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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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Jordan Wilimovsky qualifies for Tokyo Olympics in open-water swimming

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Open-water swimmer Jordan Wilimovsky is the first male athlete on the 2020 U.S. Olympic team.

Wilimovsky, who placed fourth and fifth in two distance events at the 2016 Rio Games, joined fellow open-water swimmers Haley Anderson and Ashley Twichell in qualifying for Tokyo via the world championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

Wilimovsky, 25, placed fifth in the 10km event on Wednesday. Anderson and Twichell were second and sixth in the women’s 10km on Sunday. Top-10 finishers at worlds qualified for Tokyo.

German Florian Wellbrock won by two tenths of a second over French Olympic bronze medalist Marc-Antoine Olivier after 1 hour, 47 minutes in the water. Wilimovsky led with 600 meters left. Olympic 1500m freestyle champion Gregorio Paltrinieri also qualified for Tokyo in the open-water 10km by finishing sixth.

The other American, David Heron, was 25th, missing the Olympic team, but he can try again in the 1500m free in the pool at the Olympic trials next June.

Wilimovsky missed a medal in the Rio Olympic 1500m freestyle in the pool by 4.17 seconds, taking fourth. Three days later, he was fifth in the open-water 10km, 1.2 seconds out of bronze.

Wilimovsky, a Malibu native who redshirted at Northwestern to train for Rio, earned gold and silver in the 10km at the 2015 and 2017 World Championships.

A U.S. man has never earned an Olympic open-water medal. The event debuted at Beijing 2008.

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Ted Ligety scales back race schedule

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Two-time Olympic champion Ted Ligety is scaling back his race schedule as he enters the final portion of his decorated Alpine skiing career.

Ligety, a 34-year-old who has endured many injuries since his last World Cup win in 2015, said he will race strictly giant slaloms this year. The World Cup season starts in late October.

“So it’ll be a little bit easier schedule on my body,” Ligety said in a KPCW radio interview in his native Park City, Utah. “I’ll be able to be home a little bit more as well, and then we see. I mean, I would like to keep going as long as I feel like I can win races and feel healthy. That’s really the biggest part, and nowadays I have a 2-year-old son, and there’s more factors than there was when I was 25 years old.”

Ligety, nicknamed “Mr. GS” for his giant slalom prowess, has a 2014 Olympic gold medal and three world titles in that event.

He also owns an Olympic combined title from 2006 and world titles in the super-G and combined from 2013, but he hasn’t won a race in one of those disciplines since January 2014. And since then, he has undergone back and knee surgeries and dealt with hip problems.

“There’s a lot of hard miles on my body up to this point, but I’m still enjoying it,” said Ligety, whose 321 World Cup starts are the most among active Olympic medalists now that Lindsey Vonn and Aksel Lund Svindal have retired. “Right now, I feel really healthy and trying to get to a point where I feel I can win races. That’s the goal right now.”

Ligety, a four-time Olympian, has not publicly committed to a 2022 Olympic run.

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