Lindsey Vonn gets 5th at worlds combined; Swiss go 1-2

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Lindsey Vonn placed fifth in the world championships super combined on Friday, while Swiss Wendy Holdener and Michelle Gisin gave the hosts a one-two finish in St. Moritz.

Vonn finished an Olympics or worlds super combined for the first time in 12 years, an encouraging result going into her final event at worlds, the downhill on Sunday (6 a.m. ET, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

“I think it’s a lot better than most people thought I would do,” Vonn said. “I may not have skied slalom in over a year, but I still know how to ski slalom. I’m not that bad. I have won slalom World Cups in my career. … All things considered, I did a pretty good job.”

She had failed to complete the slalom portion of the event in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2015 and also skied out of her first race this week, the super-G on Tuesday.

Vonn was sixth-fastest in the morning downhill, but, skiing with her injured right hand taped to her ski pole, moved up in the afternoon slalom, her weakest discipline, to finish .85 behind Holdener.

Vonn has finished a slalom in competition just three times in the last four years, all in combined races.

“It was definitely difficult, but, I mean, I grew up skiing slalom in Minnesota,” Vonn said on NBCSN. “So I figured I had some good muscle memory, and I charged it. I hit a gate on my face on, like, the third gate, but I think on the bottom part I skied really well. So I’m really happy with it. Fifth is OK. I’d rather be fifth than fourth, but I’d also rather be on the podium.”

Holdener beat countrywoman Gisin by .05, with Austrian Michaela Kirchgasser taking bronze.

“Can it get any better and more amazing in front of the home crowd, I don’t think so,” Gisin said.

Full results are here.

They marked the first world medals for Holdener and Gisin. Kirchgasser has now earned individual medals at three straight worlds.

Swiss Lara Gut, one of the pre-race favorites, ruptured an ACL falling in slalom warm-up after placing third in the morning downhill.

MORE: Alpine Worlds broadcast schedule

Chinese lead, star pairs struggle in world championships short program

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China’s Sui Wenjing and Han Cong recorded the highest pairs short program score in the world since the 2014 Olympics, topping the world championships field in Helsinki on Wednesday.

Two-time defending world champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada and Olympic silver medalists Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov are well behind in seventh and 13th place, respectively.

Sui and Han, in just their second event this season, tallied a personal-best 81.23 points.

They lead by 1.39 over Germans Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot going into the free skate Thursday (1 p.m. ET, NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

Russians Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov are in third.

The Chinese will go for their first world title after giving up a short-program lead last year and taking silver for a second straight time.

Full worlds short program results are here.

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Sui and Han missed the fall season after Sui underwent right ankle and left foot surgeries last spring. They returned at the Four Continents Championships in February and posted personal-best free skate and total scores, ranking only behind Tarasova and Morozov for the season.

Duhamel and Radford, looking to become the first pair to three-peat in 40 years, came in slowed by Radford’s hip injury suffered in the last week. Radford was off-balance on his triple toe loop landing Wednesday. Duhamel’s hand touched the ice on her throw triple Lutz landing.

They scored 72.67 points, which is 8.56 behind Sui and Han.

Stolbova and Klimov both suffered falls in their short program and scored 65.59, qualifying for the 16-pair free skate by four points. The Russian champions missed the autumn season due to Stolbova’s left leg injury.

The top U.S. pair was Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Christopher Knierim, who posted a personal-best 72.17 points for eighth place. The husband-and-wife pair are competing for the second time this season after Scimeca Knierim’s serious abdominal injury.

U.S. champions Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier suffered two falls and placed 20th, matching the worst U.S. pairs finish in worlds history. They did not qualify for the 16-pair free skate.

Therefore, the Knierims must finish 10th or better after the free skate to ensure the U.S. earns two pairs places at the 2018 Olympics.

Pairs is the U.S.’ weakest discipline. The last U.S. medal in pairs at worlds came in 2002. The last Olympic medal was in 1988.

North Korean pair Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik placed 14th in the short program, the highest of any pair expected to compete for one of four final Olympic quota spots in September.

North Korea sent no athletes to the Sochi Olympics, and it’s not a guarantee it will qualify any athletes for PyeongChang, or if it will send athletes to South Korea in February. But Ryom and Kim’s personal best by nearly 11 points on Wednesday was very encouraging.

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MORE: U.S. pairs skater back from life-threatening condition

Pairs Short Program
1. Sui Wenjing/Han Cong (CHN) — 81.23
2. Aliona Savchenko/Bruno Massot (GER) — 79.84
3. Yevgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS) — 79.37
8. Alexa Scimeca Knierim/Christopher Knierim (USA) — 72.17
20. Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier (USA) — 56.23

Missy Franklin out due to shoulder surgeries

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Missy Franklin is sidelined from swimming competition for an undisclosed period of time to recover from surgeries on both of her shoulders due to bursitis, according to her social media.

“This is what’s best for me to come stronger than ever,” was posted on Franklin’s Instagram. “I’m so far from being done with this sport.”

The five-time Olympic champion was diagnosed in early January following an MRI, underwent surgeries that month and has returned to limited training.

Franklin, who has not raced since the Rio Olympics, will not compete in the next USA Swimming Pro Series meet in Mesa, Ariz., in two weeks.

Her return date is not set.

The U.S. Championships are in June in Indianapolis and serve as a qualifying meet for the world championships in Budapest in July.

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