Lindsey Vonn avoids serious injury in training crash

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CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy (AP) — Lindsey Vonn avoided more serious injury when she fell and crashed into the safety netting during a World Cup downhill training session Friday.

The American, who returned this month from nearly a year out with knee and arm injuries, lost control after getting too much air at a tricky left turn on the upper portion of the Olympia delle Tofane course.

After pausing to collect herself, Vonn skied down to the finish area.

“I just caught a lot of air off this jump between the turns and I landed and hit another bump and just went in the fences in a little bit,” Vonn said. “But I’m fine.”

Vonn added that her right arm — the same one she broke in a training crash in Copper Mountain, Colorado, in November — “might be a little sore tomorrow.”

Vonn is slated to race in a downhill on Saturday (4:30 a.m. ET, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app; 7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) and a super-G on Sunday (5:30 a.m. ET, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app; 5:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Vonn holds the resort record of 11 wins in Cortina.

Italian veteran Elena Fanchini fell in the same spot, also without serious consequences.

Vonn was only 0.11 seconds behind then-leader Ilka Stuhec at the first interval, right before she went down as the course went from bright sunshine to shade.

“That’s not what makes it tricky,” Vonn said of the change of light. “It’s there’s a bit of a lip there and some people are catching a lot of air, some people are catching no air. I got like 20-25 meters (yards) and I just didn’t have enough time to land it and had to make the switch right away and there just wasn’t enough time before I hit the fence.”

Vonn discussed the terrain with International Ski Federation race director Jean-Philippe Vulliet.

“Tomorrow with race speeds I’m going to fly even farther, so I think they should just clean that up a little bit it should be perfect for the race,” the four-time overall World Cup champion said.

Verena Stuffer of Italy led the training session, 0.05 ahead of defending overall champion Lara Gut and 0.34 in front of Sofia Goggia.

Stuhec, who leads the downhill standings with three wins this season, was fourth.

Julia Mancuso, another American standout who is returning from hip surgery, struggled in 47th position, nearly 4 1/2 seconds behind Stuffer.

“It’s hard to get back in the middle of the season,” Mancuso said, adding that she’s still regaining strength in her right hip. “I still have a long way to go before I’m 100 percent strong and ready to compete for the top step of the podium. But you have to start somewhere.”

Mancuso has claimed one win and six second-place results in Cortina over her career. But she has not raced since March 2015.

“I think I’m ready for the super-G,” she said. “I’m going to talk to my coaches about (the downhill). The high speed is really demanding. I don’t want to compete until I’m actually ready to compete and be in there.”

For the U.S. team, this is the final weekend of qualifying for next month’s world championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Unless the coaches select her based merely on experience — she has won nine medals at the Olympics and worlds — Mancuso needs a solid result this weekend to make the team.

“I hope that I can get a chance to improve and show that I’m ready to fight and be competitive with a little more training,” Mancuso said.

Vonn, meanwhile, is aiming to win after claiming a downhill in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, last weekend in just her second race back.

“It’s been a while since I crashed in a downhill training run but I’m glad that it’s just training,” Vonn said. “I’ve had so much success on this hill I’m not really worried about not having a training run today. I know this hill, I know what to do and I have confidence now. I just need to do some therapy, reset and be ready for tomorrow.”

MORE: Shiffrin, seeking title, makes rare start with Vonn

Crash test✔️ my arm is still in one piece 👍🏻💪🏻 good thing the race isn't until tomorrow, I'll be ready!

A post shared by L I N D S E Y • V O N N (@lindseyvonn) on

Gymnastics doctor’s lawyers want trial moved, cite media coverage

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Attorneys for a former Michigan State and USA Gymnastics doctor accused of molesting dozens of athletes are pushing to have his trial moved out of the Lansing area.

The Lansing State Journal reports that attorneys representing Larry Nassar filed a change-of-venue request because of what they called “inflammatory and sustained media coverage” that they say has made it difficult for Nassar to get a fair trial in the area.

The media attention grew more intense this week when 21-year-old 2012 Olympic gold medal gymnast McKayla Maroney wrote on Twitter that Nassar started assaulting her when she was 13.

Nassar has pleaded not guilty to nearly two dozen charges in Michigan. He has pleaded guilty to three child pornography charges in an unrelated case but has not been sentenced.

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MORE: Aly Raisman speaks out about USA Gymnastics scndal

Nathan Chen holds off Yuzuru Hanyu to win first Grand Prix

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U.S. champion Nathan Chen opened the Grand Prix season by beating Olympic gold-medal favorite Yuzuru Hanyu.

Chen, 18, held off Hanyu at Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, totaling 293.79 points to win by 3.02 over the Japanese megastar.

Russian Yevgenia Medvedeva easily won the women’s title despite a rare fall in her free skate. Medvedeva is undefeated since 2015 Rostelecom Cup.

Full scores are here.

Chen landed four quadruple jumps in a strong but imperfect free skate for his first Grand Prix title in his second senior international season.

“I got a little tired halfway through the program and started faltering a little bit on the second quad toe – that was a big mistake,” Chen said, according to the International Skating Union .”I can’t let things like that happen in the future. But this is my first Grand Prix win, and I’m very happy with that.”

Hanyu outscored Chen in the free skate, but the American benefited from his 5.69-point lead from Friday’s short program.

Hanyu, the reigning Olympic and world champion, has never won his opening Grand Prix start in eight tries.

He did three quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate rather than the planned five, but did not fall as he did in the short program.

Chen has now outscored Hanyu in three of their last four head-to-head events dating to February. Hanyu got the better of Chen at the most important event — winning the world championships, where the American was sixth.

Also Saturday, two-time world medalists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani won the ice dance with 189.24 points, sweeping both the short and free programs.

The siblings and U.S. champions have now won four straight Grand Prix titles (not counting the Grand Prix Final).

They won by 4.5 points over Russians Yekaterina Bobrova and Dmitry Soloviyev.

The world’s top two couples were not in the field — Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron.

Russia swept the pairs podium, led by world bronze medalists Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov.

The top pairs teams from the rest of the world — including world champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong — were not in the field.

The Rostelecom Cup women’s free skate is later Saturday.

The Grand Prix season continues next weekend with Skate Canada, headlined by three-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner and three-time world champion Patrick Chan.

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Rostelecom Cup
Men
1. Nathan Chen (USA) — 293.79
2. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) — 290.77
3. Mikhail Kolyada (RUS) — 271.06
11. Grant Hochstein (USA) — 206.09

Women
1. Yevgenia Medvedeva (RUS) — 231.21
2. Carolina Kostner (ITA) — 215.98
3. Wakaba Higuchi (JPN) — 207.17
6. Mariah Bell (USA) — 188.56
9. Mirai Nagasu (USA) — 178.25

Ice Dance
1. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) — 189.24
2. Yekaterina Bobrova/Dmitry Soloviyev (RUS) — 184.74
3. Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin (RUS) — 179.35
7. Rachel Parsons/Michael Parsons (USA) — 148.75

Pairs
1. Yevgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS) — 224.25
2. Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov (RUS) — 204.43
3. Kristina Astakhova/Aleksey Rogonov (RUS) — 199.11
7. Marissa Castelli/Mervin Tran (USA) — 170.53