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New coach aims to heal short track team

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U.S. short track coach Guy Thibault has been tasked with piecing back together a fractured national team after its members have scattered throughout three competing programs.

Four of the twelves team members selected Saturday are training under Thibault, two more are under former coach Jae Su Chun, who resigned after facing allegations of abuse and tampering. The last six skate for FAST, a group formed by the group that filed the complaint against Chun.

But after hesitating to take the job due to not knowing “how deep the scar was between skaters,” Thibault believes his experience with animosity among members of the Canadian team in 1998 will help him work with the U.S. team over the next year.

“I don’t expect some of them to become best friends by the Olympic Games, but I’m sure they will grow to respect their teammates,” Thibault told the Associated Press. “Competition between centers is good, but [not] when it becomes aggressive and rude.”

Thibault added that he was encouraged by what he saw at the national championships, especially from Vancouver bronze medalist Lana Gehrig, who won two golds Friday skating under Chun. Thibault will speak to each member of the team individually after the new year.

“Stepping out of coaching in 2006 was a good thing. When you are a spectator, you see a lot more. You see the other countries and what they do, look at the coaches and what they do. Personally, I learned a lot.”

Tyson Fury and the Olympics

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 28:  Tyson Fury celebrates victory over Christian Hammer in a Heavyweight Contest at the O2 Arena on February 28, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
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Tyson Fury defeated Wladimir Klitschko by unanimous decision Saturday to become the heavyweight champion of the world.

The two boxers had much different experiences with the Olympics.

Fury, a 6-foot-9 fighter named after Mike Tyson, hoped to compete at the Beijing 2008 Olympics. But countries are limited to one boxer per weight class, and David Price was chosen to represent Great Britain.

Fury had lost to Price in 2006 as an amateur.

“I knocked him down in the fight, but lost it on points,” Fury told The Sunday Telegraph in 2008. “It seemed nailed down that Price would be the superheavyweight fighting for Britain. I wasn’t selected because of politics.”

Price went on to claim the super heavyweight bronze medal at the 2008 Games.

A proud Irish Traveller who calls himself the “Gypsy Warrior,” Fury also tried unsuccessfully to qualify to represent Ireland.

Shortly after the 2008 Olympics, Price turned professional, and Fury seemed destined to represent Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics. But Fury decided to turn professional himself.

“It would have been great to try for the Olympic team and box in London in 2012, but I could see from the start that boxing politics was going to get in the way,” Fury said, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

Klitschko won the Atlanta 1996 Olympic super heavyweight gold medal.

He has said it would be “a dream” to compete at the 2016 Games, 20 years after his lone Olympic appearance. He will be 40 years old.

But Klitschko’s Olympic eligibility remains unclear.

In February, boxing’s international governing body (AIBA) stated that Klitschko “is not eligible for any of the qualifying paths” for the Rio Olympics. Then in October, AIBA’s communications department wrote in an email, “We have no comment at this stage concerning particular boxer presence at Rio 2016. The eligibility will be determined by December 4th 2015 and will be communicated accordingly by each National Olympic Committee.”

MORE: First boxer named to 2016 U.S. Olympic team

Mikaela Shiffrin wins Aspen World Cup slalom

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With a slalom win today in Aspen, Colo., Mikaela Shiffrin broke some of the barriers she had been chasing.

“I don’t know if the stars will ever align like that again,” Shiffrin said in a media conference after being told she won with the biggest margin of victory in the history of women’s slalom since 1968: 3.07 seconds. “I don’t think [my competitors] are going to let me get away with three seconds ever again.”

En route to her fourth consecutive slalom World Cup title – which would tie the record for the most with Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider from 1992-95 – she became the first female skier to win four World Cup slalom races in a row since Austria’s Marlies Schild did it in the 2011-12 season.

In addition, Shiffrin became the first female skier from the U.S. to win a slalom World Cup race in Aspen. And she’s now tied with France’s Perrine Pelen for sixth overall with total slalom World Cup victories.

“I was pissed after I made that ridiculous mistake yesterday,” Shiffrin said to media, referencing yesterday’s giant slalom crash. Both her and Lindsey Vonn crashed and did not finish in Aspen’s giant slalom. “I tried to use that anger today.”

Shiffrin called the mistake a “brainfart” and Vonn dismissed it because “giant slalom isn’t [her] strongest event.”

But, Shiffrin added that she already has her mind set on tomorrow, where she races slalom again, on NBC at 3 p.m. ET. The complete of the Olympic sports schedule is here.

“I just as quickly have to go back and settle in,” she said. “Tomorrow is a new race. I have to find a different motivation and try to take the same mentality and keep fighting.”

Slovakia’s Veronika Velez Zuzulova was second behind Shiffrin, followed by Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter.

By finishing behind Shiffrin in Aspen, Zuzulova extends her slalom World Cup podium finish streak to four.

Hansdotter has the second-most second place World Cup slalom finishes at 13 total, including today’s race. Only Pernilla Wiberg, of Sweden, has more with a total of 14.

MORE: Shiffrin, Vonn discuss friendship and rivalry