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Paris caps ‘magical’ season with super-G title

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ARE, Sweden (AP) — Dominik Paris crowned what was already a stellar season by winning the super-G at the world championships on Wednesday.

Despite a few wild turns on the lower section of a technical course, the Italian finished 0.09 seconds ahead of Johan Clarey of France and Vincent Kriechmayr of Austria, who tied for silver.

Paris won the World Cup downhills in Bormio, Italy, and Kitzbuehel, Austria — considered the two toughest races on the circuit — over the last two months. He’s had six World Cup podium results overall this season.

“It’s really a magical year,” Paris said.

Norwegian great Aksel Lund Svindal, who is retiring after the worlds , shrugged his arms after finishing 16th. A lot was expected from the Norwegian team on a course set by one of its coaches but Kjetil Jansrud, who is recovering from a broken hand, also struggled and placed 22nd.

“It turned out to be a much more difficult race than I expected,” Svindal said. “The body feels good. I’m ready for another week and good for the downhill.”

Paris’ only previous medal at a worlds or Olympics was a silver in the downhill at the 2013 worlds in Schladming, Austria.

“He is the best guy in the world balancing the tactical side with the speed and the risk,” Jansrud said of Paris. “This is a course where you need to have that ability to do that. He does that the best in the world, so it’s a fair and deserved win.”

Paris was an early starter with the No. 3 bib and was shaking his head after crossing the finish. But his time stood up.

“I wasn’t sure if I had done enough,” Paris said. “I went full gas but I had to make some corrections toward the end, where I lost time and speed. Then it was a long wait to see if anyone was better than me.”

Clarey was faster than Paris through the first two checkpoints but couldn’t match the Italian on the twisty lower section.

Olympic super-G champion Matthias Mayer was also faster through the second interval but then flew wide off a jump and missed a gate.

Kriechmayr trailed Paris by nearly a half-second midway down but nearly clawed it all back the rest of the way — drawing applause from Paris in the leader’s spotlight.

Clarey and Kriechmayr each earned their first major championship medals.

Clarey has five World Cup podium results — but no victories — while Kriechmayr has four wins, two of which came when he swept the speed events at last season’s finals in Are.

David Taylor will not defend wrestling world title

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David Taylor waited five years to get his chance at the world championships. The wait will also be a little longer than expected to defend his world title.

Taylor suffered a knee injury in a May 6 match and underwent surgery, according to his social media. He was to face Pat Downey in two weeks for the U.S.’ spot at 86kg at September’s world championships, but that’s not happening now.

“The nature of competing as a professional athlete is a delicate one,” was posted on Taylor’s accounts. “One year, you find yourself winning the tilte of the 86 kg World Champion and being voted best pound for pound wrestler on earth. In the blink of an eye, you lose yourself in thought over the noisy lull of the MRI machine, hoping that the pain in your knee isn’t what you fear most.”

Taylor, 28, was one of three U.S. men to earn maiden world titles last October in Budapest, along with fellow former NCAA standouts J’den Cox and Kyle Dake.

Taylor upset Iran’s Olympic and world champion Hassan Yazdani in his first match at worlds. He suffered a knee injury in his second match and said he was kicked in the face in the semifinals. He then dumped Turkey’s top-seeded Fatih Erdin in the final, scoring a two-point takedown in the first 10 seconds and getting a 12-2 tech fall.

“To be able to earn it the way that I earned it, there’s no easy way,” Taylor said. “I wrestled every single best guy every single round.”

Taylor became the oldest first-time Olympic or world champion for USA Wrestling since 2006. He had finished second or third at trials for the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 World teams and the 2016 Olympic team. He is one of four men to win the NCAA Wrestler of the Year award multiple times, doing so in 2012 and 2014 for Penn State.

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Sam Girard, Olympic short track champion, surprisingly retires at age 22

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Sam Girard, who avoided a three-skater pileup to win the PyeongChang Olympic 1000m, retired from short track speed skating at age 22, saying he lost the desire to compete.

“I leave my sport satisfied with what I have accomplished,” Girard said in a press release. “This decision was very well thought through. I am at peace with the choice that I’ve made and am ready to move onto the next step.”

Girard and girlfriend and fellow Olympic skater Kasandra Bradette announced their careers end together in a tearful French-language press conference in Quebec on Friday.

Girard detailed the decision in a letter, the sacrifices made to pursue skating. Notably, moving from his hometown of Ferland-et-Boilleau, population 600, to Montreal in 2012. His hobbies had been of the outdoor variety, but he now had to drive an hour and a half from the training center just to go fishing.

In PyeongChang, Girard led for most of the 1000m final, which meant he avoided chaos behind him on the penultimate lap of the nine-lap race. Hungarian Liu Shaolin Sandor‘s inside pass took out South Koreans Lim Hyo-Jun and Seo Yi-Ra, leaving just Girard and American John-Henry Krueger.

Girard maintained his lead, crossing .214 in front of Krueger to claim the title. He also finished fourth in the 500m and 1500m and earned bronze in the relay.

“My first Olympics, won a gold medal, can’t ask for more,” he said afterward.

Though Girard was already accomplished — earning individual silver medals at the 2016 and 2017 Worlds — he came to PyeongChang as the heir apparent to Charles Hamelin, a roommate on the World Cup circuit whom Girard likened to a big brother. Girard earned another world silver medal this past season.

Hamelin, after taking individual gold in 2010 and 2014, left PyeongChang without an individual medal in what many expected to be his last Olympics. However, he went back on a retirement vow and continued to skate through the 2018-19 season.

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