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Chloe Kim gets World Cup halfpipe win ahead of X Games

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Possibly foreshadowing what lies ahead next week at the X Games in Aspen, the U.S.’ reigning Olympic halfpipe champion, Chloe Kim returned to World Cup competition today to take home the top prize in Switzerland.

Competing in a two-run halfpipe event, Kim led the field after her first run with a score of 89.00 points. No one was able to unseat Kim from her perch with their second run, so Kim did it herself. Landing back-to-back 1080s, Kim bested her first run, receiving 93.75 points from the judges for her second-run effort.

Spain’s Queralt Castellet finished in second, scoring 80.50 points in her first run, while the U.S.’ Arielle Gold finished third overall with a first-run score of 77.25 points. Full results are here.

Next week Kim will attempt to win her fourth X Games Aspen Superpipe title in five years, which would put her in a tie for second all-time in the X Games record books, just behind her 2018 Olympic teammate, and six-time X Games halfpipe champ, Kelly Clark.  

Kim was coming off a nine-month break from competition before winning the opening World Cup halfpipe event this season at Copper Mountain Resort in Colorado back in December. The following weekend, Kim threw down an event-winning first run in the Dew Tour’s Modified Superpipe event.

Australian Olympic bronze medalist Scotty James won the men’s event Saturday, also with his first attempt in the halfpipe, landing an opening switch backside 1080 for a 95.75-point run. Japan’s Yuto Tatsuka was second with 92.00 points and the U.S.’ Jake Pates held on for third with a score of 85.50. It’s Pates’ first time on a World Cup podium. Full results are here.

Chase Josey, also riding for the U.S., was unable to put a run together in Laax, skidding out in each of his two runs.

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The Wrap from Day 1 of the World Championships

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NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan — Matt Lindland sees progress taking place within the United States Greco-Roman program.

He sees accountability and ownership. He sees a desire to compete with the global Greco powers and a willingness to pay the price to get there.

“There’s definitely been progress,” Lindland said. “We’ve got great guys. It’s about them. They want to be here. They want to do what it’s going to take to get to that next level, and you can see it. They’re frustrated when things don’t go their way, and they’re going to figure out how to fix those things. Yeah, we’re making the right progress. We’ve got the right guys, we’ve got the right attitude.”

But Lindland also sees hesitation at times, too. He sees too much analyzing and not enough reactionary aggression.

“I think our guys are second-guessing themselves, they’re questioning and they’re thinking,” he said. “They’re thinking about what’s going to happen instead of being in the moment and just being present and letting things fly. Really great athletes out there on America’s team and they’re super capable. When they start thinking and questioning what’s going to happen and wondering what the referee is going to call, they’ve just got to go out there and do what they’re all capable of doing.”

Both dynamics — the signs progress and the work-in-progress symbols — were on display Saturday on the opening day of the World Championships.

Max Nowry, Ryan Mango and Raymond Bunker notched opening-round wins Saturday. For perspective, only three Americans posted Greco victories at the World Championships in 2018.

On the flip side, though, each of the three ran into roadblocks when they couldn’t hold leads in their second bout, and Mango and Bunker got eliminated later in the day.

Nowry and John Stefanowicz, however, got pulled into the repechage and have a chance to wrestle Sunday for medals. Nowry got an extra opportunity when Kazakhstan’s Khorlan Zhakansha stunned 2018 World champ and No. 1 seed Eldaniz Azizli of Azerbaijan, 11-5, in the 55-kilogram semifinals.

Stefanowicz dropped a 7-0 decision in the Round of 16 at 82 kilograms against Georgia’s Lasha Gobadze. But the Georgian posted two more victories to set Stefanowicz up with another chance at a medal.

Read the rest of the article at Track Wrestling

Sky Brown, 11 years old, is third at world skateboarding championships ahead of Olympic debut

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Sky Brown, an 11-year-old who appears en route to becoming the youngest female Summer Olympian in 50 years, took third at the world skateboarding championships in Sao Paulo on Saturday. The sport debuts at the Olympics in Tokyo.

Brown posted her highest score of her four finals runs in the last round, 58.13 points, of the park event. It was not enough to overtake Japanese Misugu Okamoto and Sakura Yosozumi. The new world champion Okamoto is 13 years old. Yosozumi is 17.

Brown has been raised in Japan by a Japanese mother and a British father. The 2018 Dancing with the Stars: Juniors winner appeared in a Nike “Dream Crazier” ad with Simone BilesSerena Williams and Chloe Kim in February.

She has not clinched an Olympic spot yet but is well on her way as the qualifying season continues.

She turns 12 years old just before the Tokyo Olympics begin and would be the youngest Olympian since Romanian rowing coxswain Carlos Front at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

She would be the youngest female Olympian since Chinese ice dancer Liu Luyang in 1988 and the youngest female Summer Olympian since Puerto Rican swimmer Liana Vicens in 1968, according to the OlyMADMen.

The Tokyo Games feature four skateboarding events — men’s and women’s street and park.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

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