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Chloe Kim wins halfpipe world title, attempts double

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There wasn’t much for Chloe Kim to add to her resume.

But at the World Championships in Park City, Utah, on Friday, the 18-year-old managed yet another milestone, adding a world title to a list of accolades that includes an Olympic gold medal and five X Games titles.

 

 

Kim clinched the title on her first run with a score of 93.50, leading the field by nearly 10 points. She upped the level of difficulty in her third run, attempting a frontside double cork 1080, but did not stay on her feet. China’s Cai Xuetong, the 2017 world champion, finished second, and American Maddie Mastro placed third for her first medal at the World Championships.

Despite her dominance over the rest of the field, Kim tends to focus more on progression than easy victory laps: at the Olympics, she had a gold medal secured with her first run score of 93.75, but put down an even more difficult third run – including back-to-back 1080s – to increase her score to 98.25.

Kim, who said she was “stoked” about her performance, spoke with NBC’s Tina Dixon after the competition about her attempt to land the double. In October, she became the first woman to do it in the halfpipe during training, but has not yet executed it in competition.

“I was really nervous,” she said. “[I] landed my first run super clean…[and] the second run was kind of a setup for the double. I think the next contest hopefully I’ll be able to do it. I’m stoked I tried it and glad I’m walking away in one piece.”

Kim, who dominated the field to win gold in PyeongChang, hasn’t lost a competition in over a year, winning the US Open to end last season and topping the field at the Dew Tour and the X Games earlier this season.

She plans to swap technical tricks for textbooks in the fall as part of the Princeton University Class of 2023.

PyeongChang bronze medalist Scotty James won the world title in men’s halfpipe. The Australian has continued to deliver since the Olympics, where he finished behind Shaun White and Ayumu Hirano: he won a second X Games title last month and defended his 2017 world title in Park City with a technical run that included two 1260s and his signature amplitude.

Japan’s Yuto Totsuka placed second, and Pat Burgener of Switzerland finished third. American Toby Miller, an 18-year-old from Mammoth Lakes, California, finished just off the podium in fourth.

Coverage of the World Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding Championships continues tonight with moguls, live at 9 p.m. on NBCSN.

 

 

April Ross, Alix Klineman back atop Olympic beach volleyball qualifying

April Ross, Alix Klineman
FIVB World Tour
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Two-time Olympic medalist April Ross and new partner Alix Klineman moved back on top of the U.S. Olympic beach volleyball qualifying standings by winning an event in Itapema, Brazil this week.

Ross, who split from Kerri Walsh Jennings in 2017, and Klineman beat Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes 25-23, 18-21, 15-10 in Sunday’s final for their third title in 11 FIVB World Tour tournaments together.

“Every victory is important, but this counts for more,” Klineman said, according to the FIVB. “We want to send a message and we want to be consistently the best.

Ross and Klineman supplanted Walsh Jennings and her new partner, Brooke Sweat, for the lead in the early U.S. Olympic qualifying rankings with still more than a year of events ahead.

1. Ross/Klineman – 3,240 (5 events played)
2. Walsh Jennings/Sweat – 3,100 (7 events)
3. Day/Flint – 2,180 (5 events)
4. Hughes/Ross — 2,000 (4 events)
5. Larsen/Stockman — 1,840 (5 events)
6. Sponcil/Claes — 1,600 (3 events)

Each team’s 12 best results from Sept. 1, 2018, to June 14, 2020, go into the Olympic qualifying rankings. That means Ross and Klineman are comfortably in front, having played two fewer events than Walsh Jennings and Sweat, who lost in the quarterfinals in Itapema.

The top two U.S. pairs come June 15, 2020, provided they’re ranked high enough internationally, will qualify for Tokyo. Most of the qualifying events, including the ones with the most points available, are still to come this summer.

Ross, 36, picked up Klineman, 29, after Walsh Jennings didn’t join her in signing a domestic AVP contract in 2017. The 6-foot-5 Klineman primarily played indoor the previous decade, including at Stanford from 2007-10 after being the Gatorade National Player of the Year coming out of high school.

MORE: Brazil volleyball star faints during courtside interview

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Katie Ledecky extends 5-year win streak

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Katie Ledecky extended a five-year domestic win streak by taking the 200m freestyle at the Tyr Pro Swim Series at Bloomington on Saturday.

In her last full meet before July’s world championships, Ledecky clocked 1:55.80 to beat training partner Simone Manuel by 1.44 seconds for her second win in as many days. Ledecky is also entered in Sunday’s 800m free on the last day of the meet.

Ledecky, who also cruised to a 400m free victory on Friday, ranks third in the world in the 200m free this year, behind Australian Ariarne Titmus and Swede Sarah Sjöström (the Olympic silver medalist who is not expected to race the 200m free at worlds).

Ledecky, a five-time Olympic champion, hasn’t lost a 200m, 400m, 800m or 1500m free final at a domestic meet since Allison Schmitt beat her in a 200m free on Jan. 18, 2014 when Ledecky was 16 years old.

BLOOMINGTON: Full Results

But Ledecky lost the two biggest 200m frees of this Olympic cycle so far, at the 2017 World Championships and the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships. Italian veteran Federica Pellegrini handed Ledecky her first individual final defeat at a major international meet at 2017 Worlds.

Ledecky dropped to third in the 200m free at Pan Pacs in Tokyo last year, beaten by younger swimmers Taylor Ruck of Canada and Rikako Ikee of Japan.

Ruck, who like Ledecky trains at Stanford, is in Bloomington, but she chose not to swim the 200m free on Saturday. She instead swam the 200m backstroke about 45 minutes after the 200m free and was upset by 17-year-old Regan Smith. Smith won in 2:06.47, moving to No. 3 in the world this year.

In other events Saturday, Ella Eastin captured the 400m individual medley in 4:37.18, taking 1.25 seconds off her personal best and moving to fifth in the world this year. Eastin is not on the world championships team after an untimely bout with mono before qualifying meets last summer.

Blake Pieroni won the men’s 200m free in 1:47.25. No American ranks in the top 20 in the world this year. World silver medalist Townley Haas did not enter Bloomington.

MORE: Olympic breaststroke champion faces ban for missed drug tests

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