Lindsey Vonn

Lindsey Vonn optimistic after knee gives out in downhill race (video)

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Lindsey Vonn said she didn’t cause greater harm to her surgically repaired right knee when it “completely gave out” and caused her to ski out of a downhill race in Val d’Isere, France, on Saturday.

Vonn appeared to lose her balance, briefly lifted her left ski off the snow and missed a gate, raising concern over her comeback from major knee surgery.

The Olympic downhill champion was well into her run when she was reduced to a glide toward safety netting. Once she came to a stop, Vonn leaned over. She grimaced and clutched her left knee, according to The Associated Press.

In post-race quotes, Vonn said she will take one or two weeks off with her main goal still Sochi, according to the official Val d’Isere event Twitter account.

“I didn’t hurt myself more than I’m already hurt,” Vonn said, according to the AP. “It was a small compression, and it was fully loaded on the right ski and my knee just completely gave out. I tried to pressure the ski again and it gave out again. I had no chance of making that gate, unfortunately.”

Vonn said she thought her next race would be “sometime in January,” according to the AP.

“I’m going to stick to a similar plan that I was on before. I just need to be more careful of how many races I do,” she said. “I’m at risk of doing more damage to my knee and my meniscus. So I’m going to play it safe and race really minimal races. Probably one or two before the Olympics.”

Here’s how The Associated Press described what happened Saturday:

She lost her balance and her left ski went up in the air, putting all her weight on her surgically repaired right knee as she skied off course. She didn’t fall but grimaced as she pulled up, clutching her knee in a worrying sign ahead of the Sochi Olympics.

Vonn, 29, was in the fourth race of her comeback from blowing out her right knee at the World Championships in Schladming, Austria, in February.

She reinjured the right knee on Nov. 19, delaying her World Cup return to Dec. 6. Vonn placed 40th, 11th and fifth in three races in Lake Louise, Alberta, two weeks ago.

Vonn had said she wanted to reach a World Cup podium before the Sochi Olympics and that she might race a limited schedule to avoid risking further injury to her knee.

Vonn raced with a knee brace under her ski suit on Saturday and with boyfriend Tiger Woods watching near the finish.

Swiss Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden notched her first World Cup win in 1 minute, 47.28 seconds, on Saturday.

Reigning World Cup overall champion Tina Maze was second, .29 behind, for her best finish in 12 races this season.

Americans struggled. Leanne Smith was the best in 14th, followed by Olympic downhill silver medalist Julia Mancuso in 21st. Mancuso hasn’t finished better than 12th in 10 races this season.

Alice McKennis was 43rd out of 43 finishers in her first World Cup race since shattering her right tibial plateau into about 30 pieces in March.

Val d’Isere Downhill
1. Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden (SUI) 1:47.28
2. Tina Maze (SLO) 1:47.57
3. Cornelia Huetter (AUT) 1:47.80
4. Tina Weirather (LIE) 1:47.91
5. Lotte Smiseth Sejersted (NOR) 1:48.22
6. Fraenzi Aufdenblatten (SUI) 1:48.30
7. Dominique Gisin (SUI) 1:48.31
8. Kajsa Kling (SWE) 1:48.47
9. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) 1:48.49
10. Elisabeth Goergl (AUT) 1:48.56
14. Leanne Smith (USA) 1:48.79
21. Julia Mancuso (USA) 1:49.09
43. Alice McKennis (USA) 1:52.02
DNF. Lindsey Vonn (USA)
DNF. Laurenne Ross (USA)
DNF. Stacey Cook (USA)

Lindsey Vonn ponders World Cup career wins record

Helen Maroulis dominates for world title after making history in Rio

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Helen Maroulis, after becoming the first U.S. woman to win an Olympic wrestling title, had quite a year.

She grappled in a cage with Conor McGregor. She lifted Teddy Roosevelt. The Maryland native cracked steamed crabs with Cal Ripken Jr. And spent three months in Norway.

Then, she came back to competition. And dominated once again.

Maroulis won the world title at 58kg on Wednesday, mercy ruling all five of her opponents by a combined 53-0 margin and finishing the day with a torn thumb ligament.

