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Lindsey Vonn wins ‘incredible’ 80th World Cup race

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GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) — Lindsey Vonn edged Sofia Goggia in a foretaste of the Pyeongchang Olympic downhill on Saturday, raising her career total to 80 World Cup victories.

The American standout beat Goggia by two hundredths of a second as their ongoing rivalry in Alpine skiing’s fastest discipline continued.

“It’s a big number,” Vonn said of her 80 wins, which is just six short of the all-time record set by Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark in the 1980s.

“I remember when I got my 50th here, I never thought I would even get close to Annemarie Moser-Proell’s record (of 62 wins) and now I am getting close to Stenmark’s. It’s incredible,” she said.

“Also the timing of this win, coming into the Olympics,” Vonn added. “I really feel strong mentally and physically. I never thought in my life I would get 80 wins so it’s a big day.”

Vonn skied a solid run but didn’t seem to go to the limits as she trailed Italian rival Goggia by 0.08 at the last split time. However, Vonn overcame the deficit in the final section.

“I definitely skied aggressively, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t leave all the cards on the table,” Vonn said. “I hold those extra aces for the Olympics.”

It was Vonn’s second straight downhill win after Cortina, Italy, two weeks ago. She and Goggia are the only racers with more than one downhill victory this season.

Cornelia Huetter of Austria was 0.13 behind in third, while Vonn’s American teammate Breezy Johnson finished fourth for her career best result.

Earlier Saturday, Johnson and Vonn posted the fastest times in a mandatory training session two hours before the race, after training was canceled on the previous two days.

Vonn’s joy was tempered, however, by teammate Jacqueline Wiles’ crash.

Shortly after completing her run and taking the lead in the race, Vonn saw on a large video screen in the finish area how Wiles fell, slid through a gate and went into the safety netting. Wiles appeared to have hurt her knee and had to be transported off the hill by helicopter.

Earlier, Lauren Ross, who’s working her way back after a severe knee injury, also crashed hard but she stood up and eventually skied down.

“It was really hard to actually be happy and excited and celebrate because Jackie is in the hospital,” said Vonn about Wiles, who has been financially supported by Vonn’s foundation.

“It’s a really rough day for the whole team,” Vonn said. “I am happy that Lauren wasn’t hurt. I think she will be really sore tomorrow but at least her knee is OK. We are just all hoping that Jackie is OK.”

Another downhill on the Kandahar course is scheduled for Sunday, the last World Cup race before the Olympics, and Vonn was expecting another close duel with Goggia.

The Italian edged Vonn in both speed races that were held as test events on the Olympic hill in South Korea last year.

“She is always risking everything, she’s the person that I have to beat,” said the American, who is chasing another Olympic downhill medal to add to the gold she won in Vancouver 2010.

“She is a personality that is really needed on the World Cup,” Vonn added. “We are playing a little game with each other: who has the hundredths, you know. It makes it more exciting for us and also for the spectators.”

Goggia was smiling and hugged Vonn afterward.

“From the start gate to the red finish line, it’s a battle. But after, we are friends,” Goggia said. “This is the rivalry that I like. It’s really fun and challenging for me.”

The Italian’s daredevil style of racing has sometimes been seen as similar to Bode Miller’s approach, but Goggia laughs off any comparisons with the American great.

“It would be a great honor just to have 1 percent of Bode,” she said. “I am far away from him. I am a show girl on the skis sometimes and I think that’s the only thing we have in common. He has a class that I will never reach.”

141 women accept ESPYs Arthur Ashe Courage Award for Larry Nassar survivors

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A total of 141 women accepted the ESPYs’ Arthur Ashe Courage Award on Wednesday night for the hundreds of Larry Nassar survivors, according to ESPN.

“1997. 1998. 1999. 2000. 2004. 2011. 2013. 2014. 2015. 2016,” Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman said on stage. “These were the years we spoke up about Larry Nassar’s abuse. All those years, we were told, you are wrong. You misunderstood. He’s a doctor. It’s OK. Don’t worry. We’ve got it covered. Be careful. There are risks involved. The intention? To silence us. In favor of money, medals and reputation.

“But we persisted, and finally, someone listened and believed us. This past January, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina showed a profound level of understanding by giving us each the opportunity to face our abuser, to speak our truth and feel heard. Thank you, Judge Aquilina [in attendance], for honoring our voices.

“For too long, we were ignored, and you helped us rediscover the power we each possess. You may never meet the hundreds of children you saved, but know they exist. The ripple effect of our actions, or inactions, can be enormous, spanning generations.

“Perhaps the greatest tragedy of this nightmare is that it could have been avoided. Predators thrive in silence. It is all too common for people to choose to not get involved. Whether you act or do nothing, you are shaping the world that we live in, impacting others.

“All we needed was one adult to have the integrity to stand between us and Larry Nassar. If just one adult had listened, believed and acted, the people standing before you on this stage would have never met him. Too often, abusers and enablers perpetuate suffering by making survivors feel their truth doesn’t matter. To all the survivors out there, don’t let anyone rewrite your story. Your truth does matter, you matter and you are not alone.

“We all face hardships. If we choose to listen, and we choose to act with empathy, we can draw strength from each other. We may suffer alone, but we survive together.”

The Ashe award, named after the Grand Slam tennis champion and human rights advocate, goes to those with “strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of peril and the willingness to stand up for their beliefs no matter what the cost.”

Previous Olympian recipients include Muhammad AliCathy FreemanTommie Smith and John CarlosPat Summitt and Caitlyn Jenner.

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Erin Hamlin to run New York City Marathon

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Erin Hamlin, the first U.S. Olympic singles luge medalist and Team USA flag bearer at the PyeongChang Olympic Opening Ceremony, will run the New York City Marathon on Nov. 4.

Hamlin, a 2014 Olympic bronze medalist who retired after her fourth Olympics in PyeongChang at age 31, is running to fundraise for the Women’s Sports Foundation. So is Marlen Esparza, who in 2012 became the first U.S. Olympic women’s boxing medalist (flyweight bronze).

Hamlin has no marathon experience, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation.

“Being challenged in sport is something I am very familiar with,” Hamlin said in a mass email Wednesday, according to TeamUSA.org. “Long distance running is something I most certainly am not!! It will be difficult, mentally and physically daunting, but a way to test my abilities in a sport so far out of my comfort zone.”

Many Olympians in non-running sports have raced the New York City Marathon.

Bill Demong, the 2010 U.S. Olympic Closing Ceremony flag bearer and only U.S. Olympic Nordic combined champion, ran the 2014 NYC Marathon in 2:33:05, crushing eight-time Olympic medalist Apolo Ohno‘s 3:25:14 from 2011.

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