Friday, April 20, 2018
Sports

Ligety captures last pre-Games race

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland — Ted Ligety of the United States put together two nearly flawless runs in difficult conditions to win a World Cup giant slalom on Sunday, the last men's race before the Sochi Olympics.

Ligety, a two-time world champion in the event, overcame poor visibility to finish a massive 1.51 seconds faster than Marcel Hirscher of Austria in combined time over two runs.

"It's so tough when you can't see anything, it makes it so much more tiring. I'm glad I was able to make it to the finish line," said Ligety, who posted the fastest time in both runs.

The convincing win boosted Ligety's Olympic hopes.

"It's nice to get in another good, race and I hope I can carry that confidence over the next two weeks," said Ligety, the 2006 Olympic gold medalist in the men's combined.

The Sochi Games begin Thursday, and the alpine competition gets started Feb. 9 with the men's downhill.

In Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, American teen Mikaela Shiffrin failed to hold on to her opening-run lead as Frida Hansdotter of Sweden earned her first World Cup victory after eight second-place finishes. Shiffrin, 18, a top medal hopeful in Sochi, wound up seventh, 0.72 seconds behind Hansdotter.

Hotel rush: It's almost impossible to pin down how many hotels will be finished ahead of the Games, with a construction rush still continuing.

IOC president Thomas Bach got a status update on accommodation from local organizers at an executive board meeting.

"There is a great confidence and great satisfaction with what we have seen here," Bach said. "Of course … always before the Games, we have some issues to be addressed."

The accommodation situation for nonathletes threatened to become a major embarrassment for organizers when some Olympic-accredited people were turned away in recent days from unfinished hotels or checked into unfinished rooms.

Organizers estimate that thousands of media will arrive in Sochi today. About 11,000 overall are expected to be covering Russia's first Winter Games. Spectators are expected to flood in later in the week.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams conceded there were hotels that weren't finished.

"That doesn't mean they're empty shells with no beds or whatever," he said, adding that 41,000 rooms were being provided for the Games and, of those, 20,000 were brand new.

National pride: Athletes from 88 countries are set to compete in Sochi, a record for the Winter Olympics. The record was 82 at the 2010 Vancouver Games. Among those competing in the Winter Games for the first time is Zimbabwe, represented by Alpine skier Luke Steyn. Togo and Morocco have also qualified. Three athletes from India will compete as "independent participants" because their national Olympic committee remains suspended by the IOC pending election of new officials.

Hearing: The Court of Arbitration for Sport registered its first case of the Olympics. CAS said Austrian freestyle skier Daniela Bauer appealed to the sports court's ad hoc division to get added to the country's team. Bauer, who skis the halfpipe, says she has met qualifying requirements and that a place on the team was available for her but not awarded. CAS said it will hold a hearing today, and a decision is expected Tuesday.

. Fast facts

Sochi Olympics

What: 22nd Winter Games

Who: Athletes from about 85 countries

When: Friday through Feb. 23

Where: Sochi, Russia

Cost: Estimated at a record $50 billion

TV: NBC has U.S. rights and will provide more than 1,539 hours worth of coverage across six platforms.

Comments
Rays journal: Miller back from DL, KK surgery successful

Rays journal: Miller back from DL, KK surgery successful

ST. PETERSBURG — For a change, the physically snake-bitten Rays got some vigor, versatility and even a veteran presence back in their lineup  when INF Brad Miller was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list.To make room, they DFA'd INF/OF...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Really, it’s time to look ahead

Really, it’s time to look ahead

BRANDON — Three things that popped into my head as the Lightning and Devils get ready to play Game 5 this afternoon at Amalie Arena.1. I’m going to do something that a hockey team in the playoffs would never do, not in a million years.I’m going to ta...
Updated: 1 hour ago
LeBron James, Cavs show unity with coordinated suits

LeBron James, Cavs show unity with coordinated suits

The Cavaliers, with an assist from a New York-based designer, made their first big play Friday night just by entering the arena. As they paraded into Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis before Game 3 of their playoff series with the Pacers, the C...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

BRANDON – Devils top defenseman Sami Vatanen had not traveled to Tampa as of Friday afternoon, according to coach John Hynes, and his availability for Game 5 Saturday against the Lightning is in doubt.Hynes, however, did not rule out Vatan...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

TAMPA — Private developers would bear much of the cost of a new Rays stadium in Ybor City under a plan Hillsborough County officials are putting together.Developers would benefit by cashing in on commercial, retail and other construction around a ne...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Racing schedules for 2018-19 parimutuel seasons released

OLDSMAR — Eight is not enough at Tampa Bay Downs, at least when the thoroughbred racing facility on Race Track Road opens its 93rd season July 1.The final card of what will be the Downs' sixth annual two-day Summer Festival of Racing will featu...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rowdies prepared to press on without defender David Najem

Rowdies prepared to press on without defender David Najem

SAINT PETERSBURG — When describing the loss of defender David Najem, Rowdies head coach Stuart Campbell and the player who will replace Najem chose the same word.Gutted.That settled over the Rowdies last weekend, one that was bad enough based o...
Updated: 4 hours ago
NFL draft confessions: The Bucs set the trap, and I took the cheese on Johnny Manziel

NFL draft confessions: The Bucs set the trap, and I took the cheese on Johnny Manziel

TAMPA — The NFL draft is one big game of Liar's Poker. Deal me out.Even the guys with a seat at the table don't know when someone is bluffing.Bucs general manager Jason Licht knows that the team's No. 7 overall pick this year will be affected b...
Updated: 4 hours ago
For starters: Rays vs. Twins, 7:10 p.m.

For starters: Rays vs. Twins, 7:10 p.m.

Tonight's Rays lineup against the Twins. Brad Miller back in the lineup following his DL stint (left groin strain). First pitch at 7:10 p.m.LF Denard SpanDH C.J. CronRF Carlos Gomez1B Brad Miller3B Daniel Robertson2B Joey WendleC Wilson RamosCF Malle...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

BRANDON — Ryan McDonagh blocks shots. He competes for pucks in the corners and wins those battles. He moves the puck up ice well. He can join the rush. He can shoot from the blueline. He kills penalties."It was a great pickup by Steve (Yze...
Updated: 6 hours ago