are now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona, Thursday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Ryf, 35 and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, can tie retired countrywoman Natascha Badmann for second place on the women’s list at six Ironman world titles. Only Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser has more with eight.

The field also includes German Anne Haug, the 2019 Kona champ and only woman other than Ryf to win since 2015. Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay, the Kona runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019, returns after missing the St. George event due to a stress fracture in her hip.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

Also racing Saturday is Dallas Clark, a retired All-Pro NFL tight end with the Indianapolis Colts, and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion who completed the 2011 Kona Ironman in 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

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Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic marathon champ in 1984, runs London Marathon at 65

Joan Benoit Samuelson
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Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, ran her first 26.2-mile race in three years at Sunday’s London Marathon and won her age group.

Benoit Samuelson, 65, clocked 3 hours, 20 minutes, 20 seconds to top the women’s 65-69 age group by 7 minutes, 52 seconds. She took pleasure in being joined in the race by daughter Abby, who crossed in 2:58:19.

“She may have beaten me with my replacement knee, but everybody said I wouldn’t do it! I will never say never,” Benoit Samuelson said, according to race organizers. “I am a grandmother now to Charlotte, and it’s my goal to run 5K with her.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Benoit Samuelson raced the 1987 Boston Marathon while three months pregnant with Abby. Before that, she won the first Olympic women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, plus the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983 and the Chicago Marathon in 1985.

Her personal best — 2:21:21 — still holds up. She ranks sixth in U.S. women’s history.

Benoit Samuelson plans to race the Tokyo Marathon to complete her set of doing all six annual World Marathon Majors. The others are Berlin, Boston, Chicago and New York City.

“I’m happy to finish this race and make it to Tokyo, but I did it today on a wing and a prayer,” she said, according to organizers. “I’m blessed to have longevity in this sport. It doesn’t owe me anything, but I feel I owe my sport.”

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