Luka Doncic warns Jay Cutler: Handball is hard

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Former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler, appearing on the podcast “Pardon My Take”, said he believes he could put together a team that would win gold in Olympic handball (or, as we tend to call it to distinguish it from a sport played against a wall, “team handball”).

The podcast hosts were happy to go along with their guest, saying a team of Cutler, Patrick Mahomes and LeBron James could defeat any team in the world because people in other countries lack arm speed. Former NFL cornerback Domonique Foxworth agreed, saying on ESPN’s “Highly Questionable” that he could replace Mahomes in that trio and emerge victorious.

“You know who plays handball?” Foxworth said. “People who couldn’t make it in soccer, couldn’t make it in football, couldn’t make it in basketball.”

One prominent basketball player emphatically disagrees.

“(N)o chance! people dont know how hard is to play handball,” tweeted Dallas Mavericks player Luka Doncic, who played a bit of handball growing up in Slovenia.

Foxworth’s co-host, Sarah Spain, cast cold water on the idea, pointing to a crew of NFL players who have tried their hand at curling with little success so far. That team initially consisted of former Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen, former St. Louis quarterback Marc Bulger, former Tennessee offensive tackle Michael Roos and former Tennessee linebacker Keith Bulluck.

Allen and company made their top-level curling debut in November 2018 against Olympic gold medalist John Shuster and predictably lost. The team also entered the 2019 Challenge Round, a qualifier for the national championships, and lost its three games by a combined score of 27-2.

This year, Allen has brought in Jason Smith, who played in the 2010 Olympics with Shuster and team coach John Benton, to skip the team. The results haven’t been much better through the season, though it did pick up a couple of wins in small events and one win in the 2020 Challenge Round.

Curling took advantage of the publicity boost, though, with Allen appearing at the national championships as an alternate for one team and getting an opportunity to come in and play at the end of a game whose outcome wasn’t in doubt.

The handball community has similarly perked up with Cutler’s commentary. Team Handball News took issue with some footage in the ESPN analysis, saying it was from a residency program at Auburn instead of the current U.S. national team.

USA Team Handball CEO Barry Siff, who joined the federation last year, welcomed Cutler’s interest, as did the team’s official Twitter account.

But they also appreciate Doncic’s take.

Given the rough-and-tumble nature of team handball, would the U.S. be better off with some hybrid of Shaquille O’Neal and T.J. Oshie?

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Germany sweeps women’s luge medals at world championships

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Olympic silver medalist Anna Berreiter led a German sweep of the women’s medals at the world luge championships at home in Oberhof on Saturday.

Berreiter prevailed by 58 thousandths of a second over defending world champion Julia Taubitz combining times from two runs. At 23, she is the youngest women’s world champion since American Erin Hamlin in 2009.

Dajana Eitberger, who won the sprint world title on Friday, rounded out Saturday’s podium. Summer Britcher was the top American in 12th.

A German woman has won 38 of the last 43 world titles dating to 1962.

German women also won the last seven Olympic titles dating to 1998. Natalie Geisenberger, who won the last three Olympic golds, is sitting out this season due to pregnancy.

Germany has won the first seven events of worlds with two left on Sunday — the traditional men’s event and the team relay. Germany last swept the luge worlds golds in 2013, back when there were four events.

Earlier Saturday, Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken won their fifth consecutive world title, beating longtime rivals and countrymen Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt by .171. Wendl and Arlt won the last three Olympic titles. Americans Zack DiGregorio and Sean Hollander placed seventh on Saturday.

Jessica Degenhardt and Cheyenne Rosenthal repeated as world champions in women’s doubles, an event that makes its Olympic debut in 2026. Chevonne Forgan and Sophia Kirkby were the top Americans in sixth.

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Mikaela Shiffrin wins 85th World Cup, can tie overall record Sunday

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Mikaela Shiffrin earned her 85th World Cup win on Saturday and can tie the Alpine skiing World Cup victories record on Sunday.

Shiffrin won the first of back-to-back slaloms in Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic, site of her World Cup debut in 2011 at age 15, for her 11th victory in 22 starts this season.

She prevailed by six tenths of a second over German Lena Duerr combining times from two runs. Then she celebrated with an uncharacteristic shoulder shimmy before “Simply the Best” by Tina Turner began playing over loudspeakers in the finish area.

It’s not the first time that song has been played after a Shiffrin victory this season.

“I knew it would take some risk,” she said. “There’s a chance I don’t finish at all.”

ALPINE SKIING: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Shiffrin, having her best season since her record 17-win campaign in 2018-19, is now one victory shy of the Alpine World Cup record held by Swede Ingemar Stenmark, who won 86 times between slalom and giant slalom in the 1970s and ’80s.

Stenmark has held the record since January 1982.

Shiffrin races in another slalom on Sunday in Spindleruv Mlyn, the last women’s race before February’s world championships. World championships races do not count as World Cups. The World Cup season resumes following worlds in late February.

Shiffrin is on her second winning streak this season and has won nine of her last 14 races dating to Dec. 18. Last Tuesday, she won a giant slalom in Kronplatz, Italy, to break her tie with Lindsey Vonn for the women’s Alpine World Cup wins record. On Wednesday, she won another GS In Kronplatz.

She leads the standings for the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing, by more than 600 points through 27 of 39 scheduled races. At this rate, she could clinch her fifth overall title before March’s World Cup Finals.

She is currently tied with Vonn for the second-most women’s overall titles behind Austrian Annemarie Moser-Pröll, who won five in the 1970s.

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