Beat Feuz
AP

Feuz, Schmidhofer secure downhill titles at World Cup Finals

Leave a comment

SOLDEU, Andorra (AP) — Beat Feuz and Nicole Schmidhofer wrapped up the season-long downhill titles at the World Cup Finals despite neither winning a race on Wednesday.

Feuz, only needing a top-12 result, finished sixth in the men’s race, which was won by Dominik Paris of Italy.

Schmidhofer clinched the title as soon as her only remaining rival, Austrian teammate Ramona Siebenhofer, failed to get the victory she needed. Another Austrian, Mirjam Puchner, won the race.

Feuz finished 0.64 seconds behind Paris in sixth but the Swiss skier, leading the standings by 80 points going into the race, secured the season-long title for the second straight year.

“It’s incredible for me to have two globes now. Dominik is in a super form and I am really proud to have won it,” said Feuz, who led Paris by only 20 points in the final standings.

Feuz won only one race this season, in Beaver Creek in November, but he had top-three results in 11 of the last 13 races. Last week, he became the first skier since Stephan Eberharter of Austria in 2004 to finish on the podium in six straight downhills.

“Dominik won many races this year. He won four, I won just one,” Feuz said. “But the important thing was to be on the podium in six of the eight races this season. Consistency is my advantage.”

Feuz won his first downhill title last year, also in the season-ending race, when he beat challenger Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway.

In Wednesday’s race, Paris beat world champion Kjetil Jansrud of Norway by 0.34 seconds, with Otmar Striedinger of Austria 0.41 behind in third.

He became the first Italian skier to win four downhills in one campaign, beating the previous record set by Kristian Ghedina in the 1996-97 season and matched by Christof Innerhofer in 2012-13.

Paris has yet to win a crystal globe, but has a chance to do so in Thursday’ super-G, where he leads the standings.

Leading the women’s standings by 90 points, Schmidhofer only could have lost the title if Siebenhofer had won the final race.

But Siebenhofer lost any hope for a victory when she had to brake after landing a jump in order to make the upcoming gate. She finished more than two seconds off the lead and even failed to score World Cup points.

Schmidhofer finished 11th.

Puchner beat Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany by 0.03 seconds. Corinne Suter of Switzerland was third, 0.08 behind.

It’s the first World Cup title for the Austrian women’s team since Eva-Maria Brem won the giant slalom globe in 2016, and the first downhill title since Renate Goetschl won it in 2007.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Schmidhofer said. “But to be named in one sentence with Goetschl is something really special. She won in 2007 when I won the junior world title.”

Schmidhofer is also in contention for the super-G title, where Mikaela Shiffrin leads the standings.

The women’s downhill was interrupted for 15 minutes after Connie Huetter crashed and landed in the safety netting. The Austrian was transported off the hill with an apparent knee injury. Huetter was out with injuries twice before this season and missed last month’s world championships after tearing an ACL in her right knee in January.

The men’s and women’s super-G races are scheduled for Thursday.

Hayley Wickenheiser is 7th woman elected to Hockey Hall of Fame

Hayley Wickenheiser
AP
Leave a comment

Hayley Wickenheiser, arguably the greatest female hockey player of all time who retired in 2017, will be the seventh female player in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The six-time Canadian Olympian (once in softball) was elected in her first year of eligibility. Wickenheiser is joined by Sergei Zubov, who earned gold at the 1992 Albertville Games with the Unified Team, two-time Czech Olympic medalist Václav Nedomanský and 1980s and ’90s NHLer Guy Carbonneau, among others.

The induction ceremony is Nov. 18 in Toronto.

Wickenheiser is the fifth Canadian female player elected after Angela James (2010), Geraldine Heaney (2013), Danielle Goyette (2017) and Jayna Hefford (2018). Americans Cammi Granato (2010) and Angela Ruggiero (2015) are also Hall of Famers.

Wickenheiser, now the Toronto Maple Leafs’ assistant director of player development, earned four golds and one silver in the first five Olympic women’s hockey tournaments. She played 23 years for the Canadian national team, earning seven world titles and being named Olympic tournament MVP in 2002 and 2006.

She also carried the Canadian flag at the Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony and recited the Athletes’ Oath at the Vancouver 2010 Opening Ceremony. She was elected to the International Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission in 2014.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Finland hockey Hall of Famer retires at age 46

Breaking provisionally added for 2024 Olympics

AP
Leave a comment

Breaking (don’t call it break dancing) was provisionally added to the Olympics for the 2024 Paris Games.

The IOC also announced Tuesday that skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were provisionally added to the 2024 Olympic program. Those three sports will debut at Tokyo 2020 but were not assured places on the Olympic program beyond next year.

“They contribute to making the program more gender balanced and more urban, and offer the opportunity to connect with the younger generation,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a press release. “The proposed sports are in line with these principles and enhance Paris 2024’s overall dynamic Games concept, which focuses on inclusivity, inspiring a new audience and hosting socially responsible Games.”

The IOC Executive Board will make the final decision on the Paris 2024 event program in December 2020, but no more sports can be proposed for inclusion. That means baseball and softball, which return to the Olympics next year, will not be on the 2024 Olympic program. Those sports can still be added for the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Breaking debuted at the Youth Olympics last year, where the U.S. did not have any athletes. Sergei “Bumblebee” Chernyshev of Russia and Ramu Kawai of Japan took gold medals.

Breaking had never previously been up for a vote for Olympic inclusion, but the World DanceSport Federation is recognized by the IOC.

Teenagers, some of whom went by nicknames like Bad Matty, Senorita Carlota and KennyG, went head-to-head in dance battles at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires last year. They performed on a mat atop an outdoor basketball court to a musical beat and emcees.

Judges determined winners using six criteria: creativity, personality, technique, variety, perfomativity and musicality.

“Breaking (also called b-boying or b-girling) is an urban dance style,” according to the Youth Olympics. “The urban dance style originated during the mid 1970s in the Bronx borough of New York City.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Beach volleyball worlds TV schedule