Youth Olympics

Some athletes from Ebola-hit nations barred from competing at Youth Olympics

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Three athletes from Ebola-hit African nations will not be allowed to compete at the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China, the International Olympic Committee and Nanjing Games organizers said Friday.

Two athletes in combat sports and one athlete in aquatics have been barred due to “a policy which balances the health needs of all, with respect for the rights of the young athletes from the region,” according to a joint press release from the IOC and the Nanjing Organizing Committee.

The combat sports athletes will be held out due to “health authority guidelines.” The aquatics athlete won’t participate “based on the inability to completely exclude the risk of potential infection.”

The remaining athletes who are competing from the region affected by Ebola will be subject to regular temperature and physical assessment.

Organizers said all delegations are welcome at the Youth Olympics.

“We regret that due to this issue some young athletes may have suffered twice, both from the anguish caused by the outbreak in their home countries and by not being able to compete in the Youth Olympic Games,” the press release said.

The Ebola virus outbreak has killed more than 1,000 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria, according to The Associated Press.

Liberia and Sierra Leone reportedly decided not to travel to Nanjing for the Youth Olympics, a competition for athletes between ages 14 and 18. The Opening Ceremony is Saturday.

The IOC and Youth Olympic organizers have been working with Chinese health authorities and the World Health Organization.

“We have been reassured by the health authorities that there have been no suspected cases and that the risk of infection is extremely unlikely,” the press release said.

The three athletes not allowed to compete will be invited to take part in a later competition in Nanjing.

U.S. names Youth Olympics Opening Ceremony flag bearer

Mikaela Shiffrin wins Aspen World Cup slalom

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With a slalom win today in Aspen, Colo., Mikaela Shiffrin broke some of the barriers she had been chasing.

“I don’t know if the stars will ever align like that again,” Shiffrin said in a media conference after being told she won with the biggest margin of victory in the history of women’s slalom since 1968: 3.07 seconds. “I don’t think [my competitors] are going to let me get away with three seconds ever again.”

En route to her fourth consecutive slalom World Cup title – which would tie the record for the most with Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider from 1992-95 – she became the first female skier to win four World Cup slalom races in a row since Austria’s Marlies Schild did it in the 2011-12 season.

In addition, Shiffrin became the first female skier from the U.S. to win a slalom World Cup race in Aspen. And she’s now tied with France’s Perrine Pelen for sixth overall with total slalom World Cup victories.

“I was pissed after I made that ridiculous mistake yesterday,” Shiffrin said to media, referencing yesterday’s giant slalom crash. Both her and Lindsey Vonn crashed and did not finish in Aspen’s giant slalom. “I tried to use that anger today.”

Shiffrin called the mistake a “brainfart” and Vonn dismissed it because “giant slalom isn’t [her] strongest event.”

But, Shiffrin added that she already has her mind set on tomorrow, where she races slalom again, on NBC at 3 p.m. ET. The complete of the Olympic sports schedule is here.

“I just as quickly have to go back and settle in,” she said. “Tomorrow is a new race. I have to find a different motivation and try to take the same mentality and keep fighting.”

Slovakia’s Veronika Velez Zuzulova was second behind Shiffrin, followed by Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter.

By finishing behind Shiffrin in Aspen, Zuzulova extends her slalom World Cup podium finish streak to four.

Hansdotter has the second-most second place World Cup slalom finishes at 13 total, including today’s race. Only Pernilla Wiberg, of Sweden, has more with a total of 14.

MORE: Shiffrin, Vonn discuss friendship and rivalry

Fencing great Valentina Vezzali fails to qualify for Rio 2016

Mario Monti, Valentina Vezzali
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TURIN, Italy (AP) – Six-time Olympic champion fencer Valentina Vezzali has failed to qualify for next year’s Rio de Janeiro Games.

The 41-year-old Vezzali was eliminated in the second round of the foil event at the Trofeo Inalpi meet Saturday, while Italian teammate Arianna Errigo reached the semifinals and gained the necessary points to qualify.

Vezzali won at least one gold at the last five Olympics in either individual or team foil. She has a total of nine Olympic medals and 25 at world championships.

Her second son was born in 2013, the year in which she also became a member of Italy’s parliament.

Vezzali told the Gazzetta dello Sport this week that “I had another son and it was really difficult to come back. … I don’t think I have anything else to prove.”

MORE: Hanyu, Miyahara win NHK; Wagner into Grand Prix Final