Vonn skipping slalom opener to focus on Aspen

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Now that gold medal skier Lindsey Vonn has lost her battle to race her male counterparts in Canada later this month she’s decided to skip the slalom opener in Finland to prep for races in Colorado.

The four-time World Cup champ would have faced-off against the men in Lake Louise, Albert – sometimes dubbed Lake Lindsey due to her success on the course – on Nov. 24, but will instead head to Aspen on that date to take on the women at the only U.S. stop on the World Cup calendar.

Vonn’s request to race the men was denied by the International Ski Federation, which simply stated in a release that “one gender is not entitled to participate in races of the other and exceptions will not be made.”

The FIS said that Vonn could submit a request to be a forerunner for the men’s race, where her time would be clocked but wouldn’t count as part of the official competition. Apparently Vonn thinks focusing on the women’s circuit will be better for her Sochi medal chances in the long run.

Nathan Chen holds off Yuzuru Hanyu to win first Grand Prix

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U.S. champion Nathan Chen opened the Grand Prix season by beating Olympic gold-medal favorite Yuzuru Hanyu.

Chen, 18, held off Hanyu at Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, totaling 293.79 points to win by 3.02 over the Japanese megastar. Full scores are here.

Chen landed four quadruple jumps in a strong but imperfect free skate for his first Grand Prix title in his second senior international season.

Hanyu outscored Chen in the free skate, but the American benefited from his 5.69-point lead from Friday’s short program.

Hanyu, the reigning Olympic and world champion, has never won his opening Grand Prix start in eight tries.

He did three quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate rather than the planned five, but did not fall as he did in the short program.

Chen has now outscored Hanyu in three of their last four head-to-head events dating to February.

The Rostelecom Cup free dance and pairs and women’s free skates are later Saturday.

A full Rostelecom Cup broadcast schedule is here.

The Grand Prix season continues next weekend with Skate Canada, headlined by three-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner and three-time world champion Patrick Chan.

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Olympic ski cross champion suffers serious knee injury

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Canadian Marielle Thompson, the reigning Olympic and World Cup ski cross champion, ruptured an ACL and MCL in a training crash in Switzerland.

Alpine Canada did not say when the accident happened or what Thompson’s chances are of returning to defend her Olympic title in PyeongChang.

Thompson flew from Switzerland to Vancouver for an MRI that confirmed the injury.

“I’ll be making a plan with my team moving forward and when the time is right getting back on the ski cross course stronger than ever,” Thompson said in a press release.

Thompson, 25, tore a meniscus in January 2015 and returned to competition 11 months later. She won seven of the 13 World Cup races last season.

Other Olympic medal contenders include Swede Sandra Näslund and Swiss Fanny Smith.

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