Bode Miller
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Bode Miller plans to race next season, U.S. coach says

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SANTA CATERINA VALFURVA, Italy (AP) — Bode Miller is still planning on racing again. Just probably not this season.

U.S. Ski Team head coach Sasha Rearick said that Miller told him he no longer plans on coming over to Europe for training in January.

“He sent me a text. He said, ‘Count me in coach in the future. I’m coming back. Just things are not looking good for me to travel this January,'” Rearick told The Associated Press on Thursday at a World Cup combined race.

Earlier this month, a lawsuit Miller had filed against his former sponsor and ski manufacturer Head was dismissed.

Miller ended his nearly 10-year partnership with Head in 2015 and signed an agreement not to use other skis in World Cup or world championship races for two years.

Miller was attempting to get out of the remainder of the deal so that he could race on skis by New York-based Bomber, which he helped develop.

However, Miller would be free to race on Bomber next season and at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, when he’ll be 40.

If that’s the plan, Rearick wants Miller to start training immediately — even if he can’t race due to the contract issues.

“I hope he comes back and I hope we get a full prep period in. That’s what is going to be key,” Rearick said. “If we decide to do this, let’s go full at it. Let’s not just do one camp here and Colorado. Let’s go at it full and let’s start now. Those are going to me my conversations that I have with him next week.”

Miller has not raced since severing his right hamstring tendon in February 2015 and did not show much speed during a brief training camp at Copper Mountain in Colorado last month, trailing several teammates.

There were questions in Colorado not only over Miller’s physical form but also his equipment, which is unproven on the World Cup circuit.

Is the equipment good enough for Miller to succeed on?

“Why not? It’s Bode Miller,” Rearick said.

Head racing director Rainer Salzgeber said there is a standing offer for Miller to race on Head as soon as he wants.

“We would welcome him back but I don’t expect that he wants to call us because it’s not a matter of real competitive skiing, otherwise he would need to be really prepared,” Salzgeber said.

Chris Krause, Miller’s ski technician, also left Head for Bomber.

“That’s why it would be quite easy to get him back on our stuff, because we would support him with the staff and Chris could tune the skis — everything’s easy,” Salzgeber said, adding that Miller’s old skis are still stored in Head’s warehouse in Austria.

Rearick also believes Miller could add to his haul of six Olympic medals in Pyeongchang.

“Bode is going to do something. But first he’s going to have to qualify for the Olympics,” the coach said. “We have a strong team in downhill. But I expect Bode to come out here and work hard and charge and bring the love of the sport to the team.

“There’s no doubt that Bode loves the sport more than most people and he loves going out there and competing and expressing himself on snow and that’s what I expect him to do, whether he’s 40, 41 or like he did when he was 24.”

Miller did not respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, there is no scheduled return date for Olympic giant slalom champion Ted Ligety, who is out nursing a sore back.

“We’re just trying to get this therapy to take effect right now,” Rearick said. “We’re not putting any timeline on when he’s coming back.”

Ligety has not competed since failing to finish the first run of a giant slalom in Alta Badia on Dec. 18.

“The first step is let the therapies take effect, second is once they’ve taken effect step progressively back into skiing — start out with free skiing, progress back into some easy training, then more challenging training,” Rearick said. “If all of that stuff goes well then we’ll start racing.”

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Russian skiers stay suspended awaiting Olympic doping cases

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Six Russian cross-country skiers will stay suspended until an IOC panel judges if they were part of a state-backed doping conspiracy at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport says the Olympic commission – chaired by International Olympic Committee member Denis Oswald – should deliver rulings “during the summer period.”

The court says the skiers will stay provisionally suspended until at least Oct. 31. They include Alexander Legkov, the Olympic 50-kilometer freestyle champion, and Maxim Vylegzhanin, a three-time silver medalist at Sochi.

The skiers appealed against interim bans imposed by the International Ski Federation in December after they were implicated by World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren.

CAS hearings this month did not examine detailed doping allegations against Legkov, Vylegzhanin, Alexey Petukhov, Evgenia Shapovalova, Evgeniy Belov and Julia Ivanova.

Tori Bowie upsets Elaine Thompson; Gatlin, Felix struggle at Pre

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Tori Bowie ran a statement 200m at the Pre Classic, clocking the fastest-ever time before the month of June and upsetting Olympic champion Elaine Thompson of Jamaica.

