Italy’s Dominik Paris gets downhill World Cup win

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Entering the day, Italy’s Dominik Paris was ranked second in downhill World Cup points, more than 100 points behind the season leader, Switzerland’s Beat Feuz.

Feuz, skiing two racers ahead of Paris in Kvitfjell, Norway today, laid down a run more than a second faster than then-current leader, Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde. Paris stepped into the gate knowing he had to be on the podium — preferably on top of it — if he wanted a chance to win his first World Cup crystal globe as the season draws to a close.

Paris fearlessly attacked the course, and crossed the finish .25 hundredths of a second ahead of Feuz and picked up his third World Cup downhill win of the season.

Full results are here.

With the win, Paris earned 100 World Cup points. However, Feuz held on to the lead in the downhill point standings, earning 80 points for his second place finish. Things could get interesting with one final downhill race remaining on the schedule for the season. Both men will need to be at their best if they hope to walk away with the crystal globe in Soldeu, Andorra on March 13.

The U.S.’ Steve Nyman had his best downhill race since December, finishing seventh on the day, while his teammate, and frequent top-10 finisher, Bryce Bennett ended up in 12th place.

On Sunday, the men are scheduled to race in the Super-G. Watch live beginning at 5:00 a.m. ET on TV and streaming on Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold.   

The women’s World Cup tour was supposed to race this weekend in Sochi, Russia, but snow and wind have kept athletes off the mountain since Wednesday. It’s the first World Cup event in Sochi since the 2014 Olympics. Despite the lack of racing, the U.S.’ Mikaela Shiffrin, not even entered in the events this weekend, had enough points banked from previous racing to mathematically win her third-consecutive overall World Cup title.

Efforts are now focused on salvaging what’s left of the weekend, with race officials hoping to have a skiable Super-G course ready for Sunday at Rosa Khutor. If successful, racing is set to begin at 2:30 a.m. ET, with live coverage on TV and streaming on Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold.   

UCI looks for new host for 2020 World Road Cycling Championships

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The International Cycling Union (UCI) is looking for a new host for the 2020 World Road Cycling Championships due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Switzerland can no longer host the week-long event in late September after a national decision to extend a ban on events with more than 1,000 people through next month.

Amid reports the competition has been canceled, the UCI clarified Wednesday that it still hopes to hold it in some form, perhaps without some of the junior or senior races.

It now seeks an “alternative project,” preferably still in Europe and on the same dates (Sept. 20-27).

Worlds were due to start in Switzerland on the same day that the rescheduled Tour de France ends, though the senior elite men’s races are typically not on the first three days.

The Tour de France is still scheduled to start Aug. 29.

Last year, American Chloe Dygert starred at road worlds, winning the time trial in dominant fashion. Other world champions in Olympic events: Annemiek van Vleuten (road race), Rohan Dennis (time trial) and Mads Pedersen (road race).

MORE: Chloe Dygert had the most dominant ride in history. It still drives her nuts.

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Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15 in 2000

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In the biggest race of his young life, a 15-year-old Michael Phelps turned for the last 50 meters in fourth place of the U.S. Olympic Trials 200m butterfly final on Aug. 12, 2000.

His mom, Debbie, couldn’t watch. She turned away from the Indianapolis Natatorium pool and stared at the scoreboard. Both Debbie and Phelps’ coach, Bob Bowman, mentally prepared their consolation speeches for the rising Towson High School sophomore outside Baltimore.

Then Phelps, fueled by nightly Adam’s Mark chicken sandwich-and-cheesecake room service and amped by pre-race DMX on his CD player, turned it on. He zoomed into second place, becoming the youngest U.S. male swimmer to qualify for an Olympics since 1932.

Phelps had “come out of nowhere in the last six months” to become an Olympic hopeful, NBC Sports swimming commentator Dan Hicks said on the broadcast. True, Phelps chopped five and a half seconds off his personal best that March.

“He doesn’t know what it means to go to the Olympics and how it’s going to change his life,” Tom Malchow, the 1996 Olympic silver medalist who held off Phelps in that trials final, said that night, according to The Associated Press. “He’s going to find out soon.”

Phelps, who did his trademark arm flaps before the trials final, made Bowman look like a prophet. Four years earlier, the coach sat Debbie down for a conversation she would not soon forget.

“Told me what he projected for Michael,” Debbie said, according to the Baltimore Sun‘s front-page story on a local 15-year-old qualifying for the Sydney Games. “He said that in 2004, he would definitely be a factor in the Olympics. He also said that he could be there in 2000, to watch out for him. At the time, he was only 11.”

The trials were bittersweet for the Phelps family. Whitney, one of Phelps’ older sisters, withdrew before the meet with herniated discs in her back that kept her from making an Olympics after competing in the 1994 World Championships at age 14.

After Phelps qualified for the Olympics, one of the first people to embrace him was Whitney on the pool deck.

The next week, Phelps, still with bottom-teeth braces, did his first live TV sitdown on CNN, swiveling in his chair the whole time, according to his autobiography, “Beneath the Surface.”

The next month, Phelps finished fifth in his Olympic debut, clocking a then-personal-best time that would have earned gold or silver at every previous Olympics.

Following the Olympic race, gold medalist Malchow patted Phelps on the back, according to “No Limits,” another Phelps autobiography. What did Malchow say?

“The best is ahead of you.”

MORE: Meet Arnie the Terminator, Katie Ledecky’s top rival

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