Mikaela Shiffrin

Mikaela Shiffrin posts top-10 in Val d’Isere; Tina Weirather wins

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Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather was untouchable, while American Mikaela Shiffrin scored her third giant slalom top-10 this season in Val d’Isere, France, on Sunday.

Weirather upped her overall World Cup lead with her second win and sixth podium this season, posting a two-run time of 2 minutes, 24.10 seconds. Swiss Lara Gut was second, .73 behind, followed by Swede Maria Pietilae-Holmner.

Shiffrin improved from 12th after the first run to finish eighth.

“I was really tired coming from the U.S. to here, and I had to rethink how I was doing things, making sure I was getting my recoveries,” Shiffrin said, according to Agence France-Presse. “Before this race I actually got some rest, and I felt a lot better today, which just means that I have to ski faster. So it’s good and bad, but I’m very happy with a top-10.”

Shiffrin, 18, is the world’s best slalom skier but worked on improving her giant slalom in the offseason. In four giant slaloms this season, she’s finished sixth, second, DNF and eighth, putting her in the medal threat mix for Sochi.

“I’m really excited with where I’m taking my giant slalom right now,” Shiffrin said. “In training I’m skiing faster than in racing, so I have a lot of potential, but the trick is getting the training skiing into the races.”

Julia Mancuso, the 2006 Olympic giant slalom champion, failed to finish her second run after posting the 19th-fastest first run.

Gut dominated the World Cup circuit to start the season, but it’s been Liechtenstein’s Weirather who has taken control going into the holidays. She has finished second or better in at least one downhill, super-G and giant slalom this season.

Liechtenstein has not won an Olympic medal since 1988.

“Today was a very great day for me,” Weirather said, according to AFP. “It feels awesome for me to get a first win in the giant slalom.”

The women’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues with a giant slalom in Lienz, Austria, on Saturday.

Val d’Isere Giant Slalom
1. Tina Weirather (LIE) 2:24.10
2. Lara Gut (SUI) 2:24.83
3. Maria Pietilae-Holmner (SWE) 2:25.05
4. Federica Brignone (ITA) 2:25.21
5. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) 2:25.26
6. Jessica Lindell-Vikarby (SWE) 2:25.27
7. Anna Fenninger (AUT) 2:25.28
8. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) 2:25.57
9. Dominique Gisin (SUI) 2:25.74
10. Kajsa Kling (SWE) 2:25.79
26. Megan McJames (USA) 2:27.97
DNF. Julia Mancuso (USA)

Ligety beaten, career best for another American

Dawn Harper-Nelson makes tearful plea about banned medication

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - AUGUST 24: Dawn Harper-Nelson of the United States after winning the Women's 100m Hurdles during the Diamond League at Alexander Stadium on August 24, 2014 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
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In a tearful social media video, Olympic 100m hurdles champion Dawn Harper-Nelson said Thursday that she was “afraid for my life” because she’s not allowed to take prescribed blood-pressure medication that is banned by anti-doping authorities.

“I just want to say that this is not fair, that I’m afraid for my life,” she said. “I’m about to go into urgent care, because my blood pressure’s really high again. And USADA [U.S. Anti-Doping Agency] said I can’t take the medicine the doctors giving me. And they’re giving me a new medicine. This is just not OK. My head’s bothering me, my vision’s kind of blurry, and they said my blood pressure is high. I’m scared. People need to be aware, this is not cool.”

Harper-Nelson is serving a three-month ban after previously taking a prescribed medication and failing to learn that it contained a banned substance. She said she was prescribed the medication after being rushed to an emergency room and diagnosed with high blood pressure. The ban ends March 1.

Athletes can request therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) through USADA if they have an illness or condition that requires the use of medication listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List. It’s not clear if Harper-Nelson has requested a TUE for medication containing a banned substance.

Harper-Nelson tested positive for the banned diuretic hydrochlorothiazide, which is on the prohibited list, and related metabolites on Dec. 1, according to USADA:

Harper-Nelson’s explanation that her positive test was caused by a blood pressure medication she was prescribed by a physician to treat hypertension. Harper-Nelson further explained that she made efforts to determine if the medication contained prohibited substances; however, due to using partial search terms, those efforts were unsuccessful.

On Thursday, A USADA official reached out to Harper-Nelson on Twitter. USADA has not commented on the situation.

Harper-Nelson won the 2008 Olympic 100m hurdles title and took silver behind Sally Pearson in 2012. She failed to make the Rio Olympic team, getting eliminated in the Olympic Trials semifinals.

The U.S. trio in Rio swept the medals — Brianna RollinsNia Ali and Kristi Castlin.

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A 766-shot table-tennis rally takes 10 minutes (video)

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 13:  A general view during the Table Tennis Men's Team Round One Match between Japan and Poland during Day 8 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Riocentro - Pavilion 3 on August 13, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
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A 766-shot table-tennis rally, believed to be the longest ever, was a highlight of a tournament in Qatar this week.

Rio Olympian Li Jie of the Netherlands and Hitomi Sato of Japan played for 10 minutes, 13 seconds, neither wanting to attack, before the point was cut short (mercifully) by another ball bouncing near the table.

An expedite rule, forcing a point to end within 13 shots by the player returning serve, was then enforced to speed up play. Li ended up winning in the maximum seven games.

Li and Sato were playing at the International Table Tennis Federation World Tour’s Qatar Open.

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