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

Michael Phelps eyes at least three events at Olympic Trials

Michael Phelps
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Michael Phelps expects to swim the 100m and 200m butterfly and the 200m individual medley at the U.S. Olympic Trials in four weeks, but he will be entered in more events, his coach, Bob Bowman, confirmed Tuesday.

Phelps plans to swim just those three events at the June 26-July 3 trials in Omaha, according to Sports Illustrated.

However, Phelps could also swim the 100m and 200m freestyles at the Olympic Trials to post a time fast enough not necessarily to make the Olympic team (top two at trials) but to earn a place on the 4x100m and 4x200m free relays for a fourth straight Games.

“I think he needs to put up a time, sometime, to let us know that he’s on that level [in the 100m and 200m freestyles],” Bowman, the head coach of the U.S. Olympic men’s team and thus an important relay selector, said two weeks ago.

Bowman said Tuesday that Phelps will be entered in more than the 100m and 200m fly and 200m IM at trials. But Phelps could scratch out of any event before finals or before preliminary heats.

Bowman said Phelps could theoretically try to make the Olympic team in more than three individual events.

As for those main three, it’s no surprise. Those are the three events Phelps focused on at his biggest meet of 2015, the U.S. Championships in August. Each time, he clocked the fastest time in the world for the year, making him the Olympic favorite in all three.

If Phelps intends to swim three individual events at the Rio Games, he’s looking at his thinnest Olympic slate since his debut at the Sydney 2000 Games at age 15 (one event, 200m butterfly, fifth place).

Phelps swam five individual events each in 2004 and 2008 and four in 2012, dropping the 200m freestyle for the London Games and the 400m individual medley altogether after finishing fourth in that event in London.

Phelps will race this weekend at what is expected to be his final pre-trials tune-up meet in Austin, Texas. He is entered in the 100m and 200m free, the 100m butterfly and the 200m IM.

MORE: U.S. swim stars spread across three Olympic Trials tune-up meets

World champion wrestler from Russia cedes Olympic spot after brawl

Viktor Lebedev
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MOSCOW (AP) — A two-time wrestling World champion said Tuesday he is giving up his place at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro after a brawl marred a Russian qualifying tournament.

Viktor Lebedev was competing against Ismail Musukayev in a semifinal bout at the Russian nationals on Friday when Musukayev was angered by refereeing calls against him and shoved Lebedev.

Musukayev’s supporters and coaches charged into the ring, prompting a scuffle that was broken up by riot police (video here). Wrestlers from Musukayev’s home region of Dagestan then boycotted the tournament in protest at the standard of refereeing, causing a nationwide scandal.

Lebedev told local news outlet News.Ykt on Tuesday that he is withdrawing from the Olympic team as “a matter of honor” because he feels officials gave him favorable calls in front of his home crowd in the Siberian city of Yakutsk.

“Let’s say I win Olympic gold. I don’t doubt that I could win it,” he said. “Even if I were to climb onto that podium with the gold, I wouldn’t have those emotions. I wouldn’t be especially happy that my dream had come true.”

Lebedev said Musukayev had been wronged but insisted his opponent had been wrong to start the brawl. “You can’t behave that way regardless of how the judging goes for you,” he said.

Lebedev can be replaced on the team by another Russian in the 57kg class, though he was the favorite to go to the Rio Olympics after winning World Championships bronze and European Games gold last year.

Wrestling is traditionally a source of great pride for many of Russia’s ethnic minority groups, including in Lebedev’s Arctic home region of Yakutia and in Dagestan, a province in Russia’s volatile North Caucasus otherwise known for its Islamist insurgency.

Competition for a place on the Russian national team, one of the world’s best, is fierce and in recent years various domestic competitions have been marred by brawls between fans from different regions and ethnic groups.

Earlier this month, a wrestler from Chechnya hit his opponent after the end of the bout and some of his team, including a man with a pistol, rushed into the ring in support.

MORE: Eight Russians positive in 2012 Olympic retests