Lindsey Vonn finishes ninth in second downhill of season

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U.S. skiing superstar Lindsey Vonn was back for her second race in Cortina d’Ampezzo on Saturday, cracking the top 10, but still looking to recapture the speed necessary to win on the World Cup.

Ninth out of the gate, Vonn’s time gradually slipped behind leader, Austria’s Romona Siebenhofer, as she made her way to the bottom of the mountain. Vonn crossed the finish line with the fourth best time, but found herself in ninth after every skier had their say. Full results are here.

Friday marked Vonn’s return to World Cup competition after her season was put on hold when she injured her knee in November. Vonn’s history of injuries and the list of protective gear she now wears while racing are equally long. During Friday’s race, Vonn sported matching knee braces under her ski suit for the first time. Vonn even equips herself with a body airbag under her suit which deploys if she crashes.

“I wear two knee braces and an airbag and maybe I should just ski in bubble wrap. I’ve got a mouth guard. I’ve got a helmet, air bag, back protector, knee braces. I think that’s as much as really you can have, besides arm braces at this point,” Vonn said after Friday’s race according to the Associated Press.

Vonn is doing the best she can to adjust to the challenges caused by her newly-acquired accessories.

“It’s a little weird. Sometimes [the knee braces] click together,” Vonn said according to the Associated Press. “It’s definitely not aerodynamic, that’s for sure. But it’s better than not racing. Do what I got to do.”

Saturday’s downhill podium featured two skiers from Friday’s top three. Siebenhofer’s time was the best of the day once again as the Austrian won her second downhill in as many days. Second to Siebenhofer on the podium was her countrywoman, and downhill World Cup points leader, Nicole Schmidhofer, who finished in 12th in Friday’s race. Slovenia’s Ilka Stuhec followed up her second place finish from Friday with a return trip to the podium, this time in third.

Tomorrow the women’s World Cup wraps up in Italy with the super-G, with World Cup points leader in the event, the U.S.’ Mikaela Shiffrin, scheduled to race. Watch live on TV on Olympic Channel or stream it on NBC Sports Gold starting at 5:00 a.m. EST.

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Ironman Kona World Championships return for first time in three years, live on Peacock

Ironman Kona World Championship
Ironman
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The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

Both are entered in Kailua-Kona, where the races are now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona, Thursday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Ryf, 35 and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, can tie retired countrywoman Natascha Badmann for second place on the women’s list at six Ironman world titles. Only Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser has more with eight.

The field also includes German Anne Haug, the 2019 Kona champ and only woman other than Ryf to win since 2015. Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay, the Kona runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019, returns after missing the St. George event due to a stress fracture in her hip.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

Also racing Saturday is Dallas Clark, a retired All-Pro NFL tight end with the Indianapolis Colts, and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion who completed the 2011 Kona Ironman in 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

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Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic marathon champ in 1984, runs London Marathon at 65

Joan Benoit Samuelson
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Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, ran her first 26.2-mile race in three years at Sunday’s London Marathon and won her age group.

Benoit Samuelson, 65, clocked 3 hours, 20 minutes, 20 seconds to top the women’s 65-69 age group by 7 minutes, 52 seconds. She took pleasure in being joined in the race by daughter Abby, who crossed in 2:58:19.

“She may have beaten me with my replacement knee, but everybody said I wouldn’t do it! I will never say never,” Benoit Samuelson said, according to race organizers. “I am a grandmother now to Charlotte, and it’s my goal to run 5K with her.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Benoit Samuelson raced the 1987 Boston Marathon while three months pregnant with Abby. Before that, she won the first Olympic women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, plus the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983 and the Chicago Marathon in 1985.

Her personal best — 2:21:21 — still holds up. She ranks sixth in U.S. women’s history.

Benoit Samuelson plans to race the Tokyo Marathon to complete her set of doing all six annual World Marathon Majors. The others are Berlin, Boston, Chicago and New York City.

“I’m happy to finish this race and make it to Tokyo, but I did it today on a wing and a prayer,” she said, according to organizers. “I’m blessed to have longevity in this sport. It doesn’t owe me anything, but I feel I owe my sport.”

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