Kyla Ross

Kyla Ross leads all-around qualifying at World Gymnastics Championships

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Olympic gold medalist Kyla Ross is off to a strong start in her first major international all-around competition, leading after the first day of qualification at the World Championships. Still, she’s not assured of advancing to Friday’s all-around final.

Ross scored a combined 59.198 over four events in Antwerp, Belgium, on Tuesday, more than one point better than second-place Yao Jinnan of China. Her biggest threats in the all-around will go through qualifying Wednesday — including Americans Simone Biles and McKayla Maroney and Russian Aliya Mustafina.

Competition continues at 7:30 a.m. Eastern time. U.S. all-around champion Biles will lead off at 7:30, and Olympic champion Maroney will go at 10. The women’s all-around final is Friday at 2 p.m.

World Gymnastics Championships broadcast schedule

One nation can qualify a maximum of two athletes into individual finals, meaning one of Ross, Biles and Maroney will not compete for all-around medals, even if they finish one-two-three in qualifying. This is the same rule that kept 2011 world all-around champion Jordyn Wieber out of the Olympic all-around final.

Ross said she “proved herself” in qualification after being the only member of the Fierce Five to not qualify for an individual final at the Olympics.

“(In) London, I was just there for the team, and we did such an amazing job,” Ross said. “After that, I just went back into the gym and worked for myself.”

The U.S. has gone one-two in the women’s all-around at the last two World Championships in years following the Olympics. Chellsie Memmel beat Nastia Liukin by .001 in 2005, and Bridget Sloan overtook Rebecca Bross for gold in 2009 after Bross fell on her final routine, floor exercise.

Ross was also competing to qualify for individual event finals, where the top eight advance after everybody finishes Wednesday. Ross placed first on the balance beam, second on uneven bars and second on floor. If Biles and Maroney score better than Ross, they will knock her out of those event finals via the two-per-country rule.

Aly Raisman back in training

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

Fencing great Valentina Vezzali fails to qualify for Rio 2016

Mario Monti, Valentina Vezzali
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TURIN, Italy (AP) – Six-time Olympic champion fencer Valentina Vezzali has failed to qualify for next year’s Rio de Janeiro Games.

The 41-year-old Vezzali was eliminated in the second round of the foil event at the Trofeo Inalpi meet Saturday, while Italian teammate Arianna Errigo reached the semifinals and gained the necessary points to qualify.

Vezzali won at least one gold at the last five Olympics in either individual or team foil. She has a total of nine Olympic medals and 25 at world championships.

Her second son was born in 2013, the year in which she also became a member of Italy’s parliament.

Vezzali told the Gazzetta dello Sport this week that “I had another son and it was really difficult to come back. … I don’t think I have anything else to prove.”

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