Alexey Sobolev

International Ski Federation defends slopestyle’s safety

Leave a comment

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.

USOC has ‘serious concerns’ about USA Curling

U.S. athletes who can clinch Olympic berths this weekend

AP
Leave a comment

More than a dozen Americans will qualify for the Olympic team this weekend.

Here’s a sport-by-sport rundown:

Skiing/Snowboarding
Will qualify for Pyeongchang with a win at the Dew Tour in Breckenridge, Colo. (and might still qualify with a lesser result) on Friday and Saturday:

Ben Ferguson (snowboard halfpipe)
Chloe Kim 
(snowboard halfpipe)
Chris Corning (snowboard slopestyle)
Red Gerard (snowboard slopestyle)
Jamie Anderson (snowboard slopestyle)
Julia Marino 
(snowboard slopestyle)
David Wise (ski halfpipe)
Torin Yater-Wallace (ski halfpipe)
Maddie Bowman (ski halfpipe)
Devin Logan (ski halfpipe)
Maggie Voisin (ski slopestyle)

Could qualify with a win and some help:

Shaun White (snowboard halfpipe)
Maddie Mastro (snowboard halfpipe)

Additionally, snowboard cross world champion Lindsey Jacobellis will clinch an Olympic berth Saturday if two other U.S. women don’t go one-two in a World Cup event in Austria. If any U.S. male snowboard cross rider wins Saturday, he will qualify for the Olympic team.

The first Alpine skier could qualify for the Olympics via World Cup men’s super-G and giant slalom races in Italy on Friday, Sunday and Monday with a podium finish and some help. Watch out for Sochi GS gold medalist Ted Ligety there.

In cross-country skiing, top-eight finishes in Saturday’s World Cup races could qualify more Americans for the Olympic team. Four-time world medalist Jessie Diggins is the only cross-country skier to meet Olympic qualifying criteria so far.

MORE: Dew Tour preview/Olympic qualifying standings

Short Track Speed Skating
Five men and three women will qualify for the U.S. Olympic team, scattered across Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Olympic Trials in Kearns, Utah.

The favorites include Olympic medalists J.R. Celski and Katherine Reutter-Adamek, Sochi Olympian Jessica Kooreman and would-be Olympic rookies John-Henry Krueger and Maame Biney.

MORE: Olympic short track trials preview/TV schedule

Curling
Trials for the new Olympic event of mixed doubles curling end Sunday with two more athletes *possibly* being named to the Olympic team.

The overall U.S. Olympic team will not increase in size if curlers already qualified for the Olympics in the traditional men’s and women’s events prevail in Blaine, Minn.

The favorites are already 2018 Olympic team members– siblings Matt Hamilton and Becca Hamilton, the reigning national champions, and 2016 World bronze medalists Tabitha Peterson and Joe Polo.

MORE: Curling mixed doubles trials preview/TV schedule

Luge
The U.S. Olympic luge team of three men, three women and two doubles teams will be announced Saturday night after the Friday/Saturday World Cup races in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Sochi bronze medalist Erin Hamlin has already made the team, while Sochi Olympian Summer Britcher mathematically met criteria to join her but hasn’t been named to the team yet.

The other favorites include World Cup winner Emily Sweeney and Sochi Olympians Chris MazdzerTucker West and Matt Mortensen and Jayson Terdiman.

Biathlon
At least two more biathletes will join world medalists Lowell Bailey and Susan Dunklee on the Olympic team following World Cup races in France this weekend.

The clubhouse leaders are Sochi Olympian Sean Doherty and would-be Olympic rookie Clare Egan.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Full Olympic hockey schedule

Candace Parker not in 2017-2020 USA Basketball national team pool

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Candace Parker was not among 29 players named to the U.S. national basketball team player pool announced Thursday, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s out of 2020 Olympic contention.

Players can be added or dropped from the national team pool between now and 2020.

For now, the pool is headlined by four-time Olympic champions Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi, who both recommitted to USA Basketball this year, one year after saying they believed Rio would be their Olympic farewells.

The pool includes every member of the Rio Olympic team except for the retired Tamika Catchings.

It would not be a surprise if Parker never suits up for Team USA again after being left off the Rio roster.

The 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medalist said in May that she didn’t know if she wanted to go for the Tokyo 2020 team that will be coached by Dawn Staley, who succeeds Geno Auriemma.

Parker was also not among the 30 players who accepted invitations to a September/October national team camp. Five of her Los Angeles Sparks teammates did accept invites but none ended up attending because the team was playing in the WNBA Finals.

Staley will guide a 12-woman roster at the FIBA World Cup in September. Usually, the winner of the World Cup clinches the first Olympic basketball berth. The U.S. won the last two FIBA World Cups in 2010 and 2014.

Parker had said a primary motivation to play in Rio was that her daughter, Lailaa, then 7 years old, would have been able to watch her at the Olympics and remember it.

After missing the Rio team, Parker spoke of being caught off-guard, mad and upset. She would not commit to hypothetically being an injury replacement if one of the 12 named players had to bow out. That situation did not arise.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Most decorated Olympic basketball player sells gold medal

U.S. women’s national basketball team player pool
Seimone Augustus
(Minnesota Lynx)
Sue Bird (Seattle Storm)
Tina Charles (New York Liberty)
Layshia Clarendon (Atlanta Dream)
Napheesa Collier (Connecticut)
Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics)
Skylar Diggins-Smith (Dallas Wings)
Stefanie Dolson (Chicago Sky)
Asia Durr (Louisville)
Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx)
Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury)
Tiffany Hayes (Atlanta Dream)
Jantel Lavender (Los Angeles Sparks)
Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm)
Kayla McBride (Las Vegas Aces)
Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream)
Kelsey Mitchell (Ohio State)
Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx)
Chiney Ogwumike (Connecticut Sun)
Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks)
Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces)
Katie Lou Samuelson (Connecticut)
Odyssey Sims (Los Angeles Sparks)
Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm)
Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury)
Morgan Tuck (Connecticut Sun)
Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx)
Courtney Williams (Connecticut Sun)
A’ja Wilson (South Carolina)