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Lindsey Vonn develops friendship with young skier battling cancer

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Lindsey Vonn says that Hedda Sivertsson is “as big of an inspiration to me as I am to her.”

Hedda, a 14-year-old skier, was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a malignant high-risk, cancerous tumor in her brain in summer 2015. She skied through chemotherapy and radiation. The cancer was briefly in remission, but came back. She underwent another brain surgery last month.

Vonn and Hedda struck up a friendship in 2016 and have exchanged video messages. In November, Vonn met Hedda in Colorado, documented by the U.S. Ski Team.

“When you meet an amazing girl who is bravely battling cancer, it makes the important things in life more clear,” was posted on Vonn’s social media. “Hedda you inspire me. Keep fighting girl.”

This past week, Vonn received a video message from Hedda, who was recently released after spending a month in the hospital and undergoing the brain surgery. The video was played for Vonn by Sweden newspaper Expressen. Hedda’s parents are Swedish.

Hedda congratulated Vonn for coming back from three fractures in her left knee and a broken right upper arm to win a downhill the previous weekend.

“I’m hoping to recover soon as well,” said Hedda, who lives in New Jersey. “I hope you have good luck this weekend.”

Vonn called Hedda “a fighter.”

“I’m grateful that she reached out to me,” Vonn said. “She’s just as big of an inspiration to me as I am to her.”

For more on Hedda, visit the Team Hedda Facebook page.

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Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir recall their childhood dating breakup (video)

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Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir discussed their brief dating relationship early on in their ice-dance partnership in an interview on “Ellen” published Tuesday.

No, they are not currently dating, as was reported when they won their second Olympic ice dance title in PyeongChang.

“If we were, we would announce it here,” Virtue said on “Ellen.”

“We did date,” Moir said, adding jokingly, “In order to advance our partnership, we had to put the hot-and-heavy relationship on the side.”

“Which meant you had to break up with me,” Virtue said.

“I broke up with Tessa, and none of my friends have let me live that down since,” Moir said.

So they did date.

“If you can call it that,” Moir said. “I think mostly our families were laughing at us. They kind of set us up. It was the same thing, actually, when we started ice dancing. They just kind of us put us together. I think it was for their amusement. Then, all of a sudden, 20 years later we’re still doing it, so joke’s on them.”

Virtue and Moir discussed their brief dating period in their 2011 book, Tessa and Scott: Our Journey from Childhood Dream to Gold:

“My sister and Scott’s cousin decided it would be kind of cute if we were ‘dating,'” Tessa says. “And I liked Scott. I don’t know if he liked me, but we just went along with it.”

“Were we not the hot topic by week four, though?” Scott asks rhetorically. “We were the big new couple on campus. We ‘dated’ for eight months. Why do I remember that? Because eight months is a long time for eight and ten years old. We probably only had two phone conversations and I remember my brothers talking me through the phone call with her, I was so nervous. We’d sit there and not say anything. It was a cool thing to do: phone and talk to each other.”

“Dating” was a little strong. It was the summer of 1997, and heading into grades there and five they were too young for even puppy love, so it was just a label that others attached to them, mostly for their own amusement.

Tessa talked about Scott during school hours at Stoneybrook Public School, but when Scott’s friends at Oxbow Public School found out about Tessa, he somehow felt he had to “end” it. His friends called Tessa and quickly handed the phone back to Scott, who blurted, “I don’t want to go out with you any more,” then hung up.

And although for the next dozen years every reporter and skating fan, and eventually, millions of TV viewers, tried to link them as boyfriend and girlfriend, that has been the extend of their romantic history.

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Two Italian cities discuss possible Winter Olympic bid

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ROME (AP) — Milan and Turin are in discussions with the Italian Olympic Committee about a possible bid for the 2026 Winter Games.

Turin Mayor Chiara Appendino sent a letter of interest to CONI on Sunday despite divisions in her own party, the populist 5-Star Movement, on a candidacy. Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala met with CONI president Giovanni Malago on Monday.

“I think Milan has everything required but we won’t do anything without a government and its approval,” Sala said Tuesday.

Italy awaits a new government in the next few weeks following a national election this month that yielded no clear majority.

CONI is still recovering from its dropped Rome bid for the 2024 Summer Games, which ended following staunch opposition from Mayor Virginia Raggi, who also represents the 5-Star Movement.

Among the cities which have shown preliminary interest for 2026: Calgary, Canada; Sion, Switzerland; and Sapporo, Japan.

Turin hosted the Winter Games in 2006. The 2026 host will be decided by the International Olympic Committee in Milan in September 2019.

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