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Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso could return next week

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ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Lindsey Vonn could make her World Cup return in Austria next week, two months after undergoing surgery on a broken arm.

The Alpine director of the U.S. ski team, Patrick Riml, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Vonn had resumed ski training in Colorado this week and that she planned to travel to Europe at the weekend.

“She had a couple of free runs yesterday,” Riml said. “Her coach Chris (Knight) is on the way to Colorado. They are planning on free skiing today and then decide on what’s possible, on what makes sense.”

A downhill and a combined event are scheduled for Altenmarkt-Zauchensee on Jan. 14-15, with more speed races coming up in Germany and Italy ahead of the Feb. 6-19 world championships in Switzerland.

“Maybe she needs more training, maybe she feels confident,” Riml said. “We are hoping that she comes back rather sooner than later, maybe it’s Altenmarkt, maybe it’s Garmisch, maybe it’s Cortina. It all depends on how things are going the next couple of days.”

The four-time overall champion, who broke her right arm in a crash while training in Colorado in November, hasn’t raced since fracturing her left knee during a super-G crash in Andorra in February 2016.

The knee injury hampered her preparation for the new season, and Vonn decided to sit out the opening giant slalom race in Austria in October in order to focus on speed races in Canada late November.

However, the training crash on Nov. 11 prevented her from competing again.

Speaking the day before a men’s World Cup slalom in Zagreb, Riml said: “Her time on snow in the whole prep period was very limited. We just have to see how her hand is feeling, how her whole body is feeling the next couple of days and then make the decision when it is the right time for her to come back.”

Another American standout, Julia Mancuso, was also planning her return to World Cup racing in January, probably in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, after sitting out last season following hip surgery.

Riml said Mancuso, a winner of nine medals at major championships, was set to join the American speed team for training sessions on the Turracher Hoehe pass in Austria this week.

“Then we’ll have to see how she is feeling. She didn’t have too many days on speed skis,” Riml said. “She’s going into the training runs in Zauchensee, and then we’ll decide whether it makes sense for her to compete or not.”

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Ex-USA Gymnastics doctor faces at least 25 years in prison

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DETROIT (AP) — A sports doctor accused of molesting several girls while working for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University will plead guilty to multiple charges of sexual assault and face at least 25 years in prison, a person with knowledge of the agreement said Tuesday.

The person was not authorized to publicly discuss the agreement ahead of a Wednesday court hearing for Dr. Larry Nassar in Michigan’s Ingham County and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Nassar, 54, is charged with molesting seven girls, all but one of whom were gymnasts, mostly under the guise of treatment at his Lansing-area home and a campus clinic. He’s facing similar charges in a neighboring county and lawsuits filed by more than 125 women and girls.

Olympians Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney are among the women who have publicly said they were among Nassar’s victims.

The plea deal in Ingham County calls for a minimum prison sentence of 25 years, but a judge could set the minimum sentence as high as 40 years. In Michigan, inmates are eligible for parole after serving a minimum sentence.

The girls have testified that Nassar molested them with his hands, sometimes when a parent was present in the room, while they sought help for gymnastics injuries.

“He convinced these girls that this was some type of legitimate treatment,” Assistant Attorney General Angela Poviliatis told a judge last summer. “Why would they question him? Why would they question this gymnastics god?”

Separately, Nassar is charged with similar crimes in Eaton County, the location of an elite gymnastics club. He also is awaiting sentencing in federal court on child pornography charges.

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MORE: Aly Raisman in book: ‘Horrible memories’ with Larry Nassar

Gabby Douglas: ‘We were abused by Larry Nassar’

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Gabby Douglas is the third member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team to say she was abused by then-USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar.

“It would be like saying that because of the leotards we wore, it was our fault that we were abused by Larry Nassar,” was part of a post on Douglas’ Instagram on Tuesday apologizing for a Friday tweet that generated criticism. “I didn’t publicly share my experiences as well as many other things because for years we were conditioned to stay silent and honestly some things were extremely painful.”

They marked Douglas’ first public comments about Nassar since many gymnasts said starting last year that the doctor sexually abused them under the guise of medical treatment.

It wasn’t totally clear from her post whether Douglas, the 2012 Olympic all-around champion, said she was abused, but one of her representatives confirmed it, according to multiple reports.

Douglas’ post came four days after her comment on teammate Aly Raisman‘s tweet generated criticism (see below).

Raisman said two weeks ago that she was sexually abused by Nassar while on the national team.

A third 2012 Olympian, McKayla Maroney, said last month that she was sexually abused by Nassar during her national-team career.

Nassar is in jail in Michigan awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography.

He’s also awaiting trial on separate criminal sexual conduct charges and has been sued by more than 125 women alleging abuse.

Nassar pleaded not guilty to the assault charges but is expected to change pleas to guilty Wednesday and on Nov. 29 in bids to close criminal cases against him.

“We are appalled by the conduct of which Larry Nassar is accused, and we are very sorry that any athlete has been harmed during her or his gymnastics career,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement last week. “Aly’s passion and concern for athlete safety is shared by USA Gymnastics. Our athletes are our priority, and we are committed to promoting an environment of empowerment that encourages speaking up, especially on difficult topics like abuse, as well the protection of athletes at all levels throughout our gymnastics community.”

Douglas last competed at the Rio Olympics and has not publicly said whether she will return to competition.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

please hear my heart

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