Time 100 includes most Olympians in annual list’s history

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The Time 100 Most Influential list includes eight Olympians, the most ever in the annual list’s 19-year history. At least one Olympian made each edition dating to the first year in 2004.

Beijing Olympic gold medalists Nathan Chen and Eileen Gu were joined by soccer players Alex MorganMegan Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn, tennis players Rafael Nadal and Peng Shuai and basketball player Candace Parker.

Time 100 listees are based on factors including relevance, impact, innovation, leadership, ambition and success.

Chen and Gu were spotlight athletes in February, each earning gold at the Beijing Games. Chen became the first U.S. singles figure skater to take gold since 2010, four years after struggling as a favorite. Figure skaters Adam Rippon (2018) and Yuna Kim (2010) previously made the Time 100.

“That perseverance never wavered, even after his first Olympics didn’t go as he’d hoped,” two-time Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan wrote for Time. “He trained for another four years and showed the world just how fierce a competitor he is.”

Gu earned two golds and a bronze in freestyle skiing as the host nation’s biggest star. She competed while scrutinized for her decision to switch representation in 2019 from the U.S. to China, her mother’s birth nation.

“It’s hard for athletes — particularly Olympic athletes — to transcend their sport. Eileen Gu is an exception to that rule,” fellow Olympic freeskier Gus Kenworthy wrote for Time. “I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anybody more disciplined, driven, or determined than Eileen. And hard work pays off.”

Morgan, Rapinoe and Sauerbrunn have been longtime leaders for the U.S. women’s soccer team, winning Olympic and World Cup titles. Last week, after a yearslong battle, a historic victory was scored with the announcement of equal pay for the U.S. men’s and women’s national teams.

Nadal made the list for a second time — 13 years after his previous appearance — after winning a men’s record-breaking 21st major singles title at the Australian Open.

Peng, an Olympic tennis player in 2008, 2012 and 2016, made the list in the “Icons” category. Last November, she accused a former high-ranking Chinese government official of sexual assault in a Weibo post that was soon deleted.

Parker, a 36-year-old mom, won her second WNBA title last season and first with her hometown team, the Chicago Sky.

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Olympians and Paralympians on Time 100 lists, counting only athletes who had competed in the Games before being listed:

2022 — Nathan Chen, Eileen Gu, Alex Morgan, Rafael Nadal, Candace Parker, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, Peng Shuai
2021 — Simone Biles, Allyson Felix, Suni Lee, Naomi Osaka
2020 — Allyson Felix, Maya Moore, Megan Rapinoe, Dwyane Wade
2019 — LeBron James, Alex MorganMo Salah, Caster Semenya
2018 — Kevin DurantRoger FedererChloe KimAdam Rippon
2017 — Simone Biles, LeBron James, Neymar
2016 — Usain BoltCaitlyn JennerKatie LedeckySania MirzaRonda Rousey
2015 — Abby Wambach
2014 — Cristiano Ronaldo, Serena Williams
2013 — LeBron James, Li Na, Lindsey Vonn
2012 — Novak DjokovicLionel MessiOscar Pistorius
2011 — Lionel Messi
2010 — Yuna KimSerena Williams
2009 — Rafael Nadal
2008 — Andre Agassi, Lance Armstrong, Oscar Pistorius
2007 — Roger FedererChien Ming-Wang
2006 — Joey CheekSteve Nash
2005 — LeBron James
2004 — Lance Armstrong, Paula Radcliffe, Yao Ming
2000 (20th Century) — Muhammad Ali

X Games: Scotty James beats Ayumu Hirano’s triple cork for halfpipe title

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ASPEN, Colo. — Ayumu Hirano landed the triple cork. Scotty James rode away with the win.

The calculus on the halfpipe remained hazy as ever Friday night when James notched his fourth career victory at the Winter X Games even though he didn’t attempt snowboarding’s most-difficult trick.

The question heading into the Olympics is whether it’s even worth it.

Less than five weeks after becoming the first to do it in competition, Hirano again landed a triple-flipping jump on his first trick. But, as was the case the first time, Hirano could not land the next jump. Riders usually need to land at least five to complete a run, and nobody has yet made a triple cork part of a full run in competition.

It left Hirano, the two-time Olympic silver medalist, with a silver medal in Aspen, as well. And James, who took bronze in PyeongChang four years ago, earned another gold.

“The triple is so difficult,” Hirano said through a translator. “And then, it’s also tough to link the next trick.”

So far, James’ best has featured the switchback double cork 1260 — a daunting, near-blind trick that involves two head-over-heels flips after riding backward up the wall, then spinning toward the top of the pipe.

He executed it on his first three runs, and the judges placed him ahead of Hirano after the second run. (No scores are given at the X Games, and judges simply rank the riders based on the overall impression of their runs.) Hirano’s younger brother, Kaishu, finished third.

