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Canadian skier Jack Crawford gushes about a dream come true – The Globe and Mail

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James (Jack) Crawford of Team Canada competes on Feb. 10 at the men’s alpine combined downhill event in Yanqing, China, during the Beijing Winter Olympics.Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images


One guy had to borrow a pair of downhill skis from a teammate. Another guy hadn’t skied slalom – not even for kicks – in a year and a half. The last guy is a Canadian achieving his “childhood gream” (sic).

Meet your men’s alpine combined medalists.

The alpine combined is what it sounds like – downhill plus slalom equals a time. It is nobody’s main job. But since it represents an Olympic medal, it’s something everyone wants to try out every four years.

The Canadian is James (Jack) Crawford, a 24-year-old from that noted skiing hothouse, Toronto.

Crawford has been quietly (and now loudly) putting in one of Canada’s notable performances at these Games. He placed sixth in the super-G here and fourth in the downhill. That would already have been a breakout showing for this country. A star in the making.

But on Thursday, he put the two things together. He was in second place after the downhill portion.

“A little nervous,” Crawford said at that moment. “Hopefully, I can channel my inner slalom skier from back in the day.” Just like they teach it at the high-performance academy!

Crawford was seventh in the slalom, which combined to give him a shock bronze. He is the second Canadian to win any sort of Olympic alpine medal this century.

Afterward, Crawford was stunned.

People use that word a lot to describe athletes just after they’ve done something incredible or awful. But few have ever come out so befuddled by a sudden, wonderful turn in his life than Crawford.

Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway, who won silver, and Johannes Ewald Strolz of Austria, who won gold, join Crawford on the podium.Christian Hartmann/Reuters

The other two skiers joining him at the big table already had varying levels of familiarity with the spotlight.

Austrian gold medalist Johannes Strolz is the son of Hubert Strolz, who won the alpine combined at the Calgary Games in 1988. As with his son, it was almost the only significant thing he ever won. The junior Strolz was cut from the Austrian team and nearly quit sport a year ago. During his time in the wilderness, he got a job as a policeman.

Strolz is a slalom specialist. He didn’t bring his own downhill skis to China. He had to borrow a pair from his teammate and three-time Olympic gold medalist Matthias Mayer.

“They were rockets,” Strolz said. Obviously.

The silver medalist was a suddenly very famous face from skiing. Norwegian Aleksander Aamodt Kilde already has one medal here in Beijing. But he is best known now as the boyfriend of American superstar, Mikaela Shiffrin.

According to Kilde, the last time he skied slalom was August, 2020. His knees hurt and he wasn’t even sure he would do the event before Thursday morning. He credited his slalom technique in part to watching videos of Shiffrin and mimicking her “cleverness.”

Crawford prepares to put on his bronze medal.Luca Bruno/The Associated Press

The interviews with the gold and silver medalists were extensive, multilingual and easygoing. By contrast, Crawford’s interview had the air of the cops showing up at your door to ask you a few questions.

When the official running the news conference lobbed up a softie in the neighbourhood of, “How does it feel?” Crawford stared at him for a bit, dazed. “Pretty good” was how he eventually started off. Which is pretty good.

Then it started to go wobbly. “Ah, it’s, ah, it’s been a long time, ah, grinding on, ah … oh God, I don’t know what to say. My brain’s kind of all over the place.”

Totally understandable. Crawford took a minute. He sucked in some air. “It’s always been a childhood gream aaaaahh ….” and here he suggested an act which ought not be done in public and can’t be printed in this newspaper. “Sorry. I’m nervous.”

Up until that point, all the Eurocentric, skiing-specific journalists in the room were busy ignoring Crawford, trying to hit their deadlines. Every head suddenly turned and the room burst into delighted laughter. Despite his best efforts, Kilde didn’t get that sort of laugh.

Crawford didn’t have much to add after that. He fled the podium. But his work was done. For the second time on Thursday, Jack Crawford had made himself a Canadian skiing legend.

How does Olympic alpine skiing work? A visual guide


ALPINE SKIING

BEIJING 2022

Qualification

Alpine skiing is one of the signature events at the Winter Olympics, with athletes flying down the mountain at breathtaking speeds. Olympic skiers can reach speeds of 128 km/h to 150 km/h as the crouching position allows racers to minimize air resistance. 

