Sofia Goggia wins World Cup downhill with duct tape, day after surgery for smashing gate

Sofia Goggia
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ST. MORITZ, Switzerland — Italian skier Sofia Goggia gave a thumbs-up with her right hand after dominating the fourth women’s World Cup downhill of the season on Saturday.

Her left hand she could barely move.

Goggia won the race in impressive style, leading runner-up Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia by 0.43 seconds, a day after breaking two fingers when she hit a gate but still finished second in a downhill on the same Corviglia course.

After Friday’s accident, the two-time Olympic downhill medalist went to Milan to have surgery. The Italian ski team said a metal rod and screws were placed inside her hand to stabilize it and her hand wrapped in a cast.

Still, Goggia returned to the Swiss resort for the second downhill.

With her left hand bandaged and the glove attached to her ski pole with yellow duct tape, Goggia was the ninth starter as she seemed not visibly hampered by the injury.

“When I understood today that I could make it, I think there was no girl who was (as) happy as I was today at the start gate. It was not guaranteed that I could be at the start today,” said Goggia, adding the Italian team even considered not putting her on the start list for Saturday’s race.

“I said: ‘Are you crazy? You crazy?’ I don’t give up this way,” Goggia said.

Racing under blue skies and sunshine – in contrast to Friday’s race in snowy and foggy conditions – Goggia charged down the 2.5-kilometer course in her usual gutsy style, not holding back in bumpy turns and jumping higher and further than her rivals.

Goggia finished 0.52 seconds ahead of then-leader Kira Weidle of Germany, and waved and blew kisses to the spectators.

Weidle was later bumped into third place by Stuhec, who earned her first podium in nearly four years. The Slovenian had won the 2017 World downhill title on this course.

Elena Curtoni, who won Friday’s race, finished 1.16 seconds behind in eighth.

Goggia’s third win of the season and 20th overall was briefly threatened by Mikaela Shiffrin.

Starting 21st, the overall World Cup leader was a few hundredths faster than Goggia in the first two sections, but Shiffrin took fewer risks than the Italian in the remainder of her run and finished 0.61 behind in fourth.

“I am really happy with how these last two days have gone with downhill. It was so fun and smooth and flowing,” said Shiffrin, who improved two positions from Friday’s result, when she finished one spot behind American teammate Breezy Johnson.

On Saturday, Johnson came almost two seconds behind Goggia and finished outside the top 20.

Shiffrin was followed by three Austrian racers: Cornelia Hütter, Nina Ortlieb and Mirjam Puchner.

Shiffrin leads the overall standings with 475 points, 50 clear of Goggia and 109 ahead of Wendy Holdener. The Swiss skier finished 32nd and failed to score World Cup points.

“On the one hand I try not to count points constantly, but it is in my mind all the time,” said Shiffrin, who won her fourth overall title last season.

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Scotty James wins fifth X Games snowboard halfpipe title

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Scotty James doesn’t have Olympic gold, but he remains king of the X Games halfpipe.

James, the Australian snowboarder who took bronze and silver at the last two Olympics, earned his fifth Aspen gold, repeating as champ of the biggest annual contest under falling snow in the Colorado Rockies. Only the retired Shaun White has more X Games men’s snowboard halfpipe titles with eight.

Nobody on Friday night attempted a triple cork, which was first done in competition by Japan’s Ayumu Hirano last season en route to the Olympic title. Hirano placed sixth Friday.

“It was a tough night, pretty interesting conditions,” James said. “Had to adjust the game plan. The show goes on.”

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

Earlier, Olympic gold medalist Zoi Sadowski-Synnott of New Zealand repeated as women’s snowboard slopestyle champion, passing Olympic bronze medalist Tess Coady of Australia on the final run of the competition. Sadowski-Synnott, the only snowboarder or skier to win Olympic, world and X Games slopestyle titles, capped her finale with back-to-back 900s.

The competition lacked 2014 and 2018 Olympic champion Jamie Anderson, who announced her pregnancy last month.

Canada’s Megan Oldham landed the first triple cork in women’s ski big air competition history to beat Olympic silver medalist Tess Ledeux of France, according to commentators. Oldham, a 21-year-old ex-gymnast, was fourth at the Olympics.

Eileen Gu, the Olympic champion from China, did not compete but is entered in halfpipe and slopestyle later this weekend.

ON HER TURF: U.S. freeskier Maggie Voisin on grief, loss, finding motivation

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Isabeau Levito wins U.S. figure skating title at age 15, followed by comeback stories

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Isabeau Levito won her first U.S. figure skating title at age 15, cementing her status as the new leading American woman to open the new Olympic cycle.

Levito, the world junior champion, tallied 223.33 points between two strong programs in San Jose, California. She distanced two-time U.S. champion Bradie Tennell, who went 19 months between competitions due to foot and ankle injuries in 2021 and 2022 and scored 213.12.

Tennell was just two hundredths behind Levito after Thursday’s short but had multiple jumping errors in the free skate.

Levito followed her as last to go in the free and nailed the most pressure-packed performance of her young career, including the hardest jump combination done of the entire field. She didn’t receive a single negative mark from a judge for her 19 technical elements in her two programs.

Moments later, she was in tears backstage.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Scores | Broadcast Schedule

“I was just so proud of myself for staying so calm and staying so focused, doing exactly what I aimed to do,” Levito, who hasn’t finished off the podium in more than 20 events dating to November 2016, said on NBC. “I’m ready to start bouncing off the walls.”

Amber Glenn, 23, placed third and will likely become the oldest U.S. women’s singles skater to make her world championships debut in at least 45 years. Glenn botched her 11th attempt to join the list of U.S. women to land a clean triple Axel (tally according to Skatingscores.com) but still moved up from fourth after the short program, passing Starr Andrews.

Last year, Glenn entered nationals as the fourth-ranked U.S. woman and a hopeful for the three-woman Olympic team. She placed 14th in the short program, competing unknowingly with COVID-19, then tested positive and withdrew before the free skate.

In 2021, Glenn was the U.S. silver medalist, yet passed over for a spot on the two-woman world team in favor of the more experienced Karen Chen, who finished 35 hundredths behind Glenn at those nationals.

Levito, Tennell and Glenn are expected to make up the team for March’s world championships, decided by a committee.

Gracie Gold, a two-time U.S. champion who was fifth after the short program, popped a pair of planned triple Lutzes and dropped to eighth.

None of the three 2022 U.S. Olympians competed. Alysa Liu and Mariah Bell retired. Chen is a student at Cornell and might not return.

Nationals continue Saturday with the free dance and pairs’ free skate, live on NBC Sports and Peacock.

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