Italy’s Dominik Paris gets World Cup weekend sweep with super-G win

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Italy’s Dominik Paris skied away with his second win of the weekend, and more importantly, the 100 World Cup points needed to push himself to the top of the super-G standings.

Entering the day, the top eight super-G skiers on the World Cup were separated by only 51 points. Now, with only one more super-G left on the schedule, Paris is in perfect position to win the most-contested crystal globe on the men’s tour this season. He now holds a 44 point lead over former super-G points leader, Vincent Kriechmayr of Austria.

Racing on a course set by his coach, the reigning super-G world champion, skied across the finish line and into the lead by a full second.

Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud appeared to have the speed to knock Paris off the top spot in his attempt to win back-to-back World Cup super-Gs on the Kvitfjell home snow. Jansrud sped past the final time check with a slim lead over Paris, but the 2014 Olympic super-G gold medalist lost time late, crossing the finish line .43 hundredths of a second behind Paris.

Jansrud’s time was the second best on the day, with Switzerland’s Beat Feuz completing the podium in third. Feuz was also on the downhill podium yesterday with a second place finish.

The U.S.’ Travis Ganong skied his best race of the season, finishing the day in fifth.

Full results are here.

The women’s super-G race in Sochi was canceled Sunday after adverse weather made it impossible to hold any of the week’s events.

Days of heavy snow and strong wind prevented any racing at the first World Cup event since 2012 on the Rosa Khutor course used for the 2014 Winter Olympics. All three downhill training sessions were canceled, as were Saturday’s downhill race and a replacement super-G meant for Saturday.

Sunday’s cancellation helps Mikaela Shiffrin’s chances of winning the super-G World Cup crystal globe trophy, which she leads by 32 points from Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather with one race remaining.

Shiffrin, who chose to skip the Sochi races, secured the overall World Cup title Saturday when the first race of the weekend was also canceled.

Sochi was the third round of the women’s World Cup this season to be wiped out by the weather after Val d’Isere in December and St. Anton in January.

The women’s World Cup will attempt to get back to racing on Friday in the Czech Republic with the first run of the giant slalom scheduled for 4:30 a.m. ET. Watch the first run live on OlympicChannel.com or with an NBC Sports Gold Snow Pass. The second run can be seen live on TV and streaming on Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold.

The men’s World Cup also shifts to technical skiing when they return to racing on Saturday in Slovenia with the giant slalom. The first run is scheduled for 3:30 a.m. ET with live coverage on OlympicChannel.com and NBC Sports Gold. Catch the second run live on TV and streaming with Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

U.S. women’s basketball team, statistically greatest ever, rolls to FIBA World Cup title

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The revamped U.S. women’s basketball team may have been the greatest of all time.

The Americans completed, statistically, their most dominant global championship ever by routing China 83-61 in the FIBA World Cup final on Saturday in Sydney — giving them 60 consecutive wins between the Olympics and worlds dating to 2006.

It marked the largest margin of victory in a World Cup final since the event converted from a fully round-robin format in 1983.

For the tournament, the U.S. drubbed its opponents by an average of 40.75 points per game, beating its previous record between the Olympics and worlds of 37.625 points from the 2008 Beijing Games. It was just off the 1992 U.S. Olympic men’s Dream Team’s legendary margin 43.8 points per game. This U.S. team scored 98.75 points per game, its largest at worlds since 1994.

“We came here on a mission, a business trip,” tournament MVP A’ja Wilson said in a post-game press conference before turning to coach Cheryl Reeve. “We played pretty good, I think, coach.”

Since the U.S. won a seventh consecutive Olympic title in Tokyo, Sue Bird and Sylvia Fowles retired. Tina Charles ceded her national team spot to younger players. Brittney Griner was detained in Russia (and still is). Diana Taurasi suffered a WNBA season-ending quad injury that ruled her out of World Cup participation (who knows if the 40-year-old Taurasi will play for the U.S. again).

Not only that, but Cheryl Reeve of the Minnesota Lynx succeeded Dawn Staley as head coach, implementing a new uptempo system.

“There was probably great concern, and maybe around the world they kind of looked at it and said, ‘Hey, now is the time to get the USA,'” Reeve said Saturday.

The U.S. response was encapsulated by power forward Alyssa Thomas, the oldest player on the roster at age 30 who made the U.S. team for the first time in her career, started every game and was called the team’s glue and MVP going into the final.

Wilson and Tokyo Olympic MVP Breanna Stewart were the leaders. Guard Kelsey Plum, a Tokyo Olympic 3×3 player, blossomed this past WNBA season and was third in the league’s MVP voting. She averaged the most minutes on the team, scored 15.8 points per game and had 17 in the final.

“The depth of talent that we have was on display,” Reeve said. “What I am most pleased about was the trust and buy-in.”

For the first time since 1994, no player on the U.S. roster was over the age of 30, creating a scary thought for the 2024 Paris Olympics: the Americans could get even better.

“When you say best-ever, I’m always really cautious with that, because, obviously, there are great teams,” Reeve said when asked specifically about the team’s defense. “This group was really hard to play against.”

Earlier Saturday, 41-year-old Australian legend Lauren Jackson turned back the clock with a 30-point performance off the bench in her final game as an Opal, a 95-65 victory over Canada for the bronze. Jackson, who came out of a six-year retirement and played her first major tournament since the 2012 Olympics, had her best scoring performance since the 2008 Olympics.

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IOC looks for ways Russian athletes ‘who do not support war’ could compete as neutrals

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GENEVA (AP) — Russian athletes who do not endorse their country’s war in Ukraine could be accepted back into international sports, competing under a neutral flag, IOC president Thomas Bach said in an interview published Friday.

“It’s about having athletes with a Russian passport who do not support the war back in competition,” Bach told Italian daily Corriere della Sera, adding, “We have to think about the future.”

Most sports followed IOC advice in February and banned Russian teams and athletes from their events within days of the country’s military invasion of Ukraine.

With Russians starting to miss events that feed into qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics, an exile extending into next year could effectively become a wider ban from those Games.

In an interview in Rome, Bach hinted at IOC thinking after recent rounds of calls with Olympic stakeholders asked for views on Russia’s pathway back from pariah status.

“To be clear, it is not about necessarily having Russia back,” he said. “On the other hand — and here comes our dilemma — this war has not been started by the Russian athletes.”

Bach did not suggest how athletes could express opposition to the war when dissent and criticism of the Russian military risks jail sentences of several years.

Some Russian athletes publicly supported the war in March and are serving bans imposed by their sport’s governing body.

Olympic gold medalist swimmer Yevgeny Rylov appeared at a pro-war rally attended by Vladimir Putin in Moscow. Gymnast Ivan Kuliak displayed a pro-military “Z” symbol on his uniform at an international event.

Russian former international athletes are being called up for military service in the current mobilization, according to media reports. They include former heavyweight boxing champion Nikolai Valuev and soccer player Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.

Russians have continued to compete during the war as individuals in tennis and cycling, without national symbols such as flags and anthems, even when teams have been banned.

Bach told Corriere della Sera it was the IOC’s mission to be politically neutral and “to have the Olympic Games, and to have sport in general, as something that still unifies people and humanity.”

“For all these reasons, we are in a real dilemma at this moment with regard to the Russian invasion in Ukraine,” he suggested. “We also have to see, and to study, to monitor, how and when we can come back to accomplish our mission to have everybody back again, under which format whatsoever.”

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