Men’s and women’s alpine skiing debuted at Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1936 with the alpine combined event comprising a downhill and a slalom run

All competitors must wear a crash helmet for the race

Racing suit

Shin guards

Skis with

ski brakes

Ski poles to guide turns, help skier maintain balance

COMPETITION FORMAT

Against-the-clock format, competitors attempt to cross the finish line in the fastest time

TECHNICAL EVENTS

Each skier completes two runs – not revealed until raceday – with no practice runs. The winner is the skier with the quickest combined times.

Giant slalom

Gate width

4m-6m

Gates

45-75

Gate width

4m-8m

Gates

28-68

Elevation/

vertical

drop

Gate

distance

0.75m-13m

Gate

distance

Min. 10m

Men

180-220

Men

300-450

Women

140-200

Women

300-400

ELEVATION DROP — IN METRES

SPEED EVENTS

Skiers make a single run, with the quickest time taking gold. Speeds reach 130 km/h to 160 km/h. Downhill practice runs are not only allowed but required

Gates delineate racing line

Gate width

6m-12m

Gates

28-45

Closed

gate

Gate

distance

Min. 25m

Gate

width

Min. 8m

Men

400-650

Men

800-1,100

Women

400-600

Women

450-800

ELEVATION DROP — IN METRES

OTHER EVENTS

Alpine combined

Consists of a downhill run followed by slalom

Competitors must complete a successful downhill run to advance to the slalom run

Mixed team parallel

Teams comprise two men and two women

Two teams compete simultaneously against each other in a parallel slalom race

SOURCE: REUTERS

ALPINE SKIING

BEIJING 2022

Qualification

Alpine skiing is one of the signature events at the Winter Olympics, with athletes flying down the mountain at breathtaking speeds. Olympic skiers can reach speeds of 128 km/h to 150 km/h as the crouching position allows racers to minimize air resistance. 

Men’s and women’s alpine skiing debuted at Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1936 with the alpine combined event comprising a downhill and a slalom run

All competitors must wear a crash helmet for the race

Racing suit

Shin guards

Skis with

ski brakes

Ski poles to guide turns, help skier maintain balance

COMPETITION FORMAT

Against-the-clock format, competitors attempt to cross the finish line in the fastest time

TECHNICAL EVENTS

Each skier completes two runs – not revealed until raceday – with no practice runs. The winner is the skier with the quickest combined times.

Giant slalom

Gate width

4m-6m

Gates

45-75

Gate width

4m-8m

Gates

28-68

Elevation/

vertical

drop

Gate

distance

0.75m-13m

Gate

distance

Min. 10m

Men

180-220

Women

140-200

Men

300-450

Women

300-400

ELEVATION DROP — IN METRES

SPEED EVENTS

Skiers make a single run, with the quickest time taking gold. Speeds reach 130 km/h to 160 km/h. Downhill practice runs are not only allowed but required

Gate width

6m-12m

Gates

28-45

Gates delineate racing line

Closed

gate

Gate

distance

Min. 25m

Gate

width

Min. 8m

Men

400-650

Men

800-1,100

Women

400-600

Women

450-800

ELEVATION DROP — IN METRES

OTHER EVENTS

Alpine combined

Consists of a downhill run followed by slalom

Competitors must complete a successful downhill run to advance to the slalom run

Mixed team parallel

Teams comprise two men and two women

Two teams compete simultaneously against each other in a parallel slalom race

SOURCE: REUTERS

ALPINE SKIING

BEIJING 2022

Qualification

Alpine skiing is one of the signature events at the Winter Olympics, with athletes flying down the mountain at breathtaking speeds. Olympic skiers can reach speeds of 128 km/h to 150 km/h as the crouching position allows racers to minimize air resistance. 

Men’s and women’s alpine skiing debuted at Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1936 with the alpine combined event comprising a downhill and a slalom run

Ski poles to guide turns,

help skier maintain

balance

All competitors must

wear a crash helmet

for the race

Racing

suit

Shin guards

Skis with ski brakes

COMPETITION FORMAT

Against-the-clock format, competitors attempt to cross the finish line in the fastest time

TECHNICAL EVENTS

Each skier completes two runs – not revealed until raceday – with no practice runs. The winner is the skier with the quickest combined times.

