Charles Robinson

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Charles Robinson is an award-winning writer who has covered the NFL for newspapers in Michigan and Florida. He also has extensive experience reporting on college football. He graduated from Michigan State with a degree in journalism.

  • American Ted Ligety wins gold medal in giant slalom at Sochi Games

    Click the image for more photos of Ted Ligety winning gold in giant slalom. (AP Photo)

    KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – The United States' Alpine team has its first gold medal of the 2014 Winter Olympics thanks to Ted Ligety.

    Long recognized as one of the top skiers on the World Cup circuit, Ligety seized his second Olympic gold medal on Wednesday, dominating the giant slalom at the Sochi Games. Considered the world’s best in the event, Ligety wasted little time backing up that reputation, taking advantage of good course conditions. Weaving a noticeably tight line, he dropped the hammer in a nearly flawless first run with a time of 1:21.08. That gave him a strong .93 lead over the field heading into his second run, and he held on for the victory. France's Steve Missillier and Alexis Pinturalut won silver and bronze.

    Ligety came to a sliding stop after crossing the finish line and raised his arms in celebration.

    "I did what I needed to do to make it," said Ligety, who also won gold in the super combined at the 2006 Games in Turin. "I'm super happy with the outcome."

    [Related:

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  • Mikaela Shiffrin's Olympic debut shows best is yet to come for teen skier

    KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – This shouldn't have been an easily solvable hill for an 18-year-old. It should've been cold fusion. Rainy, crunchy, freezing-cold fusion.

    But as anyone who didn't already know discovered on Tuesday, Mikaela Shiffrin isn't the usual 18-year-old.

    In a race that defied anything typical about Alpine skiing, Shiffrin showcased in her Olympic debut why so many have come to believe in her so much. Competing in a giant slalom discipline that she is just now understanding, Shiffrin finished an impressive fifth, just missing the medal podium by .23 seconds. She did it by carving up a mountain that was a triple-layer cake of garbage – fat snowy fog on top, sheets of ice pebbles in the middle and a torrential downpour at the bottom.

    For the veteran field, it was an extreme environment. For an 18-year old in her first race, it should have been sheer terror. But Shiffrin shrugged it off as her first learning lesson on the big stage – something that will put her where she

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  • Julia Mancuso done skiing at Sochi Games but could return for 2018 Olympics

    KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – Julia Mancuso's Sochi Olympics concluded with Tuesday's giant slalom, but the United States may get one more Games out of her.

    The U.S. Alpine team's most decorated woman, Mancuso will turn 30 next month. And while the four-time medalist knows she's entering the stage of her career when most skiers wind down, she still sees a window of opportunity.

    [Related: Mikaela Shiffrin finishes fifth in Olympic debut]

    Julia Mancuso didn't finish her first run in the giant slalom. (AP)"Being here and kind of coming back from not a great season kind of put things in perspective for me about what skiing is about," said Mancuso, who leaves with a bronze medal in super-combined. "Coming into these Olympics, I really wanted a medal and I got a bronze. I for sure still want gold, and I think if I can continue skiing well, especially on the speed side, and get to a place where I can still be fighting for gold medals…"

    Mancuso didn't complete the thought, but the implication was clear: If she thinks she's still competitive when the 2018

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  • American Mikaela Shiffrin finishes fifth in giant slalom in Olympic debut

    KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – Mikaela Shiffrin gave the United States its first glimpse at the future of the women's Alpine program, and it was fairly impressive.

    Despite skiing in brutal conditions in the giant slalom on Tuesday, the 18-year-old Shiffrin ended the day in fifth place – respectable for her first-ever Olympic event. The United States ultimately failed to hit the podium in the event, which was pummeled with rain and low visibility from the early going. After Shiffrin put up a solid fifth-place in her first run, Julia Mancuso failed to finish and was done for the day. Americans Resi Stiegler and Megan McJames finished 29th and 30th, respectively.

    Slovenia's Tina Maze won her second gold medal of the Sochi Games, finishing with a combined time of 2:36.87. Austria's Anna Fenninger, who won gold in the super-G, took silver and Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg won bronze.

    Shiffrin was remarkably composed in the trying environment, holding a tight line for much of the course and

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  • Andrew Weibrecht delivers stunning silver-medal run in super G

    KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – Before the Olympic medals, many people knew the video long before they knew Andrew Weibrecht.

    When the video made the rounds in the skiing community, audiences were glued to a then-21-year-old Weibrecht plunging down a daunting Birds of Prey downhill course in Beaver Creek, Colo. It was two styles intersecting – fast and focused, insane and out of control. This wasn't skiing so much as picking a fight with physics.

    Weibrecht's body twisted. His poles flailed. He came off one jump wobbling, then finished on one ski. But he was blazing, too. When it was over, Weibrecht had exploded from his 53rd position in the starting order to a 10th-place finish. And at the bottom of the run, the crowd came unhinged.

