February 19, 2013

    Photo: mikiane/Flickr

Couple Killed Cycling Around the World

Hit by a car in Thailand

Peter Root and Mary Thompson, a British couple attempting to cycle around the world, were struck and killed by a pickup truck in Bangkok, Thailand, last week, according to local police. The pair left Great Britain in July 2011, traveling through Europe, the Middle East, and much of Asia.

The truck’s driver has been released on bail, but he faces up to 10 years in prison on charges of causing death by dangerous driving.

Thai Police Lt. Col. Supachai Luangsukcharoen said Monday that investigators found their bodies, their bicycles, and their belongings scattered along a roadside, along with a pickup truck that crashed between some trees.

Supachai said the truck driver, 25-year-old Worapong Sangkhawat, was seriously injured in the crash. He told police his truck hit the cyclists as he was reaching down to pick up a cap from the vehicle's floor, Supachai said.

Root and Thompson had been documenting the trip at their site Two on Four Wheels.

"They were both inspirational," said Peter’s father, Jerry Root. "They didn't just talk about it, they did it. I couldn't be prouder of them."

Via CBS News

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    Photo: Will Clayton/Flickr

Pistorius Denies Murder Charges in Court

Reports of possible steroid use

Facing a charge of premeditated murder and a mandatory life sentence if convicted, double amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius said in a courtroom on Tuesday that he did not intend to shoot his girlfriend when he opened fire on his bathroom door, according to The New York Times.

The prosectuor, Gerrie Nel, said that Pistorius rose from his bed, walked to his bathroom door, and shot four bullets through it with the intention of hitting his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius offered a different version of events, the Times reported.

Mr. Pistorius said he heard a noise from the bathroom and walked on his stumps, not prosthetic legs. He was nervous, he said, because the toilet window did not have burglar bars and contractors who had been working there had left ladders.

The room was dark, he said, and he did not realize that Ms. Steenkamp was not in bed. He felt vulnerable and fearful without his prosthetics and opened fire at the door, he said, then broke it down with a cricket back to discover Ms. Steenkamp.

In a report this past weekend, South Africa's City Press reported that a bloodied cricket bat was found at Pistorius' house and police were investigating whether the equipment was used against Steenkamp. Reports also surfaced that police requested Pistorius' blood be tested for drugs and that steroids had been found in the athlete's bedroom.

Magistrate Desmond Nair adjourned Tuesday's case until Wednesday, without ruling on whether Pistorius would be granted bail. Pistorius has not yet entered a plea.

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    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Man Rescued in Outback After Desert Crash

Scrawled SOS in the sand

A 20-year-old Australian man has been rescued after spending 33 hours crawling through the desert. He was the only survivor of a car crash that killed his 19-year-old friend.

Police say both men, who have yet to be identified, were employed as cattle workers near the remote Queensland town of Winton. They had driven into town to go to the local bar and were on their way home when they crashed. The younger of the two, who had been driving, died at the scene.

The lone survivor set out on foot, scrawling SOS messages in the sand as he went. He was found 33 hours later by the crew of a private helicopter, face down in a small pool of water roughly 10 miles from the crash site.

Police officials in Winton said the man was “lucky to be alive.” He was taken to Winton Hospital where he was treated for dehydration and facial injuries.

Via Daily Mail

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Pictures of success: Tedy Ligety and Lindsay Vonn hold their trophies in 2011.     Photo: U.S. Ski Team/Flickr

U.S. Skiing Dominates World Cup

Ligety and Shiffrin make history

The 2013 FIS Alpine Ski World Cup has been full of surprises for U.S. Skiing, ranging from devastating injuries earlier this month to medal domination late last week. At the weekend's close, the U.S. team was the first non-European nation to come away with the most golds at Worlds.

On Friday, Ted Ligety zoomed down the slopes and into the halls of skiing legend after becoming the first man in 45 years to win three world titles. Ligety won the super-G and then took an unexpected gold in the super-combined, which he had not won since the Torino Olympics in 2006. All eyes waited to see if Ligety could take gold and glory on Friday when he competed in his best event: giant slalom.

Ligety didn't stumble. He finished almost a second ahead of his closest competition, Marcel Hirscher, tying a record that han't been touched since 1968.

"No one has done this in the modern era because of the development of the World Cup," said U.S. Ski Team head men's coach Sasha Rearick. "You have tremendous athletes, programs, national teams, and company support pushing at a very high level. Over the last 30 years, specialists have developed in multiple events, so to be able to win in three events has been impossible. When you think of the greats like Lasse Kjus, Kjetil Aamodt, and Hermann Maier, they haven't done it. It's amazing, an absolutely amazing achievement for Ted."

Adding to American miracles, Mikaela Shiffrin of Vail, Colorado, became one of the youngest female  champions in the world on Saturday after winning gold in the slalom. (To put this in perspective, Lindsey Vonn didn't medal until she was 22, and didn't win gold until she was 24.) Shiffrin won three of seven world cups slalom races this year; no other female skier has won more than one.

Julia Mancuso brought home a fifth medal for the U.S. team earlier this month with a bronze in the super-G, also bringing her personal medal count to five.

Perhaps the most incredible piece of the story is that the team's stars, Lindsay Vonn and Bode Miller, who hold six world titles between them, dropped out due to injuries. With Vonn and Miller on the mend, the U.S. Ski team promises to be a formidable powerhouse in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Check out our feature on Mikaela Shiffrin and her photo gallery. More on how Ted Ligety bounced back from major injury can be read here.

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