Chloe Kim repeats as snowboard halfpipe world champion, leads U.S. 1-2

0 Comments

Chloe Kim added another major snowboard halfpipe title to her trophy case, repeating as world champion on Saturday.

Kim, who in PyeongChang became the youngest Olympic halfpipe champion at age 17, prevailed with a 93.75-point run that included a 1080 and a 900 in Aspen, Colorado.

“I actually kind of sprained my ankle in practice so it’s been a little challenging,” she said.

Kim, who landed back-to-back 1080s in PyeongChang, had the two highest-scoring runs in the eight-woman final, then had a victory lap for her last run.

Countrywoman Maddie Mastro, the last woman to beat Kim in competition at the March 2019 Burton U.S. Open, took silver with an 89-point third and final run that included her trademark double crippler.

It’s the second time the U.S. went one-two in a world championships halfpipe, after Ross Powers and Lael Gregory did so in the event’s debut in 1996, two years before snowboarding’s Olympic debut.

Spain’s Queralt Castellet, who won the 2020 X Games in Kim’s absence, earned bronze.

The other major Olympic medal contenders — 2018 Olympic silver medalist Liu Jiayu and two-time world champion Cai Xuetong, both of China — have not competed in any International Ski Federation-sanctioned events this season.

Kim won her two biggest contests this winter, also taking her fifth X Games Aspen title in January in the same Buttermilk Mountain halfpipe.

She returned to competition after a 22-month break, having taken the entire 2019-20 season off to attend Princeton freshman classes.

Also Saturday, Japanese Totsuka Yuto, 19, won the men’s halfpipe, confirming his status as 2022 Olympic favorite as Shaun White hasn’t competed in three years. Totsuka had the two highest scores, 96.25 and 93, beating Australian star Scotty James for a fourth consecutive head-to-head.

Totsuka, whose top run included a 1440 and three 1260s, also relegated James to silver at X Games.

White could make his contest return at a U.S. Grand Prix in Aspen next week, the first 2022 U.S. Olympic qualifier.

Chinese Eileen Gu became the first skier to win halfpipe and slopestyle medals at the same world championships — and both were gold. Gu, a 17-year-old born in San Francisco to an American father and Chinese mother, took halfpipe on Friday and slopestyle on Saturday in her worlds debut.

She also swept ski halfpipe and ski slopestyle in her X Games debut in January. She’s now the favorite in both events at the Olympics in her home nation next year. No freestyle skier has earned multiple medals at a single Olympics.

Swiss Andri Ragettli, he of the sensational social media videos and 515,000 Instagram followers, won his first world title in men’s ski slopestyle. Ragettli scored 90.65 points on his last run, pushing Americans Colby Stevenson and Alex Hall to silver and bronze.

It’s the biggest slopestyle title in 22-year-old Ragettli’s career. He also won big air at X Games in January. Ski big air makes its Olympic debut next year.

Worlds continue next week with big air events in skiing and snowboarding.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Chicago Marathon features Emily Sisson’s return, Conner Mantz’s debut, live on Peacock

Emily Sisson
Getty
0 Comments

At Sunday’s Chicago Marathon, Emily Sisson makes her return, nearly three years after Olympic Trials disappointment. Conner Mantz makes one of the most anticipated U.S. men’s debuts in 26.2-mile racing.

It is not the norm, but an American will be one of the spotlight runners in both the men’s and women’s elite races at a major marathon. Peacock airs live coverage at 8 a.m. ET.

Sisson, 30, starts her first mass marathon since dropping out of the Olympic Trials on Feb. 29, 2020, her legs “destroyed” on the hilly Atlanta course where she started as arguably the favorite. She ran the virtual New York City Marathon later in 2020, but that was solo (and not in New York City). Her 2:38:00 isn’t recorded in her official results on her World Athletics bio.

Since, Sisson won the Olympic Trials 10,000m on the track and was the top American in Tokyo in 10th place. She moved back to the roads, winning national titles at 15km and the half marathon and breaking the American record in the latter.

Sisson vaulted into the elite group of U.S. female marathoners in 2019, when she clocked the second-fastest debut marathon in American history, a 2:23:08 on a windy day in London, where the early pace was slow.

At the time, it was the 12th-best U.S. performance all-time. In the last two years, Keira D’Amato, 37, and Sara Hall, 39, combined to run seven faster marathons. At Chicago, a flat course that produced a world record three years ago, Sisson can answer them and perhaps get close to D’Amato’s American record 2:19:12.

“I’m hoping sub-2:20,” coach Ray Treacy said, according to LetsRun.com. “With the [super] shoes and the training behind her, I would think that’s [worth] at least three minutes.”

It is less likely that Sisson can challenge for the win on Sunday given the presence of Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich, the 2019 World champion and defending champion in the Windy City. The 28-year-old mom is the fifth-fastest woman in history with a personal best of 2:17:08. And Ethiopian Ruti Aga, a podium finisher in Berlin, New York City and Tokyo with a best time of 2:18:34, though she has one marathon finish since the pandemic (a seventh place).

Like Sisson, Mantz has shown strong recent road racing form. The American men’s debut marathon record of 2:07:56 (Leonard Korir) is in play. If he can break that, Mantz will be among the five fastest U.S. marathoners in history.

Rarely has a U.S. male distance runner as accomplished as Mantz moved up to the marathon at such a young age (25). At BYU, he won NCAA cross-country titles in 2020 and 2021 and placed fifth in the Olympic Trials 10,000m, then turned pro and won the U.S. Half Marathon Championships last December.

“If everything goes as planned, I think sub-2:08 is realistic,” Mantz said in a Citius Mag video interview last month. “If everything goes perfect on the day, I think a sub-2:07, that’s a big stretch goal.”

The men’s field doesn’t have the singular star power of Chepngetich, but a large group of East Africans with personal bests around 2:05. The most notable: defending champion Seifu Tura of Ethiopia and 2021 Boston Marathon winner Benson Kipruto of Kenya.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Alpine skiing to test new format for combined race

Alpine Skiing Combined
Getty
0 Comments

Alpine skiing officials will test a new format for the combined event, a race that is under review to remain on the Olympic program.

French newspaper L’Equipe reported that the International Ski Federation (FIS) will test a new team format for the combined, which has been an individual event on the Olympic program since 1988. L’Equipe reported that a nation can use a different skier for the downhill and slalom in the new setup, quoting FIS secretary general Michel Vion.

For example, the U.S. could use Breezy Johnson in the downhill run and sub her out for Mikaela Shiffrin in the slalom run, should the format be adopted into senior competition.

The format will be tested at the world junior championships in January in St. Anton, Austria, according to the report.

In response to the report, a FIS spokesperson said, “Regarding the new format of the combined is correct, and our directors are working on the rules so for the moment the only thing we can confirm is that there will be this new format for the Alpine combined that has been proposed by the athletes’ commission.”

Some version of the combined event has been provisionally included on the 2026 Olympic program, with a final IOC decision on its place coming by April.

This will be the third consecutive World Cup season with no combined events. Instead, FIS has included more parallel races in recent years. The individual combined remains on the biennial world championships program.

L’Equipe also reported that the mixed team parallel event, which is being dropped from the Olympics, will also be dropped from the biennial world championships after this season.

“There is nothing definitive about that yet, but it is a project in the making,” a FIS spokesperson said in commenting on the report.

Vion said the mixed team event, which debuted at the Olympics in 2018, was not a hit at the Beijing Games and did not draw a strong audience, according to L’Equipe.

The World Cup season starts in two weeks with the traditional opening giant slaloms in Soelden, Austria.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!