    "He's built like a wombat," one coach said to Sasha Rearick, the head of U.S. men's skiing. It would be the first of many nicknames, and the first of many insane races for Weibrecht. And eventually, the first seeds of a barreling style that delivered him two

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  • Why Bode Miller was so emotional after making history as oldest Olympic Alpine medalist

    KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – Bode Miller has spent the balance of his career brushing off numbers. Wins, losses, podiums, seconds … he has strived to keep such digits from defining him.

    But age, even on fast skis – perhaps especially on fast skis – is inescapable.

    Now the clock is catching up to Miller, and he's beating it back with numbers he has historically shunned. A few hundredths of a second here, one more podium there, and Miller made history on Sunday in the Sochi Games. At 36 years and 127 days, he became the oldest Alpine medalist in Olympic history, winning bronze in the super-G. That surpassed Kjetil André Aamodt, an all-time Alpine great who won super-G gold at the 2006 Turin Games at 34 years and 170 days.

    So now Miller's name is forever linked with Aamodt, whom he grew up watching and whose total medal count of eight is the only one that surpasses Miller in Alpine. And Miller hears that he trails only speedskater Apolo Ohno's eight total medals on the United States'

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  • American skiers Andrew Weibrecht, Bode Miller take silver, bronze in super-G at Sochi Games

    KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – Hold the phone on the withering results of the U.S. men's Alpine team at the Sochi Games.

    After finishing the downhill and super combined without a medal, the Americans rebounded in a big way in the super-G, with a silver from Andrew Weibrecht and bronze from Bode Miller. Weibrecht's thundering finish and silver medal was somewhat of a stunner, despite him being a bronze medalist in the event in the 2010 Vancouver Games. He finished .30 second behind a flawless gold medal run by Norway's Kjetil Jansrud. Miller tied for bronze with Canada's Jan Hudec, both coming in .53 off the lead.

    Miller, 36, became the first U.S. skier to medal in three different Winter Games and the oldest Alpine skier to win an Olympic medal.

    Miller held the top spot from his starting position of 13th, until Jansrud had a near-perfect ski eight spots later to take over gold position, and Hudec tied Miller one spot later. But it was Weibrecht who unexpectedly electrified the crowd,

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  • Olympians question course conditions after record 18 skiers fail to finish women's super-G

    KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – One skier missed a turn. Others fell. A handful went sideways. Even the downhill gold medalist from these Olympic Games spun out. And like the climate seemingly every day in Sochi, the havoc in the women's super-G was just heating up.

    Rosa Khutor's slushy mountain ultimately claimed 18 skiers who failed to finish the event Saturday – an Olympic record worst, breaking the mark of 15 set on a much-maligned run in the 2010 Vancouver Games. The conditions creating the debacle varied, from a course that featured a final pitch requiring direction into a turn, to the unreliable surface conditions that have come to mar much of the skiing in Sochi.

    Austria's coaches set the course, and it was notable that two of their top skiers – Anna Fenninger and Nicole Hosp, took gold and bronze in the event. Another Austrian skier, Elisabeth Goergl, failed to finish. Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch seized silver, while the United States missed the podium in the event.

    [Photos: U.S.

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  • Mayhem at women's super-G course: Seven of first eight skiers fail to finish; U.S. doesn't medal

    Click the image for more pictures of Julia Mancuso and of skiers who couldn't finish the super-G course. (Getty Images)

    KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – In a stunning start to the women's super-G, seven of the first eight skiers – including six in a row – failed to finish the event at the Sochi Games.

    The United States' Leanne Smith pushed off second in the starting order after watching Spain's Carolina Ruiz Castillo miss a gate and fail to finish. But Smith became notable in that she actually completed the course, as the next six skiers all either fell or missed gates. Sochi downhill gold medalist Dominique Gisin from Switzerland also failed to finish after starting from the 11th position.

    As one skier after another spun off the course, others later in the order huddled around a monitor in the starting area, trying to understand where the mistakes were being made. Others who had failed to finish began sending information back up the mountain to teammates, laying out all the trouble areas. That helped the field catch up as the event carried on. Eighteen of 49 skiers ultimately didn't finish their runs, while

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  • Silver medalist's father designed super-combined ski course, and why that's accepted practice

    KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – For all elite skiers, there are days when it feels as if a mountain racecourse was arranged just for you. And in the Sochi Olympics, there are days when your father actually does arrange the racecourse for you.

    Meet Croatian skier Ivica Kostelic, who won the silver medal in the super-combined on Friday, finishing on a slalom course that was designed earlier this week by his father – Croatian coach Ante Kostelic.

    Admittedly, it sounds scandalous – a father positioning racing gates on an Olympic course that will be used by his son. But it's an accepted tradition in the sport, where coaches are chosen via lottery to design a slalom course. The rules are simple: If a coach has a skier in the top 15 of an event, he can be entered into the lottery to choose who designs the course. The Americans could win the honor. The Russians could win. And as we saw on Friday, the Croatians could win, too … a decided advantage when Ivica, who has three Olympic silvers in

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