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scoring two runs or less seven
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CALGARY -- John Kuceras career was shorter than he wanted but he leaves alpine ski racing knowing he achieved two firsts for Canada. The first Canadian man to win a world downhill championship and the Canadian skier to stand atop the World Cup podium in Lake Louise, Alta., announced his retirement from ski racing Thursday. Kucera won the mens downhill title in Val-dIsere, France, in 2009. He earned three career World Cup medals in super-G, including gold in Lake Louise in 2006. "Im just really proud I managed to take a very short career and do big things with it," the 29-year-old Calgarian said at Alpine Canadas headquarters in his hometown. "It was a great ride. It really was. "I did some things in this country that I was the first to do and Im really proud of that." Kuceras first four years on the national team were successful and promising. But a broken leg followed by a frustrating inner ear condition sidelined him for four of the last five seasons and also kept him from competing in two Winter Olympics. Vestibular neuritis -- an inner ear condition causing dizziness and nausea -- struck during a training camp in Chile last September and made it impossible to race through gates at 130 kilometres per hour. Kucera wasnt able to get back on skis to race at the Winter Games in Sochi in February. The symptoms still linger and the uncertainty over how long theyll remain, combined with an opportunity to join the coaching staff of the national development team, steered Kucera towards retirement. "Truth be told, Im not 100 per cent yet," he said. "I think my body just told me it was time to start doing something else. "This vestibular neuritis is tough because there is no time line. I could be good by July, but I could be good by next July and really, nobody can give me that answer. Who wouldve thought the thing that would have finally took me out was waking up dizzy one morning?" Super giant slalom, or super-G, is shorter than downhill but there are more gates on the course. The discipline requires a combination of speed and technical ability. At five foot nine and 185 pounds, Kucera wasnt as beefy as the top downhill racers early in his career, so he excelled in super-G. But on Feb. 7, 2009, he bested such heavyweights as Hermann Maier of Austria, Didier Cuche of Switzerland, Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway and American Bode Miller to win on Val-dIseres difficult slope. "Val-dIsere was a course that obviously played into a lot of my strengths, very technical, very steep," Kucera recalled. "That being said, I felt like every year I was becoming a better and better downhiller. "I just hit the right track, the right conditions and the right time of my career to become a champion there." Kucera was the first Canadian to win in 26 years of World Cup racing at Lake Louise when he captured super-G gold in 2006. He drew the No. 1 start bib, so after crossing the finish line, the 22-year-old stood nervously in front of television cameras watching as skier after skier came down the mountain. "I remember being really cold. I think it was -35 C that day," Kucera said. "Coming down, having that great run, freezing, watching a lot of the people I looked up to growing up and me beating them, it was pretty exciting." Kucera dedicated that victory to his former coach and friend, Jason Lapierre, who was hit by a car while biking and died earlier that year. Kuceras successes coincided with those of teammates Erik Guay, Manny Osborne-Paradis and Jan Hudec. The "Canadian Cowboys" have given the national mens downhill team depth it hasnt had since Steve Podborski and Ken Read headlined the "Crazy Canucks" of the 1980s. Guay won the mens downhill title again for Canada in 2011, while Hudec took silver in 2007. Guay passed Podborski as Canadas most decorated World Cup racer with 22 career medals. Guay also won the overall super-G title in 2010. Osborne-Paradis collected nine World Cup medals, including three gold, between 2006 and 2010. Hudec tied for third and won Olympic bronze in super-G in Sochi. "As a group, now with Jans medal at the Olympics, weve really done it all," Kucera said. "The only thing I guess you could say we havent done is we dont have an Olympic champion yet. "As a group, we pulled off some special things. Weve kind of superceded the Crazy Canuck era and did something great. Weve set the bar pretty high for the next group coming up, but I think thats where it needs to be." Kucera won two World Cup medals at Lake Louise -- he took silver there in 2008 -- but the mountain was disastrous for him in the first race of 2009-10. He badly broke his left leg in the super-G and erased his chance to race in Whistler, B.C., at the 2010 Winter Games. Rehabilitation and subsequent setbacks kept him off his race skis for the next three seasons. "Obviously the last four years hadnt gone exactly gone the way I would have liked them to, but that being said, I felt the time was right to step away now," Kucera said. "Ive had a good run as an athlete. "Im walking away relatively healthy. Thats a good thing. Im excited and passionate about the next group, the guys Im going to be working with because Im going to be working with a pretty exciting group of 17- to 19-year-olds." Kuceras parents, Jan and Zdena, emigrated to Canada from the former Czechoslovakia in the early 1980s before John was born. Jan worked with the ski patrol at nearby Nakiska. John and his brother James began skiing at an early age. Jalen Reeves-Maybin Jersey . 