And she called it a training race.

“My coach made it clear that we were just training for nationals,” Bowie, huffing and puffing after winning in 21.77 seconds, told Lewis Johnson on NBC. “No pressure at all.”

Bowie, the Olympic 100m silver medalist and 200m bronze medalist, beat her personal best by .22 of a second.

While Bowie starred, U.S. stalwarts Allyson Felix and Justin Gatlin dropped to fifth-place finishes Saturday.

Full Pre Classic results are here.

Athletes are preparing for the U.S. Championships from June 23-25, a qualifying meet for the world championships in London in August.

Felix finished fifth in the 200m behind Bowie, Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller, Thompson and Olympic 200m silver medalist Dafne Schippers.

“Not that great, not that great today,” Felix said, according to meet officials. “I feel like my training is going well, it was good to get out here and see where I was at.”

Felix has a bye into the worlds in the 400m as defending world champion but is no longer a medal favorite in the 200m, where she won Olympic silver in 2004 and 2008 and gold in 2012. She clocked 22.33 seconds for fifth Saturday, which was .35 behind third-place Thompson.

Felix missed the 2016 Olympic team in the 200m by .01 while slowed by an ankle injury. But in 2015, a healthy Felix ran faster than 22.33 in all four of her 200m races.

Gatlin finished fifth in the 100m in 9.97 seconds, continuing his slowest season in recent years. At 35 years old, he is no longer looking like the top rival to Usain Bolt, who debuts in his farewell season June 10.

In fact, Gatlin may be in danger of not making the U.S. team in the 100m, which will be the top three finishers at nationals in four weeks.

In contrast, American Ronnie Baker is looking like a medal contender. He won Saturday in 9.86 seconds, which would be the fastest time in the world this year if not for too much tailwind (2.4 meters/second).

Baker, 23, has been a surprise this season, breaking 10 seconds a total of three times including Saturday. He was eliminated in the 2016 Olympic Trials semifinals and had not broken 10 seconds with legal wind before this year.

“My thoughts were, I’ve got every chance to win this just as much as everyone else does,” Baker told Lewis Johnson on NBC. “9.86 is unbelievable.”

Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen, a 16-year-old, became one of the youngest-ever to break four minutes in the mile. He finished 11th against a field of older runners.

Four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah held off Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha to extend his 5000m winning streak to 11 meets dating to 2013. Farah clocked 13:00.7 to Kejelcha’s 13:01.21.

It marked Farah’s last track race in the U.S. as the Oregon-based Brit plans to switch to marathon running after the world championships in August.

Rio gold medalist Caster Semenya barely extended her 800m undefeated streak to 16 finals. The scrutinized South Africa edged Olympic bronze medalist Margaret Wambui by one tenth of a second, clocking 1:59.78.

Olympic champion Omar McLeod took the 110m hurdles in 13.01 seconds, the fastest time in the world this year. McLeod beat a field that included Aries Merritt, the 2012 Olympic champion and world-record holder (12.80), and 2013 World champion David Oliver.

Christian Taylor, a two-time Olympic champion, recorded the third-best triple jump of all time, 18.11 meters.

Rio bronze medalist Sam Kendricks won the pole vault against a field that included Olympic champion Thiago Braz of Brazil, world-record holder Renaud Lavillenie of France and Swedish phenom Armand Duplantis, a Louisiana high school junior. Kendricks cleared 5.86 meters.

Olympic bronze medalist Ashley Spencer won the 400m hurdles in 53.38 seconds, a personal best and the fastest time in the world this year. Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad was fifth in her first 400m hurdles race of the year.

In the shot put, Olympic champion Ryan Crouser unleashed a 22.43-meter throw to beat a field including world champion Joe Kovacs.

Jasmin Stowers won the 100m hurdles in 12.59 seconds, .03 off the fastest time in the world this year. The field lacked suspended Olympic champion Brianna Rollins and world-record holder Keni Harrison, who recently suffered a broken hand.

Russian Maria Lasitskene won the high jump in her first competition outside of Russia since 2015, when she was world champion. Lasitskene competed as a neutral athlete Saturday as Russia is still banned from international competition due to its poor anti-doping record. Her 2.03-meter clearance matched the best in the world since June 2013.

The Diamond League continues in Rome on June 8, with coverage on NBC Sports Gold.

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