Update: Conflicting reports on Blake’s worlds status

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Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake will not defend his 100-meter title at the world championships in August, according to the Jamaica Observer.

UPDATE: Blake’s manager said he’s not out yet, according to Reuters and the Jamaica Gleaner.

“There is absolutely no discussions or plans for any surgery and I don’t know where that information is coming from,” manager Cubie Seegobin told Reuters. “No decision has been made about Yohan missing the world championships.

“The coach has not yet decided on pulling him from the world championships.”

Blake, nicknamed “The Beast,” missed time this spring after suffering a hamstring injury in April.

“He is definitely out of the world championship … he will not be part of Jamaica’s squad,” a senior Jamaica athletics official told the the Observer. “Yohan will have to do surgery soon, so there is no way that he can make the team. The injury is so sensitive that even if he is a real ‘Beast’ he cannot recover from it in time for the world champs.”

Blake’s absence would open the door wider for Usain Bolt to reclaim his 100-meter world title. Bolt infamously false started out of the 2011 world championships final, won by Blake in 9.92 seconds. Blake subsequently took silver to Bolt in the 100 and 200 at the 2012 Olympics.

There’s no doubt now that Bolt’s primary competition at worlds will be Americans Tyson Gay, who has the two fastest 100 times in the world this year, and Justin Gatlin, who has the third, fourth and fifth fastest times and a win over Bolt. Jamaican Warren Weir should factor in with Gay to chase Bolt in the 200.

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Shaun White’s crash lands him in hospital

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Double Olympic snowboard champion Shaun White suffered a serious crash in training in New Zealand for the second time in as many months.

White was in the hospital after a “straight up old fashioned face plant” while preparing for the Olympic season, he said in an Instagram post Saturday.

“I’ve always lived my life by pushing the limits,” was posted on White’s Instagram. “Winning is great, but it’s the tough times that truly define you. I took a slam while training the other day, but don’t worry I’ll be back soon and better than ever!!”

White, 31, also crashed in early September, leading him to withdraw from his season-opening halfpipe contest in New Zealand. Doctors told him then to take a few weeks off.

White can afford to miss most of the fall. The snowboarding season does not ramp up until December. The first of a series of Olympic selection events is the second week of December in Breckenridge, Colo.

White is arguably the favorite for gold in PyeongChang in February despite finishing a disappointing fourth in Sochi, where he was bidding to three-peat as Olympic halfpipe champion.

White gradually improved last season after taking time off, changing coaches. dropping slopestyle (and his band work) and undergoing fall left ankle surgery.

He was 11th at January’s Winter X Games — his worst finish there since 2000 — but then finished first, second and first in his last three events.

He peaked at the finale, the U.S. Open in Vail, Colo. White landed a cab double cork 1440 and a double McTwist 1260 in one run for the first time, according to The Associated Press.

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Gymnastics doctor’s lawyers want trial moved, cite media coverage

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Attorneys for a former Michigan State and USA Gymnastics doctor accused of molesting dozens of athletes are pushing to have his trial moved out of the Lansing area.

The Lansing State Journal reports that attorneys representing Larry Nassar filed a change-of-venue request because of what they called “inflammatory and sustained media coverage” that they say has made it difficult for Nassar to get a fair trial in the area.

The media attention grew more intense this week when 21-year-old 2012 Olympic gold medal gymnast McKayla Maroney wrote on Twitter that Nassar started assaulting her when she was 13.

Nassar has pleaded not guilty to nearly two dozen charges in Michigan. He has pleaded guilty to three child pornography charges in an unrelated case but has not been sentenced.

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