Chloe Kim wins Dew Tour after Maddie Mastro crashes hard; Ayumu Hirano lands triple cork

Chloe Kim
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Chloe Kim won her first event of the Olympic season, while Ayumu Hirano landed the first triple cork in halfpipe competition at Dew Tour on Sunday.

Kim landed a pair of 1080s on the last run of the women’s event at Copper Mountain, Colorado, to overtake Spain’s Queralt Castellet on her third and final run.

Kim scored 96 points after falling on her second 1080 attempt on each of her first two runs.

“I’m never putting myself in that situation again. That was horrible,” she said in a finish area interview.

Kim has won all five of her starts since returning from a 19-month break between riding a snowboard last season.

She is set to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team later this week, when the first riders clinch spots via world rankings.

Maddie Mastro, the other American Olympic medal contender, crashed hard on her first run, banging her helmet-protected head on the lip of the halfpipe. She did not take her second and third runs.

She was bleeding below her left eye and taken off the mountain by sled. Contest officials said she suffered an ankle injury.

Mastro, the last woman to beat Kim at the March 2019 Burton U.S. Open, had the highest score in qualifying.

DEW TOUR: Full Results

Later Sunday, the two-time Olympic silver medalist Hirano became the first halfpipe rider to land a triple cork in competition. Hirano did a frontside triple cork 1440 on his last run, though he crashed out on his next trick and finished fifth overall.

Shaun White finished seventh. White, after taking a three-year competition break after winning his third Olympic title in 2018, has finished fourth, eighth and seventh in three competitions.

It marks the first time he has missed the podium in three straight halfpipe contests in nearly 20 years, according to his federation profile results histories.

White said after his last run that it was his last time competing at Dew Tour. White, 35, previously said that he believes Beijing will be his last Olympics but has not said specifically when he plans to retire.

White said before this season that learning the triple cork was necessary to do well at the Olympics. White’s coach, J.J. Thomas, said that he saw several riders land triple corks at a preseason training camp in Switzerland, including some of Japan’s biggest stars like Hirano. White tried and failed to learn a triple cork in 2012 and 2013, then shelved it. He has never attempted one in competition.

Another Japanese Olympic medal favorite, Yuto Tostuka, won Dew Tour without attempting a triple cork.

American Taylor Gold, a 2014 Olympian who sat out the 2018 Olympic season due to injuries, finished second. White, Gold and Chase Josey are favorites to make the U.S. Olympic team of up to four men, which will be finalized in January.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Diana Taurasi says 2024 Paris Olympics ‘on my radar’

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi said immediately after winning her fifth Olympic gold medal in Tokyo that she might try for a record sixth in Paris.

It’s still on her mind 17 months out of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“It’s something that it’s on my radar,” Taurasi told The Associated Press in a phone interview Tuesday after the first day of a USA Basketball training camp in Minnesota, her first national team activity since Tokyo. “I’m still competitive, still driven, still want to play, I still love being a part of USA Basketball.”

Taurasi will be 42 at the time of the Paris Games — older than any previous Olympic basketball player — but said if she’s healthy enough she’d like to give it a go.

“If the opportunity comes to play and be a part of it, it’s something I’ve always taken a lot of pride in,” said Taurasi, who shares the record of five Olympic basketball gold medals with the retired Sue Bird. “When you get to my age at this point in my career, you just try to win every day. Right now this is a good opportunity to be part of this team moving forward we’ll see what happens.”

She said she would have played at the FIBA World Cup last year in Australia, but had a quad strain that kept her out of the end of the WNBA season.

“I got hurt a little bit before. I had a good conversation with Coach (Cheryl) Reeve and (USA Basketball CEO Jim) Tooley. I felt like I hadn’t played enough basketball to be out there and help,” Taurasi said. “That’s the biggest thing with USA Basketball is being able to help the team win.”

Reeve said Monday that when she succeeded Dawn Staley as head coach a few months after Tokyo, she wasn’t sure whether Taurasi would play for the national team again. That was before her conversation with Taurasi.

“I look forward to having a chance to have her be around and be, as I told her, a great voice,” Reeve said. “Obviously, the competitive fire that she competes with is something that we all do well with.”

In Tokyo, Taurasi started all six games and averaged 18.8 minutes per game, sixth-most on the team (fewer than backup guard Chelsea Gray). Her 5.8 points per game were her fewest in her Olympic career, though she was dealing with a hip injury.

Taurasi is an unrestricted free agent although she is expected to return back to Phoenix where she’s spent her entire career since getting drafted No. 1 overall in 2003.

“Phoenix still has things they need to work out,” the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer said.

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Alexis Pinturault wins world championships combined; American in fourth

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France’s Alexis Pinturault won the world Alpine skiing championships combined at his home venue after defending world champion Marco Schwarz blew a lead in the final seconds of his slalom run.

Pinturault, a 31-year-old who hadn’t won a race in nearly two years (the longest drought of his distinguished career), prevailed by one tenth of a second over the Austrian Schwarz in Courchevel, France.

“I hope to enjoy it because it was pretty difficult some months ago,” Pinturault said.

Austrian Raphael Haaser took bronze in an event that combined times from a morning super-G run and an afternoon slalom run, one day after his older sister took bronze in the women’s combined.

River Radamus was fourth, a quarter of a second from becoming the first U.S. man to win an Alpine worlds medal since 2015. Radamus’ best event is the giant slalom, which is scheduled for Feb. 17 at worlds.

“It’s nice, but honestly, you don’t come to world championships hoping to get fourth,” Radamus said.

Five skiers finished within 2.98 seconds of the winner in an event that has been dropped from the annual World Cup schedule and is under review to remain on the Olympic program.

ALPINE WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Pinturault had the fastest super-G run by six hundredths over Schwarz. Schwarz, a slightly better slalom skier than Pinturault, erased that deficit early in the slalom and had a three tenths lead at the last intermediate split.

He gave it all away about six gates from the finish, slamming on the brakes. Moments later, he crossed the finish line one tenth behind Pinturault, who reacted by pumping his fists in the air.

The Frenchman earned his first race victory since the March 2021 World Cup Finals giant slalom, where he clinched his first World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing. Last season, Pinturault went winless on the World Cup for the first time since he was a teenage rookie in 2011, plus went medal-less at the Olympics.

Pinturault, who grew up in Courchevel and now co-owns the family’s five-star Hotel Annapurna there, had retirement cross his mind in the offseason, according to Eurosport. He skipped a pre-worlds Sunday press conference due to illness.

Nonetheless, Pinturault was on the front page of French newspapers this week, including L’Equipe on Tuesday. In a sports cover story for Le Figaro, Pinturault said that, given the circumstances, it would be almost a “nice surprise” to go for a medal at these worlds.

Olympic champion Johannes Strolz of Austria skied out of the slalom after tying for 29th in the super-G.

Olympic silver and bronze medalists Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway and Jack Crawford of Canada were among the speed specialists who did not start the slalom. They essentially used the event as a training run for Thursday’s super-G.

Worlds continue Wednesday with the women’s super-G, where Mikaela Shiffrin is a medal contender but not the favorite. She can tie the modern-era records for individual world championships gold medals (seven) and total medals (12).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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