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Andrew Weibrecht, unlikely Olympic medalist, retires from Alpine skiing

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Andrew Weibrecht, a speed racer who came from nowhere to earn an Olympic medal in 2010 and 2014, has retired from Alpine skiing, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard.

“There comes a time in every young man’s life that he decides it’s time to retire and move on,” was posted on Weibrecht’s social media Tuesday.

Weibrecht, a 32-year-old who grew up in Lake Placid where his parents own Mirror Lake Inn, earned back-to-back Olympic super-G medals — bronze in Vancouver and silver in Sochi.

Before both of those podiums, his best result on the World Cup tour was 10th.

Weibrecht was nine days on from his 24th birthday when he joined World Cup overall title-winners Aksel Lund Svindal and Bode Miller on the super-G medal stand in Vancouver (and then Miller, Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso on a Sports Illustrated cover). Weibrecht skied third, then watched as skiers far more accomplished than he could not knock him off the podium.

“It was definitely, by far, the most exciting ski race I’ve ever watched,” Weibrecht joked that day. “If you don’t watch ski racing, you might miss my name.”

Weibrecht wasn’t able to turn that bronze medal into World Cup success, but he came back from being demoted to the U.S.’ B team, paying some of his own travel expenses, to make a second Olympics in Sochi after considering retirement.

In the 2014 Olympic super-G, the man nicknamed War Horse charged from bib No. 29, several spots after the medal favorites. He skied faster than everyone save Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud.

“This is probably the most emotional day of ski racing that I’ve ever had,” Weibrecht said in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia, referencing not only the demotion but also injuries, including a concussion and ankle and shoulder surgeries, he suffered between Olympics. “I really needed a result to remind me that I’m capable of this and that I belong here.”

Weibrecht finally started bagging World Cup results after Sochi. In 2015, he finished fifth on four occasions and made his first podiums in the 2015-16 season.

Then the struggles came along with knee problems. His best World Cup finish the last two seasons was 12th. Weibrecht ended his Olympic career by skiing out of the PyeongChang super-G.

“Just skied too straight off a jump,” Weibrecht said in South Korea, according to the Washington Post. “That’s ski racing.”

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Weekend Gymnastics Roundup: Carey and McCusker on World Cup podium

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World medalists Jade Carey and Riley McCusker headlined gymnastics action over the weekend as the World Cup circuit continued with an all-around competition in Birmingham, England, and an apparatus event in Doha, Qatar.

Carey won both the vault and floor events in Doha, pushing her to the top of the standings on both apparatus (she also won the vault and floor competitions the previous weekend at the World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan).

Doha marked the halfway point of apparatus World Cups, putting Carey in a promising position to qualify for the Tokyo Games heading into the next four events. The apparatus World Cup series includes a total of eight competitions spread over two seasons, and one gymnast per apparatus will qualify for the Olympics based on his or her top three results across the eight events.

Carey, 18, was the 2017 world silver medalist on vault and floor. But she opted not to try for a spot on the 2018 World Championships team due to the International Gymnastics Federation’s rules that active team members who help their countries qualify team spots for Tokyo (as the U.S. women did in November) cannot earn individual spots. Carey, an apparatus specialist rather than an all-around gymnast, chose the World Cup route to keep open her options of qualifying individually.

McCusker, who was part of the U.S. team that won the world title last year, finished second at the all-around World Cup in Birmingham, posting the top scores on the uneven bars and floor. Russia’s Aliya Mustafina, a seven-time Olympic medalist, won the event. Mustafina bounced back from a shaky showing last weekend at the World Cup in Stuttgart, where she finished fifth in an event won by Simone Biles. Mustafina, 24, is trying to qualify for her third Olympics after giving birth to daughter Alisa in June 2017.

The all-around World Cup circuit continues on April 7 in Tokyo, Japan, where two-time world all-around medalist Morgan Hurd and two-time Olympian Sam Mikulak are expected to compete.

First Olympic women’s aerials champion Cheryazova dies at 50

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MOSCOW — Lina Cheryazova, the first woman to win an Olympic aerials skiing gold medal, has died. She was 50.

Officials in the Russian city of Novosibirsk, where Cheryazova was living for the last two decades, said she died “following a lengthy illness,” without giving further details.

Competing for Uzbekistan, Cheryazova won gold with a triple flip when aerials skiing debuted on the Olympic program in 1994 in Lillehammer.

Shortly after winning, she learned her mother died three weeks before.

Cheryazova’s career was derailed later that year when she suffered a serious head injury while training in the United States, and spent days in a coma. She retired after failing to qualify for the 1998 Winter Olympics.