Marco Odermatt wins, River Radamus career-best sixth at men’s alpine ski World Cup opener

Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup - Men's Giant Slalom
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SOELDEN, Austria — Swiss skier Marco Odermatt edged surprise first-run leader Roland Leitinger of Austria by .07 of a second Sunday to win the season-opening men’s World Cup giant slalom.

American racer River Radamus, who impressed with an acrobatic recovery during his first run, finished sixth for his best World Cup result.

Odermatt was third after the opening leg, .21 behind Leitinger and .02 behind GS world champion Matthieu Faivre, but used an attacking second run to put both racers ahead of him under pressure.

Faivre dropped to 11th and Leitinger lost fractions on Odermatt at most splits, but still got his career-best result on the World Cup after winning silver at the 2017 World Championships.

“Amazing, it was a long and hard summer, we trained so hard,” Odermatt said.

“Soelden is always special for me. Five years ago I scored my first World Cup points here. To start the season with a victory… 70 guys dreamed about that today,” said the Swiss skier, referring to the 71-starter field.

It was Odermatt’s third career GS win, after finishing second in last season’s discipline standings following race wins it Italy and Slovenia.

Odermatt denied Leitinger the chance to become the first Austrian male skier other than Marcel Hirscher to win a GS since Philipp Schörghofer triumphed in February 2011. Record eight-time overall champion Hirscher, who retired two years ago, dominated the discipline for many years, winning the GS season title on six occasions.

Zan Kranjec of Slovenia was one tenth of a second behind in third, followed by Odermatt’s Swiss teammate Gino Caviezel in fourth and defending overall and GS World Cup champion Alexis Pinturault in fifth.

Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, the 2020 overall champion who missed the final two months of last season with a knee injury, sat out the race to prepare for upcoming speed events.

Kilde’s Norwegian teammate Lucas Braathen, who won the race last year before also sustaining a season-ending knee injury, posted the fastest second-run time to finish seventh.

Radamus avoided crashing out when his right ski came up high in the air and the American did well to stay on the course and post the ninth-fastest time in his first run. He added an attacking but solid second run to gain three spots and finish .68 behind Odermatt.

“I just really wanted to go in the season charging and leave it all out there,” said Radamus, whose previous best result in GS was 14th in a race in Bulgaria last February.

“I feel like I’ve had the speed in training. And so I am just trying to be more fearless, take it to it more and try to attack. I made a lot of mistakes, but it paid off in the end because I was pushing the limit.”

Radamus was the junior world champion in GS in 2019 but has struggled to replicate those results in World Cup races.

“I felt like too many times last year, I regretted the turns that I didn’t charge as opposed to the mistakes I made,” he said. “I am really proud of my intensity and proud of my effort.”

Radamus attracted attention not only for his skiing, but also for keeping up his tradition of arriving at the season-opening race in Austria sporting a colorful do.

“Just to kick off the season,” he said, pointing to the panther-like colors on his head. “This one is from Chad Fleischer, American great speed skier from years past. So, it’s my tribute to him, it’s cool and it gets a lot of comments.”

Another U.S. ski team member, Ryan Cochran-Siegle, made his return to the World Cup nine months after sustaining a minor fracture of his neck in a crash in Kitzbuehel.

Cochran-Siegle finished 31st and missed out on qualifying for the second run by one hundredth of a second.

The World Cup continues in Austria with the only parallel event of the season in Lech/Zürs on Nov. 14.

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Ilia Malinin wins U.S. Figure Skating Championships despite quadruple Axel miss

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One year ago, Ilia Malinin came to the U.S. Championships as, largely, a 17-year-old unknown. He finished second to Nathan Chen in 2022 and was left off the three-man Olympic team due to his inexperience, a committee decision that lit a fire in him.

After the biggest year of change in U.S. figure skating in three decades, Malinin came to this week’s nationals in San Jose, California, as the headliner across all disciplines.

Though he fell on his quadruple Axel and doubled two other planned quads in Sunday’s free skate (the most ambitious program in history), he succeeded the absent Chen as national champion.

Malinin, the world’s second-ranked male singles skater, still landed two clean quads in Friday’s short program and three more Sunday. He totaled 287.74 points and prevailed by 10.43 over two-time Olympian Jason Brown, a bridge between the Chen and Malinin eras.

