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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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No medal for David Boudia as China extends perfect run at diving worlds

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David Boudia is very much a work in progress in his first year as a springboard diver. That much was evident in his dive list for Thursday’s final at the world championships, where Boudia had the lowest total degree of difficulty.

Boudia, a four-time Olympic platform medalist who earned individual platform silver at his last three world championships, took fifth in the springboard final in Gwangju, South Korea while performing easier dives than the other 11 men.

It marked Boudia’s first major international meet since Rio. He took 2017 off from diving to sell homes. In February 2018, he suffered a concussion on a badly missed dive in training off the 10-meter platform, sparking the switch to springboard, a common move for divers late in their careers.

Boudia will spend the next year — the next six months in particular — trying to close the gap on the medalists. China’s Xie Siyi and Cao Yuan went one-two.

Great Britain’s Jack Laugher was in position to become the first non-Chinese diver to take gold in 10 events this week before failing his last dive for 30.6 points, the lowest-scoring dive of the 72 in the final. Laugher scored at least 9.0s on his first five dives, including a 10, before recording between 2s and 3s from the seven judges in the last round and squandering a 31.1-point lead.

Laugher had 21.6 points in difficulty in Thursday’s final. Xie had 21.3 and Cao 21.2. Boudia had 19.9, arguably putting him out of the running for the podium before he stepped on the springboard.

Boudia, a 30-year-old father of three, accomplished his goal for worlds simply by making the final.

Boudia and Rio Olympian Michael Hixon reached the top 12 to ensure the U.S. gets two men’s springboard spots at Tokyo 2020, to be filled at June’s Olympic trials in Indianapolis. Hixon, who was 10th in Rio and 20th at the 2017 Worlds, finished seventh in Gwangju.

Diving worlds continue with the women’s springboard final, featuring Chinese Olympic champion Shi Tingmao but no Americans, on Friday. The men’s platform final is Saturday.

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Chris Froome wins 2011 Vuelta a Espana

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AIGLE, Switzerland (AP) — Chris Froome has become the 2011 Spanish Vuelta winner because of Juan Jose Cobo’s disqualification for blood doping.

The International Cycling Union says Cobo did not meet a deadline to challenge his three-year ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The UCI says Cobo’s suspension announced last month is confirmed, and he is stripped of results at the 2009 world championships and Vuelta, and the 2011 Vuelta which he won.

Froome was runner-up eight years ago and becomes the winner of his first Grand Tour title, and seventh overall.

Froome also becomes the first British winner of any of the major stage races — the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, or Vuelta.

That honor was held by Bradley Wiggins, the 2012 Tour winner who rises from third to be runner-up at the 2011 Vuelta.

The 38-year-old Cobo is retired from racing. His doping ban was announced days after Froome suffered season-ending injuries crashing at the Dauphine race in France.

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