Aleksander Aamodt Kilde wins Kitzbühel downhill; 41-year-old on podium

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Norwegian Aleksander Aamodt Kilde confirmed he’s the Olympic downhill favorite by winning the biggest race on the World Cup, the Hahnenkamm downhill in Kitzbühel, Austria, on Friday.

Kilde, who is Mikaela Shiffrin‘s boyfriend, earned his third win in seven World Cup downhills this season after returning from a season-ending knee ligament tear last January.

“Standing here now just over a year after I had my knee operation it’s quite incredible,” Kilde said. “A lot of things have to happen for you to win, and today was one of those days where I really had a good feeling.”

ALPINE SKIING WORLD CUP: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

The only men to win the Hahnenkamm downhill and the Olympics in the same season were Austrian legends Franz Klammer in 1976 and Toni Sailer in 1956.

Kilde prevailed by .42 of a second over 41-year-old Frenchman Johan Clarey, who broke his own record as the oldest Alpine skier to make a World Cup podium. Last year in Kitzbühel, Clarey became the first 40-year-old to make a World Cup podium, also in second place.

France’s Blaise Giezendanner was a stunning third from bib 43. Travis Ganong was the top American in seventh.

The men race another downhill in Kitzbühel on Sunday, after a slalom on Saturday. Both races are live on Peacock.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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Sifan Hassan sets marathon debut

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Sifan Hassan, who won 5000m and 10,000m gold and 1500m bronze at the Tokyo Olympics in an unprecedented triple, will make her 26.2-mile debut at the London Marathon on April 23.

Hassan, a 30-year-old Dutchwoman, said she will return to the track after the race, but how the London Marathon goes will play into whether she bids for the Olympic marathon in 2024.

“I want to see what I can do on the marathon distance, to make future decisions,” she posted on social media. “We’ll see if I will finish the distance or if the distance will finish me.”

Exhausted by her Olympic feat, Hassan reportedly went at least seven months after the Tokyo Games between training in track spikes. She finished fourth in the 10,000m and sixth in the 5000m at last July’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon.

“I really needed a break after the Tokyo Olympics,” Hassan said at worlds. “I was mentally crashed. I didn’t even care about running.”

London, billed as the best women’s marathon field in history, also boasts Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya, world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya, 2016 Olympic 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia, 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia and the two fastest Americans in history, Emily Sisson and Keira D’Amato.

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