Alexey Sobolev

International Ski Federation defends slopestyle’s safety

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It’s too early to comment on the amount and seriousness of injuries sustained in slopestyle skiing and snowboarding at the Sochi Olympics, an International Ski Federation (FIS) official said in response to an IOC official saying the injury rates were too high for the sports to stay in the Olympic program.

“The protection of the athletes’ health and the safety of the environment they are competing in are top priorities for the FIS and the IOC who work actively together on these important topics on an ongoing basis,” said FIS secretary general Sarah Lewis, according to insidethegames. “In regard to the slopestyle events that took place in Sochi, it would be premature to comment on the quantity and quality of injuries that occurred as the full IOC Injury and Illness Surveillance Study conducted by the IOC Medical Commission has not yet been finalized.”

Lewis said comments from the IOC’s Lars Engebretsen questioning slopestyle events’ safety were “apparently personal comments which do not represent the position of the IOC.”

“Right now the injury rate as it was in Sochi was too high to be a sport that we have in the Olympics,” Engebretsen, head of scientific activities at the IOC’s medical and scientific department, told The Associated Press last week. “That sport should change, otherwise we shouldn’t have it.”

In Sochi, Shaun White pulled out of snowboard slopestyle one day before the competition, citing injury risk. Another medal threat, Norway’s Torstein Horgmo, broke a collarbone in a training crash and withdrew. Canadian favorite Mark McMorris suffered a broken rib at the Winter X Games on Jan. 25 and won bronze in Sochi behind American Sage Kotsenburg.

Slopestyle events made their Olympic debuts in Sochi. However, greater injuries to elite athletes leading into the Olympics were suffered in another new sport, ski halfpipe.

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Ida Keeling, 100 years old, sets world record at Penn Relays (video)

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Ida Keeling electrified the Penn Relays crowd with her 100-meter dash in 1 minute, 17.33 seconds on Saturday afternoon.

Keeling set a world record for fastest 100m by a woman 100 years and older. There is no data on USA Track and Field and masters athletics websites for a previous record holder.

“I’ll be 101 in a couple of weeks,” Keeling pointed out to NBC Sports’ Carolyn Manno after the race, a mixed-gender event for athletes 80 and older. “I’ve never seen nothing like this crowd. Maybe that’s what the excitement was.”

Keeling’s advice?

“Love yourself, do what you have to do and what you want to do,” she said. “Eat for nutrition, not for taste. And exercise at least once a day.”

More on Keeling is here.

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U.S. sprinters past, present trade relay barbs

Justin Gatlin
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The only loss for the Americans at the Penn Relays came in the men’s 4x100m, as the U.S. team bobbled its victory away on a bad baton handoff between Tyson Gay and Isiah Young for the final leg, which led to a disqualification.

Mike Rodgers and Justin Gatlin gave the Americans an early lead in the race, and things were moving along well during Gay’s third leg. But the muffed handoff for the final leg cost the Americans. Both the winning Jamaican squad and the second American team surpassed them.

Young finished third, but the team was disqualified because the handoff occurred outside the pass zone. The second U.S. team of Sean McLean, Wallace Spearman, Calesio Newman and Remontay McLain finished in 39.02.

The mistake led to some inflammatory comments from U.S. great Leroy Burrell about continued problems with handoffs by U.S. relay teams.

“Well, I think we’ve got to put our team together a little earlier, possibly,” Burrell said in a television interview. “I think, we’ve had the same coaches working with these guys for many years, and we’ve had failure after failure. So it’s possible that, you know, it might be time for a bit of a regime change with the leadership.

“I think the athletes have to be the catalysts that make that happen. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to get the stick around. I saw thousands of relay teams yesterday — maybe not thousands, but hundreds of relay teams get it around. But the professionals can’t. That’s just not good for our sport.”

Rodgers didn’t take kindly to those remarks.

“People keep pointing their fingers and downing us, but nobody has ever tried to come out there and help us,” he said. “Nobody from the past. Not Carl [Lewis] or Leroy. They haven’t been out there. I can’t really respect their opinions because they’re supposed to be leaders in our sport and in the USA, and they’re not coming out there to drop some knowledge on us, so I don’t care what they have to say.”

Lewis criticized U.S. relays in March.

Gatlin was equally critical of Burrell.

“I’m tired of people who have been part of Team USA take shots at Team USA,” Gatlin said. “To put us in the same boat as high schoolers is insulting.”

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