AP

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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Teddy Riner, dominant judoka, to skip 2018, 2019 Worlds

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French judoka Teddy Riner, arguably the world’s most dominant athlete, will reportedly skip the next two world championships before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

French coach Franck Chambily said Riner will compete a light international schedule the next two years ahead of what would be his fourth Olympics, according to Agence France-Presse.

Riner, a 29-year-old, 6-foot-8-inch native of Guadeloupe, is undefeated since 2010 with a reported 144-match winning streak. That includes Olympic titles in 2012 and 2016 and world titles in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Before the streak, Riner also earned world titles in 2007, 2009 and 2010, plus an Olympic bronze at age 19 in 2008.

He could compete through the 2024 Paris Games.

“When I am invincible, I will stop,” Riner said in 2013, according to The Associated Press.

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Maggie Nichols wins NCAA all-around title with perfect 10

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Even after a perfect 10 in the last rotation, Maggie Nichols didn’t know that she had won the NCAA all-around title. Her coach at Oklahoma, K.J. Kindler, had to tell her.

The reaction?

“Excitement,” Nichols said Friday night on ESPNU. “I just wanted to go out there and feel out the equipment, staying calm and doing my routines that I have been doing in training.”

Nichols, a 2015 World team champion who retired from elite gymnastics after missing the 2016 Olympic team (set back by a torn meniscus that year), became the first Sooner to win the NCAA all-around in 30 years.

The sophomore tallied 39.8125 points and topped Olympic alternate MyKayla Skinner of Utah by .0875 for the title in St. Louis. It came one year after Nichols was 29th in the all-around with a balance beam fall.

Oklahoma and Utah will be joined in Saturday night’s Super Six team finals by UCLA, LSU, Florida and Nebraska. The Sooners eye their third straight national title.

Nichols capped her night with one of two perfect scores between the two semifinal sessions, matching 2012 Olympic alternate Elizabeth Price‘s 10 on uneven bars. It gave Nichols a second career gym slam, a perfect score on every apparatus for the season.

On Jan. 9, Nichols came forward as “Athlete A,” who first reported to USA Gymnastics that she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar in summer 2015.

“She has had a really unique year probably like no one else, and her strength showed through,” Kindler said Friday, according to the University of Oklahoma. “It was tough, and to come out on this side this year is really special.”

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