SPEED EVENTS

Skiers make a single run, with the quickest time taking gold. Speeds reach 130 km/h to 160 km/h. Downhill practice runs are not only allowed but required

Giant slalom

Gate width

6m-12m

Gates

28-45

Gate width

4m-6m

Gates

45-75

Gate width

4m-8m

Gates

28-68

Gates delineate racing line

Elevation/

vertical

drop

Closed

gate

Gate

distance

Min. 25m

Gate

width

Min. 8m

Gate

distance

0.75m-13m

Gate

distance

Min. 10m

Men

400-650

Men

800-1,100

Women

400-600

Women

450-800

Men

180-220

Women

140-200

Men

300-450

Women

300-400

ELEVATION DROP — IN METRES

ELEVATION DROP — IN METRES

OTHER EVENTS

Alpine combined

Mixed team parallel

Consists of a downhill run followed by slalom

Competitors must complete a successful downhill run to advance to the slalom run

Teams comprise two men and two women

Two teams compete simultaneously against each other in a parallel slalom race

SOURCE: REUTERS

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UK government approves US$5.33 billion sale of Chelsea to LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly

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London, United Kingdom (UK)- The UK government has formally approved the sale of Chelsea FC for US$5.33 billion to Todd Boehly, the co-owner of the LA Dodgers and Clearlake Capital, a Californian private equity firm.

As a result, this now brings Roman Abramovich’s 19-year ownership of Chelsea, in which the club has won 21 trophies including five Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues to an end.

“Late last night the UK government reached a position where we could issue a licence that permits the sale of Chelsea. Following the sanctioning of Roman Abramovich, the government has worked hard to ensure Chelsea has been able to continue to play football, but we have always been clear that the long-term future of the club could only be secured under a new owner.

Following extensive work, we are now satisfied that the full proceeds of the sale will not benefit Roman Abramovich or any other sanctioned individual. We will now begin the process of ensuring the proceeds of the sale are used for humanitarian causes in Ukraine, supporting victims of the war.

In addition, the steps today will secure the future of this important cultural asset and protect fans and the wider football community. We have been in discussions with relevant international partners for the necessary licences required and we thank them for all their cooperation,” read a statement from the government.

The UK government sanctioned Abramovich on March 10, 2022, due to suspected links with Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

This in turn led to several restrictions on the club such as the ability to buy or sell players and negotiate new contracts with players. However, due to the recent developments all of that is all about to change, a boost for Chelsea manager, Thomas Tuchel, as he prepares for the 2022/23 season after finishing third and qualifying for next year’s Champions League in the 2021/22 season.

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Blues' head coach Craig Berube addresses Nazem Kadri threats: 'It's not a good thing' – The Athletic

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St. Louis Blues head coach Craig Berube denounced social media threats made toward Colorado Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri Wednesday, days after the coach said he had ‘no comment‘ when he was first asked about them Monday.

“I’m not on social media. I was aware of a threat made to Nazem, not the racist stuff,” Berube told the media Wednesday. “In no way is it acceptable by the St. Louis Blues or anybody else for him to have to go through that. Being a Native American myself, I’ve heard it all, I’ve been around it.

“It’s not a good thing. So I just wanted to get that out there that there’s no room for it anywhere.”

Kadri was subjected to racist comments and threats on social media following a collision with Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington during Game 3 of the Blues-Avalanche second-round series. Following the game, Binnington threw a water bottle at Kadri as the Avs forward was being interviewed by TNT.

In Game 4, Kadri scored a hat-trick en route to a 6-3 Avalanche win over the Blues. Colorado can eliminate St. Louis Wednesday night in Game 5 with a victory.

(Top photo: Scott Rovak / NHLI via Getty Images)

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Instigator call the turning point in Rangers’ Game 4 win over Hurricanes – Sportsnet.ca

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Yep. They picked up right where they left off.

Game 3 between the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes ended with tensions high and there was some obvious carryover into Tuesday’s Game 4 at Madison Square Garden that saw the Blue Shirts even the series with a 4-1 victory.

