She's up. She's down. She's up again. The roller coaster ride that is
After injuring the arm during a giant slalom race in Lienz, Austria, Vonn essentially taped her hand to her left pole for support. With a splint on the arm, she missed a gate during a giant slalom run in Zagreb the previous weekend, temporarily losing her lead in the overall season standings.
So was it just a matter of confidence that drove Vonn last weekend? Maybe. Was the injury healing itself? Perhaps. It also helped that these were speed events. Although the downhills and Super-Gs are more potentially treacherous because of their higher acceleration, the slaloms and giant slaloms, the so-called technical events, are the races with the most abrupt turns over gradients that are not as steep. Skiers need to grip and push quickly in order to navigate those turns, many remarking after successful downhills that they simply "let their skis run." In other words, they skied so smoothly, they actually did as little as possible. Vonn will have a more telling test this week as the circuit returns to the technical races.
While insisting that she is "not unbeatable" in speed events, Vonn referred to her race in the Super-G as a "perfect run." She became the first U.S. skier ever to win World Cup races on three straight days and the first woman from any country to accomplish the feat since Germany's
So who is going to be the first member of the U.S. Nordic combined team to become an Olympic star? Coming off world championship gold medals last season,
Demong and Lodwick took first and second on the large hill event at Val di Fiamme, Italy, skiing and jumping themselves back into the medal picture. The race marked the first time in history that the U.S. took the first two places at a Nordic combined World Cup. Spillane, who was among the leaders early in the race, could have made it a sweep, but Lodwick accidentally stepped on his pole, effectively hampering his skiing, especially on the difficult inclines of the course. Both Demong and Lodwick had resolved to pace Spillane through most of the course, figuring that he would be the most likely skier to earn a U.S. victory. Instead he finished 22nd. The triumph was also Demong's first trip to the podium this season. He finished in 33 minutes, 49.9 seconds, 15.3 seconds ahead of his teammate.
Referring to his inconsistency this year as mysterious, Demong confessed after the race that he had been "scratching my head" over his struggles during the past few months. Wonder no more.
Look for more flying tomatoes in Vancouver. As expected,
Snowboarders are competing in a series of five events this winter to determine Olympic berths, and White's second victory on the halfpipe officially secured one of them, since places are determined by the top two results. White and other riders competed with printed notes attached to their bibs that read, "I ride for Kevin," in honor of teammate
Salt Lake gold medalist
The team also announced its roster for the Games in Vancouver. Joining Burke will be
USA Hockey officially named New Jersey's
NBC has confirmed that it expects losses of up to $200 million during the Vancouver Games, even though they expect ad sales to match those of previous winter Olympics. The announcement speaks to the financial realities facing the television industry, but it may also be strategic. NBC holds the rights to the Games in Vancouver and the 2012 Summer Games in London. The IOC is going to hold bidding for the next two Olympics, the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi and the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, sometime after the Vancouver Games finish. NBC is expected to face stiff competition from ABC/ESPN and perhaps a less aggressive bid from CBS for those rights. The word of modest expectations from the incumbent Olympic network may be enough to dampen IOC expectations and give the competition pause in evaluating the specifics of its bids.
Having twice fallen just short in its attempt to bring the first the first Winter Games to Korea, the city of Pyeongchang would seem well positioned in its bid to land the 2018 Olympics, running against two European cities: Munich, Germany and Annecy, France. While the Korean Olympic movement has been adept at playing the political game, it has also been on the edge of scandal. In 2004,
Now another scandal has emerged.