“This wasn’t the skate that I wanted,” said Malinin, who was bidding to become the second man to land six quads in one program after Chen. The Virginia chalked up the flaws at least partially to putting more recent practice time into his short program, which he skated clean on Friday after errors in previous competitions.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Results

Brown, a 28-year-old competing for the first time since placing sixth at the Olympics, became the oldest male singles skater to finish in the top three at nationals since Jeremy Abbott won the last of his four titles in 2014. As usual, he didn’t attempt a quad but had the highest artistic score by 9.41 points.

Brown’s seven total top-three finishes at nationals tie him with Chen, Michael WeissBrian Boitano, David Jenkins and Dick Button for the second-most in men’s singles since World War II, trailing only Todd Eldredge‘s and Hayes Jenkins‘ eight.

“I’m not saying it’s super old, but I can’t train the way I used to,” Brown said after Friday’s short program. “What Ilia is doing and the way he is pushing the sport is outstanding and incredible to watch. I cannot keep up.”

Andrew Torgashev took bronze, winning the free skate with one quad and all clean jumps. Torgashev, who competed at nationals for the first time since placing fifth in 2020 at age 18, will likely round out the three-man world team.

Japan’s Shoma Uno will likely be the favorite at worlds. He won last year’s world title, when Malinin admittedly cracked under pressure in the free skate after a fourth-place short program and ended up ninth.

That was before Malinin became the first person to land a quad Axel in competition. That was before Malinin became the story of the figure skating world this fall. That was before Malinin took over the American throne from Chen, who is studying at Yale and not expected to return to competition.

Malinin’s next step is to grab another label that Chen long held: best in the world. To do that, he must be better than he was on Sunday.

“You always learn from your experiences, and there’s always still the rest of the season to come,” he said. “I just have to be prepared and prepare a little bit extra so that doesn’t happen again.”

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Mark McMorris breaks Winter X Games medals record; David Wise wins first title in 5 years

Mark McMorris
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Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris broke his tie with American Jamie Anderson for the most Winter X Games medals across all sites, earning his 22nd medal, a slopestyle gold, in Aspen, Colorado.

On the final run of Sunday’s contest, McMorris overtook Norway’s Marcus Kleveland with back-to-back 1620s on the last two jumps. McMorris’ last three Aspen slopestyle titles were all won on his final run (2019, 2022).

“It’s something I never thought would ever come to me as a kid from Saskatchewan,” McMorris, 29, said on the broadcast. “Everything’s just been a bonus since I became a pro snowboarder.”

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression of their best run over the course of a jam session rather than scoring individual runs.

McMorris won his record-extending seventh X Games Aspen men’s slopestyle title, one day after finishing fourth in big air.

“It just keeps getting crazier because I keep getting older,” he said. “People just keep pushing the limits, pushing the limits. Last night was such a downer, almost bums me out, like, dude, do I still have it? … To have one of those miracle wins where you do it on the last run and someone makes you push yourself, those are the best feelings.”

McMorris won slopestyle bronze medals at each of the last three Olympics and reportedly said last February that he was planning to compete through the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games.

Canadian Max Parrot, the 2022 Olympic slopestyle champion, is taking this season off from competition.

Anderson, a two-time Olympic snowboard slopestyle champion, is expecting her first child.

Later Sunday, American David Wise earned his first major ski halfpipe title since repeating as Olympic champion in 2018. Wise landed back-to-back double cork 1260s to end his winning run, according to commentators.

“I wouldn’t still be out here if I didn’t think I had a chance,” Wise, 32 and now a five-time X Games Aspen champ, said on the broadcast. “I’m not going to be the guy who just keeps playing the game until everybody just begs me to stop.”

U.S. Olympian Mac Forehand won men’s ski big air with a 2160 on his last run, according to commentators. It scored a perfect 50. Olympic gold medalist Birk Ruud of Norway followed with a triple cork 2160 of his own, according to commentators, and finished third.

Canadian skier Megan Oldham added slopestyle gold to her big air title from Friday, relegating Olympic champion Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland to silver.

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