Bill Demong

Olympian wins Red Bull 400 climb up Utah Olympic ski jump (video)

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Two-time U.S. Olympic cross-country skier Liz Stephen competed in a different kind of race Saturday, a 400-meter climb up the 2002 Olympic ski jumping hill in Park City, Utah.

And she won.

Stephen finished in 4 minutes, 39.2 seconds (full results here).

“I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into,” Stephen said on Park City TV. “I thought it was just going to be pure pain, but it was really an enjoyable event.”

U.S. men’s Olympic skiers Bryan Fletcher, Torin Koos and Billy Demong were fifth, seventh and ninth, respectively, in the men’s standings. Demong, who in 2010 became the first U.S. Olympic Nordic combined champion, ran the 2014 New York City Marathon in 2:33:05.

The Red Bull 400 climb has been done in Europe, but this marked its U.S. debut.

The Park City ski jump is at an elevation of 6,870 feet, has a 36-degree incline at its steepest point and a total altitude gain of 528 feet, according to Red Bull.

MORE CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING: U.S. team makes ‘Uptown Funk’ video

Bode Miller nominated to U.S. Ski Team for 2015-16

Bode Miller
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While ski fans wait to see if Bode Miller retires, he at least left the door open to return next season by accepting a nomination to the U.S. Ski Team for 2015-16, according to The Associated Press.

The U.S. Ski Team announced its nominations for all of its teams next season Thursday.

Nominations: Alpine | Freeskiing | Freestyle | Nordic | Snowboarding

Miller, 37 and a six-time Olympic medalist, said after a World Championships crash in February (video here) that he was leaning toward retirement. He had surgery to repair a severed right hamstring tendon.

The other U.S. Alpine stars were all nominated to the team — Lindsey VonnMikaela ShiffrinJulia MancusoTed Ligety and Travis Ganong.

Of the other teams, two notable absences were women’s ski jumping pioneer Lindsey Van and 2010 Olympic Nordic combined champion Bill Demong.

Van, the 2007 World champion before women’s ski jumping was added to the Olympics for Sochi 2014, said on Instagram that the Sochi Winter Games were her last competition.

Demong expected to retire after his fifth Olympics in Sochi but continued last season, after running the New York City Marathon in 3 hours, 26 minutes.

Upcoming milestones for Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin

Caroline Wozniacki breaks 3:30 in New York Marathon

Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki
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NEW YORK — Caroline Wozniacki said she partied until 4 a.m. three days before her first marathon, didn’t run more than 13.1 miles in training and spent Saturday night eating popcorn with Serena Williams at a hockey game.

“I’ve done everything you’re not supposed to do before a marathon,” she joked.

Then she ran the New York City Marathon in 3 hours, 26 minutes, 33 seconds.

Wozniacki beat her goal and achieved a qualifying standard for the Boston Marathon on Sunday. She did so after missing breakfast before going to the start in Staten Island, though she grabbed two bagels in a tent.

Wozniacki said her goal when she signed up for the marathon, after boyfriend Rory McIlroy called off their planned November wedding, was to beat four hours. She felt so good in training, despite skipping a planned long run due to tennis commitments, that she hoped to beat 3:30.

“Somewhere in between 3:45 and 3:30 was my goal,” she said after finishing Sunday afternoon. “I’m really proud.”

Wozniacki met her good friend Williams at the finish in Central Park. They embraced two months after Williams swept Wozniacki in the U.S. Open final in Queens.

“I thought I was gonna die,” Wozniacki said shortly after she completed 26.2 miles.

That was a drastic change from early in the race, when she was ripping off sub-8-minute miles. About nine miles in, Wozniacki told the two pacers running with her that she wanted to run another marathon.

She changed her tune as she went through the five boroughs, hitting a wall around the 20-mile mark.

“I’m never running another marathon again,” Wozniacki thought with six miles to go.

Wozniacki said she won’t run Boston next year, despite the qualifying time, but she wants to run another marathon “at some point.”

“I’m going to look back on this experience and say that this was awesome and want to do it again,” she said.

Wozniacki’s splits slowed to 8:20, 8:42 and 8:27 in miles 24, 25 and 26 before she finished shortly around 1:10 p.m. in Central Park. Her time easily beat the Boston Marathon qualifying standard of 3:35 for her age group.

She raised more than $80,000 for her charity, Team for Kids, which supports youth fitness programs. Olympic tennis champions Andy Murray and Williams were among the contributors.

Other tennis players have run the New York City Marathon, but the notables did so after they retired. Wozniacki, 24, is in the middle of her career and finished a tournament in Singapore the previous weekend.

Wozniacki beat three retired tennis professionals’ New York City Marathon times from 2010.

Former world No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo completed the race in 3:40:20. Former French Open champion Yannick Noah did it in 4:01:38, followed by Justin Gimelstob in 4:09:58.

Mauresmo also ran the 2012 Paris Marathon in a reported 3:16:49. Japan’s Kimiko Date-Krumm ran the 2004 London Marathon in 3:27.

Wozniacki, ranked eighth on the WTA Tour, resumes competitive tennis in Australia this winter. Until then, she’ll take an earned break.

“I deserve to put my feet up a little bit,” she said.

Also Sunday, another Olympian, 2010 U.S. Olympic Nordic combined champion Bill Demong, finished the New York Marathon in an unofficial 2:33:05.

Demong notably beat fellow U.S. Winter Olympic champ Apolo Ohno‘s time of 3:25:14 from 2011.

Kipsang wins men’s race; Meb fourth | Women’s race ties closest ever | McFadden makes history