AP

Simone Biles chases one more record to close world gymnastics championships

Leave a comment

STUTTGART, Germany — Simone Biles may have dropped the mic, but she can still win four more medals and break yet another record at the world gymnastics championships.

Biles, after earning her 21st and 22nd career world medals in the team and all-around events, competes in all four apparatus finals between Saturday and Sunday. She is one medal shy of the record 23 held by 1990s Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo. Biles’ medals are kept in a safe.

Scherbo, though, competed at world championships in six years to Biles’ five. Scherbo also had the benefit of six apparatus finals for the men, versus four for the women.

Saturday’s finals: the vault (Biles is the favorite) and uneven bars (Biles qualified in seventh place), live on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and streaming on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app at 10 a.m. ET.

Sunday’s finals: balance beam and floor exercise. Biles had the highest score in qualifying in both events. That streams live on OlympicChannel.com at 7 a.m. ET, with a TV broadcast on Olympic Channel at 12 p.m. ET.

GYM WORLDS: TV Schedule | Finals Results

Biles earned medals in every event last year, becoming the first gymnast to do so at worlds in 31 years. Some of her toughest competition this weekend will come from teammates.

On vault, Jade Carey had the top qualifying score by .001 over Biles. However, scores are cleared for the eight-woman final, and Biles has the ability to up her difficulty.

Bars is the only event that Biles has never won on the global stage. She earned her first world medal last year, a silver. But she was a distant half-point behind winner Nina Derwael of Belgium, who again had the highest score in qualifying this year, with a three tenths edge on Biles in difficulty.

There’s also American Sunisa Lee, who beat Biles on bars at the U.S. Championships in August and the world team selection camp in September. Lee qualified third into the bars final with the second-highest difficulty score.

Biles struggled on beam at the Rio Olympics and 2018 Worlds, making significant errors (though not falling off) en route to bronze medals. She’s hit beam so far this week, posting the top score in qualifying, the team final and the all-around.

“After Rio, I kind of trashed myself and my beam work that I did, and I wasn’t the most confident,” said Biles, who took 14 months off from training after the Olympics, changing coaches to Laurent and Cecile Landi when she came back. “[Cecile] really helped me bring that back to life. And I feel confident again for, like, the first time.”

Biles said she is 99 percent sure these are her last world championships, likely making the Tokyo Olympics her final competition. Her next competition likely will not be until late winter or early spring.

“I’m probably more confident today than going into the [Rio] Olympics,” she said.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

GYM WORLDS: Women’s Finals Qualifiers | Men’s Finals Qualifiers

Ski jumping World Cup season kicks off in Poland

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The World Cup ski jump season opens Friday with men’s team and individual events in Wisla, Poland.

The host country had three of the top five jumpers in the overall standings last year. Defending champion Kamil Stoch placed third, Piotr Zyla was close behind in fourth, and Dawid Kubacki was fifth.

Japan’s Ryoyu Kobayashi dominated last year’s competition, finishing with 2,085 points to 1,349 for runner-up Stefan Kraft of Austria, the 2017 World Cup champion.

Kobayashi’s performance was a dramatic improvement over his previous season, when he finished no higher than sixth in any individual competition and was 24th overall. Last year, he had 15 wins and 23 podium finishes in 30 World Cup events, though he only managed fourth and 14th in the two world championship events.

The top American last season, Kevin Bickner, finished 51st overall, a drop from 39th the year before. He was 18th and 20th in the 2018 Olympic jumps.

Women’s World Cup action begins Dec. 6-8 in Lillehammer, Norway.

NBC Sports Gold will broadcast World Cup action throughout the season. This weekend, the qualifying jumps will air at noon ET Friday, the team event starts at 11:30 a.m. ET Saturday, and the individual competition is at 6 a.m. Sunday.

MORE: Full ski jumping broadcast schedule

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

 

 

 

 

Snowboarding pioneer Jake Burton Carpenter dies at 65

Getty Images
1 Comment

Jake Burton Carpenter, the pioneer who brought snowboarding to the masses and helped turn the sport into a billion-dollar business and Olympic showpiece, has died at 65.

He died Wednesday night in Burlington, Vermont, according to an email sent to the staff of the company he founded. Carpenter had emailed his staff this month saying, “You will not believe this, but my cancer has come back.” He had been diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011 but after several months of therapy had been given a clean bill of health.

Carpenter quit his job in New York in 1977 to form the company now known simply as Burton. His goal was to advance the rudimentary snowboard, then called a “Snurfer,” which had been invented by Sherman Poppen a dozen years earlier.

It worked, and more than four decades later, snowboarding is a major fixture at the Winter Games and snowboards are as common as skis at resorts across the globe.

“He was our founder, the soul of snowboarding, the one who gave us the sport we all love so much,” Burton co-CEO John Lacy said in his email to the staff.

It is virtually impossible to avoid the name “Burton” once the snow starts falling at any given mountain around the world these days. The name is plastered on the bottoms of snowboards, embroidered on jackets, stenciled into bindings.

At a bar in Pyeongchang, South Korea, not far from where snowboarding celebrated its 20th anniversary at the Olympics last year, there was a wall filled with Burton pictures and memorabilia — as sure a sign as any of the global reach of a company founded in his garage in Londonderry, Vermont.

The company sponsored pretty much every top rider at one time or another — from Shaun White to Kelly Clark to Chloe Kim.

Carpenter watched all his champions win their Olympic golds from near the finish line, never afraid to grind away in the mosh pit of snowboarders and snowboarding fans that he helped create.

In an interview in 2010, he said he was happy with how far his sport had come, and comfortable with where it was going.

“I had a vision there was a sport there, that it was more than just a sledding thing, which is all it was then,” Burton said. “We’re doing something that’s going to last here. It’s not like just hitting the lottery one day.”

Lacy said details about the celebration of Burton’s life would be coming soon but, for now, “I’d encourage everyone to do what Jake would be doing tomorrow, and that’s riding. It’s opening day at Stowe, so consider taking some turns together, in celebration of Jake.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!