“This was really special to me because I didn’t just go to Rio, do things right there and then come back and everything crashed and burned,” said Maroulis, who has won three straight global titles (the Olympics sandwiched by two worlds). “I heard people say everything in the book [after Rio]. Maybe I just had a good day or this or that. Three years in a row, I achieved the goal I set.”

The 25-year-old took seven months off after Rio — her coach told her that she might lose worlds because of it — but looked and felt reinvigorated on Wednesday.

“I was, like, counting down the days before Rio, like don’t focus on vacation after. I was so overwhelmed and tired,” Maroulis said. “But this, I’m like, man, I love this. I could do this all over again.”

She improved to a 78-1 record since taking bronze at the 2014 Worlds. Remember, Maroulis went 1-30 in her first year as a wrestler at age 7.

She’s the only American man or woman to win an Olympic or world title without surrendering a point in at least 30 years, doing so in 2015 and again Wednesday.

Maroulis, after a hard struggle to cut weight to 53kg for Rio, moved up two divisions (11 pounds) this year. By the numbers, she faced an easier road to gold.

Saori Yoshida, the three-time Olympic champion whom Maroulis dethroned at 53kg in Rio, and 58kg superstar Kaori Icho, the only woman to win four Olympic golds in an individual event, both sat out this year for Japan.

The top 58kg seed at worlds, Olympic silver medalist Valeria Koblova of Russia, bowed out of her opening match with a left knee injury.

Maroulis plowed the remaining field, winning her first four matches Wednesday by mercy rule to reach the final by a 42-0 point margin.

Also Wednesday, 20-year-old Becka Leathers took bronze at 55kg in her senior worlds debut.

Worlds continue through the rest of this week. Olympic bronze medalist J’den Cox goes Friday, and Olympic champions Jordan Burroughs and Kyle Snyder close out the competition Saturday.

A full broadcast schedule is here.

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Dream Team, Shaq lead FIBA Hall of Fame inductees

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The Dream Team, Shaquille O’Neal and Toni Kukoč headline the FIBA international basketball Hall of Fame inductees for 2017.

A ceremony will be held Sept. 30 at FIBA headquarters in Switzerland.

The Dream Team enters the hall on the 25th anniversary of its unforgettable run at the 1992 Barcelona Games, where it went 8-0 and won by an average of 43.8 points per game.

The Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA will air every Dream Team game from the Olympics next week. A full schedule is here.

That team included two players who are already FIBA Hall of Famers — Michael Jordan and David Robinson, who both won multiple Olympic gold medals.

O’Neal was left off the Dream Team in favor of Christian Laettner as the single college player to round out the 12-man roster otherwise made up of NBA All-Stars.

But O’Neal went on to lead Dream Team II as MVP of the 1994 World Championship. He paced the U.S. in points (18 per game), rebounds (8.5 per game) and field-goal percentage (71.3).

O’Neal then played on the 1996 Olympic team that won gold in Atlanta, starting three of eight games. The U.S. was loaded at center with Hakeem Olajuwon, who led the Houston Rockets to 1994 and 1995 NBA titles, and Robinson, the 1995 NBA MVP.

Kukoč, best known as a member of Jordan’s supporting cast on the late 1990s Chicago Bulls teams, won a world title with Yugoslavia and two Olympic silver medals for Croatia.

He was MVP of the 1990 World Championship, where Yugoslavia beat the U.S. in the semifinals and the Soviet Union in the final.

Kukoč made his Olympic debut at age 19 at Seoul 1988, then was part of a star core of Croatian teams with the likes of Dražen Petrović and Dino Radja in the 1990s.

FIBA Hall of Fame Class of 2017:

TEAM
Dream Team (USA)

PLAYERS
Mickey Berkowitz (Israel)
Pero Cameron (New Zealand)
Toni Kukoč (Croatia)
Razija Mujanovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Shaquille O’Neal (USA)
Valdis Valters (Latvia)

COACH
Dusan Ivkovic (Serbia)

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