Kenya has its first Olympic Alpine skier

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Kenya qualified its first Olympic Alpine skier.

Sabrina Simader, a 19-year-old born in Kenya and reportedly raised in Austria since age 3, will become the second athlete from any sport from the African nation to compete in a Winter Olympics.

Simader confirmed via email that she is entered to fill Kenya’s single Alpine skiing quota spot for PyeongChang.

“My roots are Kenyan, but I have the Austrian mentality,” Simader said, according to Reuters. “I didn’t live there, but I‘m very proud of my Kenyan roots. I‘m looking forward to representing Kenya enormously. The Olympics have been my dream since I was small.”

Simader made her World Cup debut last January, believed to be the first Kenyan to race on the world’s top circuit. She also raced at the world championships with a best finish of 39th.

“Simader’s zeal to compete in PyeongChang is a wake-up call to Kenyans to diversify to additional Olympic sports other than track and field,” Paul Tergat, the Kenya Olympic Committee president and former marathon world-record holder, said, according to Xinhua News Agency. “Kenya is a sporting nation, and there is need to grow other disciplines so that athletes can compete in other marginal sports outside our traditional stronghold.”

The first Kenyan Winter Olympian was cross-country skier Philip Boit, who competed in 1998, 2002 and 2006 with a best finish of 64th and will accompany Simader in PyeongChang, according to Xinhua.

In 1998, Boit was last of 92 skiers in the 10km event. Gold medalist Bjorn Daehlie waited at the finish line for Boit, who crossed more than 20 minutes after the Norwegian legend.

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MORE: PyeongChang Olympic schedule daily highlights

12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell
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At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

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A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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