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The most significant deals will get the full Numbers Game column treatment, like these:Briere-for-Parenteau trade. CINCINNATI, Ohio -- Mike Leake wasnt about to let this 8-0 lead get away. Jay Bruces homer helped the Reds get ahead by eight runs for the second day in a row, and Leake made this big lead stand up, pitching eight innings on Saturday for an 11-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. A day earlier, the Blue Jays pulled off the second-biggest comeback in their history. Down 8-0 after the second inning, they rallied to a 14-9 victory behind a pair of homers from Edwin Encarnacion. With their bullpen depleted, the Reds needed a solid effort from Leake (5-6), who went eight innings for the first time since May 13. "I already knew that we needed something, but its not like you can do it on command," Leake said. "My focus today was getting strike out within the first two pitches and going after them." The Reds got ahead 8-0 after four innings on Saturday against J.A. Happ (6-4), and the Blue Jays didnt have another big comeback in them. Leake had a lot to do with it, allowing the Blue Jays only four hits, including Colby Rasmus homer. "That was a character game," manager Bryan Price said. "We needed to show up and get yesterday out of our minds. One thing this team has shown all year is that it doesnt get down on itself." The Blue Jays are 9-5 all-time against the Reds, having won their four previous interleague series. Cincinnatis offence has languished near the bottom of the majors for much of the season, with Bruce and Joey Votto spending time on the disabled list. Both are back, and the Reds are starting to hit. Theyve scored at least nine runs in four of their last six games. Devin Mesoraco added a three-run homer in the seventh, his third homer in three games, as the Reds pulled away and quickly forgot about their Friday night meltdown. "Dusty (Baker) always said, Momentum is only as good as the next days starting pitcher," Mesoraco said. "Leake went out and gave us what we needed, and we were able to put some runs on the board." Happ made it easy for the Reds in the first inning, walking three batterss with two outs.dddddddddddd Ryan Ludwick drove in two runs with a single, and another scored on Erik Kratzs passed ball. Bruces homer in the third inning gave him 47 homers off left-handers over the last five seasons, the most by any player in the majors. Bruce scored three times overall. The Reds made it 8-0 in a fourth inning highlighted by RBI doubles from Votto and Brandon Phillips. Leake singled and scored during the rally. Happ lasted only four innings and give up seven hits, eight runs and four walks. It was his shortest start of the season. The four walks matched his season high. It was the most runs hed allowed since July 13, 2012 against the Giants. "He didnt have it today," manager John Gibbons said. "We never really had a chance. It was another big deficit to overcome. It was a little disappointing after last night, but theres nothing we can do about it now." Billy Hamilton singled home a run, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games. He also stole his 31st base, the most by a Reds rookie since Chris Sabo stole 46 in 1988. After their four-homer, 16-hit splurge in the series opener, the Blue Jays went back into their hitting funk. The AL East leaders have lost 10 of their last 14 games, scoring two runs or less seven times during that span. NOTES: Johnny Cueto, who leads the NL with a 1.92 ERA, goes in the final game of the series against R.A. Dickey, who got two extra days of rest after his last start because of a sore groin. ... Both teams bolstered their bullpens before the game. The Blue Jays called up LHP Rob Rasmussen and optioned RHP Liam Hendriks. The Reds called up RHP Carlos Contreras and designed OF Roger Bernadina for assignment. Both got into the game. ... SS Jose Reyes fouled a pitch off the side of his left knee in the fifth inning but stayed in the game and popped out. He was replaced as part of a double switch in the bottom of the inning. ... The Reds had their fourth sellout of the season. Theyre 1-3 in front of sellout crowds at Great American Ball Park this season. Jerseys NFL China Cheap Adidas NHL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys From China Cheap MLB Jerseys Wholesale China Jerseys NFL Jerseys China Discount Soccer Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys China China NCAA Jerseys Cheap Cheap Nike Dolphins Jerseys Cheap Nike Patriots Jerseys Cheap Nike Jets Jerseys Cheap Nike Bengals Jerseys Cheap Nike Browns Jerseys Cheap Nike Steelers Jerseys Cheap Nike Texans Jerseys Cheap Nike Colts Jerseys Cheap Nike Jaguars Jerseys Cheap Nike Titans Jerseys Cheap Nike Broncos Jerseys ' ' '
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