Sofia Goggia wins downhill for Vonn-like feat; Ester Ledecka crashes

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CRANS-MONTANA, Switzerland (AP) — Olympic champion Sofia Goggia is dominating the World Cup downhill season like no woman since ski great Lindsey Vonn.

Goggia won her fourth straight downhill on Saturday to tie a World Cup streak by Vonn in 2018. They are the only women to achieve the feat in the last 25 years.

“I don’t challenge anyone,” Goggia said when asked if she was chasing Vonn’s record. “The challenge is every day with myself.”

The Italian star finished 0.27 seconds faster than Lara Gut-Behrami as both thrived on icy snow slicker than in Friday’s race at Crans-Montana also won by Goggia.

Goggia’s teammate Elena Curtoni was third, 0.60 back, ending Breezy Johnson’s streak of four third-place finishes in downhill.

Johnson was fifth, 0.89 behind Goggia, giving the United States its most consistent threat in downhill since Vonn’s stellar career ended two years ago.

Vonn’s best streak in World Cup downhill was six straight wins in 2009-10, according to the ski-db.com database. That matched her childhood idol Picabo Street’s run in 1995.

Vonn won four straight World Cup downhills from January to March 2018. They were the last of Vonn’s 82 career World Cup victories, more than any other woman on the circuit that began in 1967.

During Vonn’s winning run, Goggia was runner-up three times and also topped the season-long downhill standings. Goggia also won the PyeongChang Olympics downhill in February 2018 when Vonn took bronze in South Korea.

Goggia is one of the sport’s most flamboyant skiers and personalities though her reaction to an impressive run Saturday was quiet satisfaction in the finish area.

She blew kisses to the camera and raised both arms in the air with just a little smile. Goggia’s 11th career World Cup win was her eighth in downhill.

Runner-up to Goggia on Friday, Ester Ledecka was on course for a fast time when her run was ended by a nasty-looking crash that sent her spinning down the hill in the safety net.

Ledecka went fast and wide at a left-hand turn and was caught in the net lining the course. She was twisted around for about 20 meters (yards) before coming to a stop.

The double Olympic champion in Alpine skiing and snowboarding later skied down to the finish with her face bloodied.

The race surface was faster than on Friday when bright sunshine bathed the south-facing Mont Lachaux slope. Cloud cover and a 23-degree temperature made conditions challenging, though the strong winds of one day earlier eased.

“There was no sun, it was really dark,” said Goggia, who was clocked at a top speed of almost 67 mph. “I didn’t trust myself to push in some key points.”

Johnson crossed the finish line and mimicked wiping her forehead with relief. She and Gut-Behrami both lost time by carrying too much speed into a sharp left-hand turn mid-run and overshot the ideal racing line.

Gut-Behrami said she could “barely walk” with back and hip pains, though “at least when I’m skiing I don’t feel anything.”

Overall standings leader Petra Vlhova extended her points advantage in seventh place with low-ranked racers yet to start.

Michelle Gisin, who was in 10th place, is second in the overall standings and Goggia rose to third.

Three-time overall champion Mikaela Shiffrin is skipping speed races this season and is sixth in the standings. She should start Tuesday in a giant slalom at Kronplatz, Italy.

A super-G race is scheduled Sunday (TV and live stream schedule here).

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Eliud Kipchoge breaks marathon world record in Berlin

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon
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Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge broke his own world record in winning the Berlin Marathon, clocking 2:01:09 to lower the previous record time of 2:01:39 he set in the German capital in 2018.

Kipchoge, 37 and a two-time Olympic champion, earned his 15th win in 17 career marathons to bolster his claim as the greatest runner in history over 26.2 miles.

His pacing was not ideal. Kipchoge slowed in the final miles, running 61:18 for the second half after going out in an unprecedented 59:51 for the first 13.1 miles. He still won by 4:49 over Kenyan Mark Korir.

“I was planning to go through it [the halfway mark] 60:50, 60:40,” Kipchoge said. “My legs were running actually very fast. I thought, let me just try to run two hours flat, but all in all, I am happy with the performance.

“We went too fast [in the first half]. It takes energy from the muscles. … There’s still more in my legs [to possibly lower the record again].”

MORE: Berlin Marathon Results

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa won the women’s race in 2:15:37, the third-fastest time in history for somebody who ran one prior marathon in 2:34:01. Only Brigid Kosgei (2:14:14 in Chicago in 2019) and Paula Radcliffe (2:15:25 in London in 2003) have gone faster.

American record holder Keira D’Amato, who entered as the top seed, was sixth in 2:21:48. D’Amato, who went nearly a decade between competitive races after college, owns the American record of 2:19:12 and now also the 10th-best time in U.S. history.

“Today wasn’t my best day ever, but it was the best I could do today,” she said in a text message, according to Race Results Weekly, adding that she briefly stopped and walked late in the race.

The last eight instances the men’s marathon world record has been broken, it has come on the pancake-flat roads of Berlin. It began in 2003, when Kenyan Paul Tergat became the first man to break 2:05.

The world record was 2:02:57 — set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2014 — until Kipchoge broke it for the first time four years ago.

The following year, Kipchoge became the first person to cover 26.2 miles in under two hours, clocking 1:59:40 in a non-record-eligible showcase rather than a race.

Kipchoge’s focus going forward is trying to become the first runner to win three Olympic marathon titles in Paris in 2024. He also wants to win all six annual World Marathon Majors. He’s checked off four of them, only missing Boston (run in April) and New York City (run every November).

Kipchoge grew up on a farm in Kapsabet in Kenya’s Rift Valley, often hauling by bike several gallons of the family’s milk to sell at the local market. Raised by a nursery school teacher, he ran more than three miles to and from school. He saved for five months to get his first pair of running shoes.

At 18, he upset legends Hicham El Guerrouj and Kenenisa Bekele to win the 2003 World 5000m title on the track. He won Olympic 5000m medals (bronze in 2004 and silver in 2008), then moved to the marathon after failing to make the 2012 Olympic team on the track.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France 74, Mali 59 Group B
4 a.m. Australia 69, Serbia 54 Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada 70, Japan 56 Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final