“Switch backside still has a lot of clout, which you still don’t see that much of,” James said. “And I think it played a key part for me tonight against Ayumu.”

After Hirano fell on his final run, James, who was last on the start list, simply went for straight airs on a victory lap. This was James’ first contest in America this season, and he has been playing it coy about the triple cork.

“I’ll leave it as a mystery,” he said.

The next chance to find out what, exactly, he’s been working on in a secret setting in Europe will come Feb. 11 in the halfpipe finals in the mountains outside Beijing.

Also in the mix there, but absent from Aspen, will be three-time Olympic champion Shaun White and last year’s Winter X champion, Yuto Totsuka. Totsuka crashed hard at the last Olympics but has been dominating this sport through most of the last 24 months.

Earlier, Jamie Anderson tied Mark McMorris‘ record with her 20th career X Games medal across all sites, a snowboard slopestyle silver behind New Zealand’s Zoi Sadowski-Synnott. (Anderson has more X Games Aspen medals than McMorris, though.)

Sadowski-Synnott, who has traded X Games titles with Anderson in this Olympic cycle, landed back-to-back double cork 1080s on Friday, according to the broadcast.

France’s Tess Ledeux won a women’s ski big air event that lacked fellow Olympic medal contenders Eileen Gu of China and Kelly Sildaru of Estonia. Ledeux became the first woman to land a double cork 1620 in competition, according to organizers. Ski big air makes its Olympic debut in Beijing.

Then Sildaru won the ski halfpipe for her 10th X Games medal before turning 20, landing back-to-back 900s. Americans Brita Sigourney and Hanna Faulhaber earned silver and bronze. The absent Gu remains the Olympic favorite.

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At Dew Tour, an all-American podium augurs another Winter Olympic medals sweep

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In 2014, the U.S. took all three medals in the Olympic debut of men’s ski slopestyle. Another sweep is looking possible in Beijing.

Colby StevensonAlex Hall and Nick Goepper made it an all-American podium at Friday’s Dew Tour in Copper Mountain, Colorado. Mac Forehand, the other American in the 10-skier final, was fourth for good measure.

Stevenson, who was one millimeter from brain damage in 2016 and qualified for his first Olympics earlier this week, won it on the last run of the contest, capped by a 1440.

He scored 96.25 points, passing Hall. Hall, who was 16th at the 2018 Olympics, would have clinched a spot on the Beijing team with a victory, but he’s still in great shape heading into the last Olympic selection event next month.

DEW TOUR: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Stevenson and Forehand became the first U.S. freeskiers to clinch Olympic selection criteria last week, thanks to their world rankings (second and third). All men who qualify in ski slopestyle can also compete in the new Olympic event of ski big air.

The team will be three or four men. Hall is likely to land the third and final objective spot. It’s expected that a fourth man will be taken via coaches’ discretion. Goepper, a two-time Olympic medalist, made his case Friday. His best finish in Olympic selection events coming into this week was 11th.

Goepper was part of another American slopestyle podium sweep at the 2014 Sochi Olympics — the third time the U.S. achieved the feat in any Winter Olympic event. The gold medalist from Russia, Joss Christensen, announced his retirement a year ago. The silver medalist, Gus Kenworthy, now competes for Great Britain.

Øystein Bråten, the 2018 Olympic champion, will not defend his title as he focuses on freeski filming, according to Norwegian media last spring.

If anybody can prevent a sweep in Beijing, it’s Swiss social media sensation Andri Ragettli. The man known for his floor-is-lava and other unusual training videos won the world championships last season and was not in the Dew Tour field.

Dew Tour continues Saturday and Sunday with snowboarding halfpipe and slopestyle finals, plus the men’s ski halfpipe final.

In Friday’s women’s ski halfpipe final, China’s Eileen Gu, an 18-year-old born in San Francisco to an American father and Chinese mother, won as she continues to look like a threat for three gold medals in Beijing (halfpipe, slopestyle, big air).

After Estonian Kelly Sildaru, 17-year-old American Hanna Faulhaber took third to boost her Olympic qualifying chances.

The U.S. Olympic ski halfpipe qualifying series runs through Jan. 7.

The top two Americans per gender in the world rankings on Jan. 6 make the Olympic team, should they also rank in the top six in the world. Currently, PyeongChang bronze medalist Brita Sigourney is the top American woman at No. 7.

To reach three skiers per gender, the top performers from the six qualifying events will be added, based on a skier’s single best podium result. After that, the teams can reach a maximum of four skiers per gender through discretionary selections.

Through three qualifying events, Sigourney and Faulhaber have a podium result (each with a third place).

Maddie Bowman, the 2014 Olympic champ, announced her retirement last year.

MORE: Athletes qualified for U.S. Olympic team

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