Marco Odermatt wins Beaver Creek super-G after stars ski out


BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — Marco Odermatt charged precisely where he needed to charge along the challenging super-G course. The Swiss racer took chances only where he knew he could.

Odermatt is quickly turning into one to watch with the Beijing Olympics two months away, gliding through the steep and sun-drenched Birds of Prey course Thursday to capture his second World Cup victory of the young season.

He navigated the technical super-G setup in 1 minute, 8.61 seconds to hold off Austria’s Matthias Mayer by 0.78 seconds. The real surprise was Canada’s Broderick Thompson, who finished third while wearing bib No. 35 — a rare podium finish for someone not in the top 30 entrants.

Thompson’s overriding emotion after earning his first top-three World Cup showing?

“Disbelief,” the 27-year-old Thompson said.

ALPINE WORLD CUP: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Five of the first 15 starters failed to finish.

That included 2020 World Cup overall champ Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway, 2019 World super-G champion Dominik Paris of Italy, three-time World Cup race winner Max Franz of Austria and Romed Baumann, the surprise 2021 World Championships silver medalist for Germany. All skied off course and did not crash.

The 24-year-old Odermatt is certainly impressing his rivals.

“His skiing is good. His tactic is very aggressive,” Mayer said. “And that’s what makes him so fast.”

This marked back-to-back super-G wins for Odermatt at Beaver Creek (sandwiched around last season’s cancellation because of the coronavirus pandemic). In 2019, he was on edge the whole way down.

In this one, same thing.

“You had to attack and be clever in some sections and the combination worked well,” said Odermatt, who also won a giant slalom race in Austria in October. “It’s really difficult here, as always. You just have to trust your feeling and your skiing.”

Not to be overshadowed was the performance of Thompson, whose late charge was the surprise of the afternoon and knocked Germany’s Andreas Sander off the podium.

Thompson paid close attention to the trouble spots that proved problematic for some early racers, in particular a tricky and fast section up top that went from full sunlight into darkness. The shadows weren’t as prevalent when the competitors made their prerace inspection.

But Thompson found a fast line through there and to the finish.

“I knew I had a decent run, but I looked at the time and seeing third — I can’t put words to it,” said Thompson, whose best World Cup finish entering the race was eighth in an Alpine combined event in 2017. “I honestly still can’t really believe it.”

His coach could.

“Did I see a podium run today? We know if he puts it together, he’s capable of that,” said Canadian coach John Kucera, who was the downhill world champion in 2009. “But for sure, that was an exciting result.”

The top American finisher was Ryan Cochran-Siegle in a tie for 19th, 1.95 seconds behind Odermatt. Fourteen racers didn’t finish the challenging course; Felix Monsen of Sweden had a quick run going but crashed near the end and slid across the finish line.

“It was very technical, actually,” said Mayer, a two-time Olympic champion. “We can see that so many racers did not finish. They missed a gate anywhere, especially on the flat area and at the finish jump. It was a very technical (race). That’s how a super-G should be.”

The Birds of Prey World Cup stop continues Friday with another super-G, live on NBCSN and Peacock.

Mikaela Shiffrin headlines women’s speed races this weekend in Lake Louise, Canada, also live on Peacock.

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Chloe Kim, Elana Meyers Taylor among Olympians to join presidential sports council

Elana Meyers Taylor, President Joe Biden

Chloe Kim and Elana Meyers Taylor are among the Olympic and Paralympic medalists set to join the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, & Nutrition.

President Joe Biden intends to appoint the snowboarder Kim, bobsledder Meyers Taylor, retired Olympic medalists Chaunté Lowe (track and field) and Tamika Catchings (basketball) and Paralympic medalist Melissa Stockwell (triathlon) to the council, among other athletes and people in the health and fitness fields, it was announced Friday.

Stephen and Ayesha Curry are also on the list.

The council “aims to promote healthy, accessible eating and physical activity for all Americans, regardless of background or ability.”

Last year, Biden appointed basketball gold medalist Elena Delle Donne a co-chair of the council.

Kim, the two-time reigning Olympic halfpipe champion, sat out this past season but is expected to return to competition for a third Olympic run in 2026.

Meyers Taylor, the most decorated U.S. Olympic bobsledder in history with medals in all five of her Olympic events, sat out this past season due to pregnancy. She took her first bobsled run in 13 months this past week in Lake Placid, New York.

