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Marcel Hirscher owns Adelboden, wins snowy slalom

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After winning the giant slalom on Saturday by going all-out in his second run, Austria’s Marcel Hirscher returned to the Swiss slopes to see if he could go 2-for-2 in 2019 in Adelboden.

With wet snow falling, Hirscher was able to once again lay down an aggressive second run, this time in the slalom, to pick up his 67th career World Cup victory.

After his first run, Hirscher was positioned in third behind Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen and his own countryman, Marco Schwarz.

Wearing bib #12, Schwarz produced a surge of speed at the bottom of his first run and overtook the lead by .34 hundredths of a second, good enough for the top spot heading into the break.

Despite unfavorable conditions, Hirscher turned in a masterful second run, crossing the finish line with a .50 hundredths of a second lead.

Kristoffersen was unable to match Hirscher’s pace in his second run. The Norwegian struggled to find a rhythm, and looked off balance at times, even putting his hands down on the snow to help him recover after scraping past a gate.

Schwarz also faltered in his second run, losing control and pulling up as the grandstand at the bottom of the course came into view.

Joining Hirscher on the podium was France’s Clement Noel in second, with his first podium finish of the season, and Kristoffersen who’s rough ride was good enough for third. Full results are here.

The men’s World Cup tour remains in the Swiss Alps this week as they travel to Wengen. On Friday, January 18 competition resumes with the Alpine combined, with the downhill scheduled for Saturday and the slalom for Sunday.

On the women’s tour, Lindsey Vonn is expected to make her return to the slopes for the U.S. as she attempts to close the gap between herself and all-time World Cup win list leader — for a man or woman — Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark. Stenmark holds the record with 86 career victories, with Vonn right behind him at 82. Look for Vonn to compete in the women’s downhill on Friday, January 18 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

Watch World Cup Alpine skiing on Olympic Channel or stream it live on NBC Sports Gold.

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Brigid Kosgei beaten as another world record smashed in Nike shoes

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Ethiopian Ababel Yeshaneh broke the half marathon world record by 20 seconds, beating new marathon world-record holder Brigid Kosgei in the United Arab Emirates on Friday.

Nike-sponsored runners lowered the men’s and women’s marathon and half marathon records since September 2018, each appearing to race in versions of the apparel giant’s scrutinized Vaporfly shoes.

Yeshaneh, a 28-year-old who finished 14th in the 2016 Olympic 5000m, clocked 1:04:31 for 13.1 miles to better Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei‘s world record from 2017.

Kosgei, a 26-year-old Kenyan, also came in under the old world record but 18 seconds behind Yeshaneh.

Kosgei took 81 seconds off Paula Radcliffe‘s 16-year-old women’s marathon world record on Oct. 13, clocking 2:14:04 to win the Chicago Marathon.

Nike Vaporfly shoes, including the prototypes worn by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge when he ran a sub-two-hour marathon, were deemed legal by World Athletics’ new shoe regulations last month, according to Nike.

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Olympic, world champion lugers pull out of World Cup event over safety

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U.S. Olympic silver medalist Chris Mazdzer and other top lugers are skipping this weekend’s World Cup stop in Winterberg, Germany, citing unsafe track conditions and a growing frustration with the international federation over athlete concerns.

“This was brought to the attention of the FIL [International Luge Federation] and yet again we were told that everything is ok,” was posted on Mazdzer’s Instagram. “I realize that a boycott is a lose-lose situation and there are no winners. But I have no other option at this point. I feel personally that this track is not safe for doubles sleds or for athletes who do not have adequate numbers of runs.”

Mazdzer said by phone Friday that he noticed significant bumps on the track in his first training run earlier this week.

“I couldn’t drive because I’m being thrown everywhere,” he said. “When you’re going 130 kilometers an hour [80 miles per hour], you don’t really want the track to be bad.”

An FIL spokesperson said Friday that Mazdzer’s choice was “his individual decision” and declined further comment ahead of races scheduled Saturday and Sunday. Mazdzer said that he was told the race starts will be moved down.

USA Luge said in a Friday statement that it will not participate in the World Cup and would communicate its concern for athlete safety to the FIL.

Two-time U.S. Olympian Summer Britcher said she was boycotting via Instagram, calling it “a farce of a World Cup.” Top lugers said athletes suffered serious injuries in training runs.

“I love this sport, but after too many decisions too many times that disregard 1-the safety of the athletes, and 2- the integrity and fairness of our sport, I have grown a great disdain for the International Luge Federation, and those who make these decisions,” was posted on Britcher’s account. “I will not race this weekend. I do not believe the track is safe, I do not believe it has been prepared to a World Cup standard, and I do not believe that the International Federation and Winterberg World Cup organisers should get away from this with no consequences.”

Britcher’s post noted that her team notified coaches and the technical director that the track was unsafe after her first training run Wednesday.

“Our concerns, and the concerns of the rest of the athletes from other nations throughout the day were not taken seriously,” Britcher posted.

Britcher said that several coaches attempted to fix the track for several hours on Thursday after athletes refused to train.

Olympic champion David Gleirscher of Austria and World Cup standings leader Roman Repilov of Russia and the top doubles teams of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken and Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt of Germany also posted on Instagram that they’re skipping the Winterberg World Cup, the penultimate stop of the season, for safety reasons.

Mazdzer estimated a 20 percent crash rate in training, but that the track condition has improved since Wednesday. He still plans to race next week at the last World Cup in Königssee.

“There’s a lot of problems with Winterberg,” he said after detailing the situation between athletes and the FIL, “and it’s not just the track.”

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