Whistles were few and far in between during a frenetic first half of the opening period as both teams traded chances. The Rangers controlled much of the high-paced action and eventually began winning more puck battles than the Hurricanes.

Then the key turning point of Game 4 occurred.

Jacob Trouba absolutely walloped Max Domi near the penalty boxes with a hard hit at the 11:38 mark.

Steven Lorentz was in the vicinity when the open-ice hit was delivered. Instead of merely taking Trouba’s number, Lorentz immediately came to the defence of his teammate and dropped the mitts with Trouba in a rare playoff scrap.

Trouba unquestionably contacted Domi’s head, just as the Hurricanes’ forward’s feet were sliding out from beneath him mind you, yet the officials deemed it a clean hit.

The sequence resulted in an instigator call on Lorentz.

Carolina’s bench, plus head coach Rod Brind’Amour, were visibly upset when Trouba only received five for fighting.

Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant told the broadcast at the first intermission “it was a great hit” before adding “Domi had his head down a little bit.”

Domi, of course, was involved in the rough stuff at the end of that heated Game 3 over the weekend.

The instigator call certainly seemed to affect the Hurricanes on the penalty kill and the Rangers capitalized with Lorentz in his team’s locker room as part of the 2-5-10 he was assessed.

Carolina was relatively sloppy while a man down and a turnover in their own end led to a missed opportunity to clear the zone. That led to Adam Fox patiently making a cross-ice saucer pass to Andrew Copp who neatly slide the puck to Frank Vatrano and the winger beat Antti Raanta low glove to open the scoring.

Brind’Amour, while wanting his players to be more disciplined, was fairly subdued in his post-game comments. He did mention he thought Trouba should’ve been given a cross-checking minor for getting his stick up on Lorentz prior to the brief punch-up.

“We’re not out there to catch guys (with their heads down) or play stupid or anything like that,” Copp said of Trouba’s hit after the game. “We’re just trying to finish our checks when we’re there and play physical when we can and make smart decisions. At the end of the day, them taking the two minutes changed the course of the game. … It’s not headhunting at all. It’s a good hit and their response warranted a penalty.”

Copp added his second assist of the period moments later when Fox, who leapfrogged Cale Makar for the active post-season lead in points among blueliners, tipped in his fourth of the playoffs on a Ryan Lindgren shot.

Lindgren, who has been excellent for the Rangers since returning to the lineup, was named the second star thanks to his two-assist night. Copp and Vatrano, both acquired in March trades, were named first and third stars of the game, respectively.

While there’s plenty of blame to go around on the Carolina side of the equation, Raanta’s performance is not why the series is even as it shifts back to PNC Arena.

Raanta did allow four goals on 28 shots, sure, however he also made a handful of highlight-reel saves to keep his team in it.

Alexis Lafreniere and Artemi Panarin were both separately stopped by Raanta on breakaway backhand deke attempts and he flashed the leather on Chris Kreider, yet his best of the night was against Mika Zibanejad.

The bigger concern for Carolina continued to be the lacklustre power play. It was only 5-for-43 in the playoffs prior to Game 4 where the issues persisted.

Carolina didn’t have trouble entering the zone when a man up. It’s just they couldn’t do much beyond moving the puck around the perimeter once the zone was established.

Their first man advantage of Game 4 occurred midway through the second period although the best scoring chance and only shot on goal during that PP was generated by the Rangers.

Brind’Amour’s group couldn’t get anything going with Lafreniere in the box serving a goalie interference minor early in the final frame either and they finished the night 0-for-2.

The Hurricanes were down by three goals heading into the third period and to say putting three behind Ilya Shesterkin in a single period is a tall task would be an understatement.

The soon-to-be Vezina Trophy winner had his shutout bid ended by Teuvo Teravainen in the third but that’s all Carolina could muster.

Brind’Amour didn’t even bother pulling his goalie in the final few minutes with the score 4-1.

There was some more pushing and shoving at the final horn with Ryan Reeves giving Domi the business – which was likely more fallout from the Game 3 rough stuff – but nothing escalated further.

The Hurricanes are winless on the road this post-season but perfect at home so they’ll appreciate Game 5 is scheduled for Thursday in Raleigh, N.C.

This series is now officially a best-of-three.

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