There is a long history of Olympians and Paralympians serving on the council, which was created in 1956.

In 2017, Barack Obama appointed medalists including gymnast Gabby Douglas, soccer player Carli Lloyd and fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad.

Others to previously be on the council include sprinter Allyson Felix, figure skater Michelle Kwan and swimmer and triathlete Brad Snyder.

Members serve for two years and can be reappointed.

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Kaori Sakamoto wins figure skating worlds; top American places fourth


Kaori Sakamoto overcame a late error in her free skate to become the first Japanese figure skater to win back-to-back world titles and the oldest women’s world champion since 2014.

Sakamoto, 22, totaled 224.61 points on home ice in Saitama to prevail by 3.67 over Lee Hae-In of South Korea in the closest women’s finish at worlds since 2011.

Belgium’s Loena Hendrickx took bronze, edging 16-year-old American Isabeau Levito for a medal by 2.77 points.

Sakamoto is the oldest women’s singles world champion since Mao Asada (2014), who is now the only Japanese skater with more world titles than Sakamoto.

She appeared en route to an easier victory until singling a planned triple flip late in her free skate, which put the gold in doubt. She can be thankful for pulling off the second jump of that planned combination — a triple toe loop — and her 5.62-point lead from Wednesday’s short program.

“I feel so pathetic and thought, what was all that hard work I put into my training?” Sakamoto said of her mistake, according to the International Skating Union (ISU). “But I was able to refocus and do my best till the end.

“Because I have this feeling of regret at the biggest event of the season, I want to make sure I don’t have this feeling next season. So I want to practice even harder, and I want to make sure to do clean, perfect performances at every competition.”

Lee, who had the top free skate, became the second South Korean to win a world medal in any discipline after six-time medalist Yuna Kim.

Hendrickx followed her silver from last year, when she became the first Belgian women’s singles skater to win a world medal.

FIGURE SKATING WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Levito, last year’s world junior champion, had a chance to become the youngest senior world medalist since 2014.

After a solid short program, she fell on her opening triple Lutz in the free skate and left points on the table by performing two jump combinations rather than three. The Lutz was planned to be the first half of a combination with a triple loop.

“I am severely disappointed because I’ve been nailing my Lutz-loop for a really long time, and this is the first time I’ve messed it up in a while, and of course it had to be when it actually counted,” Levito said, according to the ISU. “But I’m pretty happy with myself for just trying to move past it and focusing on making the most out of the rest of the program.”

Levito entered worlds ranked fourth in the field by best score this season. She matched the best finish for a U.S. woman in her senior global championships debut (Olympics and worlds) since Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan took silver and bronze at the 1991 Worlds. Sasha Cohen, to whom Levito is often compared, also placed fourth in her Olympic and world debuts in 2002.

“I feel very proud for myself and grateful for my coaching team for helping me get this far so far in my skating career, and I’m just very proud to be where I am,” Levito said on USA Network.

American Amber Glenn was 12th in her world debut. Two-time U.S. champion Bradie Tennell was 15th. They had been 10th and eighth, respectively, in the short program.

The U.S. qualified two women’s spots for next year’s worlds rather than the maximum three because the top two Americans’ results added up to more than 13 (Levito’s fourth plus Glenn’s 12th equaled 16). The U.S. was in position to qualify three spots after the short program.

Glenn said after the short program that she had a very difficult two weeks before worlds, including “out-of-nowhere accidents and coincidences that could have prevented me from being here,” and boot problems that affected her triple Axel. She attempted a triple Axel in the free skate, spinning out of an under-rotated, two-footed landing.

Tennell, who went 19 months between competitions due to foot and ankle injuries in 2021 and 2022, had several jumping errors in the free skate.

“This season has been like one thing after another,” said the 25-year-old Tennell, who plans to compete through the 2026 Winter Games. “I’m really excited to get back and work on some stuff for the new season.”

Earlier, Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates topped the rhythm dance, starting their bid for a first world title in their 12th season together and after three prior world silver or bronze medals.

“We skated as best we possibly could today,” Bates said, according to the ISU, after they tallied the world’s top score this season.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White are the lone U.S. ice dancers to win a world title, doing so in 2011 and 2013.

Worlds continue Friday night (U.S. time) with the free dance, followed Saturday morning with the men’s free skate, live on Peacock and USA Network.

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