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Meet 19-year-old freeski star Hunter Henderson

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The American talks about being a TEDx speaker at 13 and visualising success.

American teenager Hunter Henderson has broken through into the global freeskiing scene the last few years on the back of a fun sibling rivalry and stunning tricks in competition. Here is all you need to know:

Hunter Henderson: What we learned – the headlines

– Born: 28/12/02, Durham, New Hampshire

– Started skiing aged two and was a brave skier for as long as he remembers (breaking his harness to ski away from his parents). He then became a star of the junior ranks.

– Stepped up to the senior ranks in 2019 and joined the US team.

– Became the first skier to land a 1600-degree double cork spin in all four take-off directions while on a US training camp.

– Won the FIS NorAM US Revolution Tour in 2020, the step below the World Cup, including both big air and slopestyle events in Calgary.

Hunter loves pushing the boundaries of his sport and has his sights set on new tricks for 2022

“There’s been this trick that I really wanted to do, but haven’t felt super confident in. I worked on it for three hours straight on an airbag and got it to how I wanted to do it on snow. That’s a forward dub bio 14 and 16 with a lead tail grab. That has not been done before, so I’m definitely excited to unleash that to the world. Also, at the Red Bull Performance Centre earlier this year I was working on switch cork double 18s with a lead double toe grab and those were going super well. People haven’t seen it – only my close friends – so I think that will be a pretty big trick of mine this winter.”

He puts the huge development in new tricks over the last decade down to… airbags

“With all the preparation we have these days with airbags and all the other resources available – it’s still nerve-wracking – but I feel prepared to do a new trick when I’m up there as opposed to just five, 10 years ago. Even for me when I was growing up trying new tricks I’d never have done them before trying them on snow. I’m pretty grateful for the resources now because it’s pretty gnarly.”

The past year has been the toughest he has known since injuring his knee

“It was definitely the toughest year of my life… easily. I’ve been skiing every single winter since I was two so, when something like that is taken out of your life, it’s a little crazy. It’s like a big shock, it feels like a missing piece. I was lucky to have a support team around me with the US ski team and Red Bull obviously, and family and friends. That was very helpful.”

A keen sportsman growing up, he played lacrosse until recently, even doing it against the advice of the US ski team on his return from injury

“Last season, I started playing lacrosse cautiously nine months after my injury. It was a little bit risky to be playing but I took the difficult decision to play it safe rather than never play lacrosse at all. The US ski team wasn’t that happy with my decision but it turned out fine. They said we’d advise against it but I ended up playing and, with Covid, our season got cut short but I got to play a few games.”

His sister Grace is older than him and also in the US ski team. The pair are really tight

“There are times in our careers we’re riding each other’s coattails. When I was younger, she hit the competition hard and was doing super well and got into the US ski team and getting articles in the paper. Then there are other times when I’ve been shining a little bit. There are also times we’ve been successful together and that’s some of my best memories. Calgary in February 2020 we were on the podium together, and won the contest together so that’s pretty cool.”

Has been working on mental strength and psychology since the age of 14, and loves to visualise his runs on the start ramp

“When I’m next up on the start gate, I’m going through my run in my head super intensely visualising it, sometimes a little movement so it looks like I’m dancing with my eyes closed. And then I drop in. When I visualise that last time, I can feel everything, feel myself hitting the rails, feeling the wind hitting my face.”

He wants to dominate his sport in the style of Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan

“I want to be dominant. Studying other athletes, two of my favourite athletes are Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan – the way they perfected dominance in their sport is super interesting to me. Just to consistently be at that high level for quite a long time is something that I strive for.”

He did a TED Talk as a 13-year-old on aspiring to do what it takes to become an elite freeskiing competitor.

“For a long time, I was like, ‘No I can’t do that, stand up on stage and talk in front of people for that long. My parents were like, ‘It’ll be a good idea, a once in a lifetime opportunity. I eventually did it and I’m so glad that I did because for the rest of my life I’m a TEDx speaker.”

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Bombers extend Most Outstanding Defensive Player Bighill – TSN

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Adam Bighill is staying in Winnipeg.

The Blue Bombers announced Thursday the reigning CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player has signed a one-year contract extension with the team. 

Bighill has spent the past three seasons with the Blue Bombers, helping the team back-to-back Grey Cups.

A veteran of nine CFL seasons, Bighill has played in 146 games in his CFL career and ranks eighth in league history all-time in total tackles.

The three-time CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player had 70 tackles and added two quarterback sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries last season. He was named a CFL All-Star for the sixth time in his career.

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Denis Shapovalov Australian Open third round Reilly Opelka – TSN

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Denis Shapovalov needed three hours and 23 minutes to take down Serbia’s Laslo Djere in the first round of the Australian Open on Monday, working through a handful of unforced errors and a fourth-set tiebreak.

It was a cakewalk compared to his second-round matchup.

The Richmond Hill, Ont., native went the distance with Kwon Soon-woo, needing five sets and nearly four and a half hours to dispatch of the 54th-ranked South Korean. Shapovalov lost back-to-back tiebreaks in the second and third sets but battled back to take the final two and avoid an early exit.

Watch his third-round matchup LIVE on TSN4, TSN.ca, the TSN App and TSN Direct at approximately 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT Thursday night.

“It was tough to bounce back every time. In the second set I had a set point on his serve and then the third set I had a couple of set points. I felt I was doing everything the right way, it just wasn’t going my way,” Shapovalov told TSN’s Mark Roe after the win.

“It’s definitely not easy but it’s the case sometimes. I’m just happy to be alive and have an opportunity to play in the third round. I’m pretty young so I’m sure I’ll be alright; I’ve had this before.”

Now it’s on to the third round for Shapovalov where he gets his toughest test of the tournament yet in No. 23 seed American Reilly Opelka.

Opelka has had a much easier road to Round 3, scoring straight-sets victories over Kevin Anderson in the first round and Dominik Koepfer in the second. Standing at 6-foot-11, the big-serving American isn’t much for rallies, combining for 41 aces in his first two matches in Melbourne.

“I think it’s more about recovery to be honest. I mean, Reilly’s game is pretty straightforward. He goes for his serves, he’s going for his ground strokes off the back as well so it’s going to be kind of like a guessing game a little bit on the returns and hopefully, I can take care of business on my serve and hopefully I’m getting good looks, but I’ve just got to stay patient against him,” Shapovalov said.

The 22-year-old comes into the year’s first Grand Slam with some momentum having won the men’s ATP Cup earlier this month in Sydney alongside Canadian teammates Felix Auger-Aliassime, Brayden Schnur and Steven Diez.

Fatigue from a recent bout of COVID-19 forced Shapovalov to sit out the start of the tournament but he said earlier this week he was back to feeling 100 per cent.

“Towards the end of the [ATP Cup] I got really comfortable, and the body felt good again, so that was a good sign. And, of course, leading up to this tournament I had little aches and pains, so I wasn’t practising too much but I’m really happy after the two matches that the body is feeling good and it’s definitely a good sign.”

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Sheldon Keefe calls Leafs 'soft and purposeless' after Rangers collapse – Yahoo Canada Sports

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Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe finally blew a gasket after his team squandered a 3-1 lead for the fourth time in its last five games. (Getty)

Tell me if you’ve heard this before: The Toronto Maple Leafs have a multi-goal lead but their opponents come back to win the game.

Wednesday’s tilt against the New York Rangers played out exactly like that, with the Leafs having a 3-1 lead at the first intermission, and the hometown Rags storming back to earn a 6-3 victory with five consecutive goals.

Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe called out his team’s effort during his post-game availability, specifically citing the defensive side of their performance.

“Today, I just thought we played soft, and we made poor decisions defensively,” Keefe said

“We couldn’t sort anything out. It was just far different. Each game has been different, so it’s hard to talk about patterns other than the obvious that we’ve been giving up leads. I just thought we got exposed today for being a team that was just soft, soft and purposeless, and just kind of playing the game and hoping it was going to work out.

“I didn’t think we had anybody that played well tonight. Coaches didn’t coach well tonight. So, today is a much different game than we’ve played in the others where we’ve given up leads and such. I just didn’t think we had nearly enough urgency or purpose.”

The Leafs were without two of their top four defenseman in Jake Muzzin (concussion) and Justin Holl (COVID protocol) in New York, but missing personnel is something that can be overcome. Keefe pondered if it was a larger-scale issue that keeps putting the Leafs in this position.

“We’ve had a lot of really good starts,” Keefe said. “Obviously it’s been the finish or the second half of games that haven’t gone well. …Maybe a fast start was working against us. We thought it would be easy the rest of the way. We paid for it.”

Toronto let three third-period leads get washed away by their opponents in the previous four games before Wednesday, making it more of a concerning trend than coincidental bad luck.

The Leafs will take another stab at trying to hold a multi-goal lead when they visit Islanders on Saturday.

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