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Breanna Stewart wants to play 5-on-5 and 3-on-3 in Tokyo

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Breanna Stewart has the versatility that lends well to the Olympic debut of 3-on-3 basketball at the Tokyo Games.

If Stewart has the opportunity, she would like to show off those skills. The Seattle Storm forward thinks she could go for two gold medals in 2020.

“If it’s possible to play both, I would love to play both,” Stewart said Sunday, two days after 3-on-3 was added to the Olympic program. “I mean, who wouldn’t?”

LeBron James wouldn’t.

“Growing up playing basketball, you play 3-on-3,” Stewart said before her Storm lost to the New York Liberty at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. “You go to the [YMCA], you play 3-on-3. It highlights people’s skill a lot more because it’s only six players on the court. It’s how you can be better than the defender.”

Stewart, 22, became the youngest U.S. Olympic women’s basketball player since 1988 in Rio. She won her fourth NCAA title with Connecticut and was drafted No. 1 overall by the Storm last year.

She may be limited in her 2020 Olympic choices.

FIBA hasn’t announced the qualifying or competition format for Olympic 3-on-3. A FIBA spokesman said Monday that process will take at least two more months to determine.

IOC sports director Kit McConnell said Friday that 3-on-3 players will be “specialists” without providing more specifics.

Even if FIBA allows WNBA or NBA players in 3-on-3, USA Basketball and, potentially, the pro leagues would have to sign off.

Recent Olympic women’s basketball tournaments have run from Day 1 through Day 15 of the Games. If that remains, it’s hard to imagine players taking part in the traditional 5-on-5, then switching to a 3-on-3 game, and then back again.

While no NBA players have taken part in FIBA-sanctioned global 3-on-3 competitions, some WNBA notables competed in 3-on-3 world championships while still in college (Skylar Diggins, Bria Hartley and Chiney Ogwumike in 2012, Jewell Loyd in 2014).

Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson, UConn’s top two scorers last season, earned 3-on-3 gold at the 2014 Youth Olympics.

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World downhill champion Ilka Stuhec tears ACL

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Lindsey Vonn’s top rival for downhill gold is in danger of missing the upcoming Olympics.

Ilka Stuhec, a world champion Alpine skier from Slovenia, suffered a torn ACL after a practice crash in Austria this weekend.

Stuhec had become a strong medal favorite for PyeongChang after winning FIS World Cup titles in downhill and Alpine combined last season. She also won a gold medal in downhill at the 2017 World Championships, where Vonn placed third.

According to a post on the FIS website, surgery is set for this Wednesday, with more information to come after that. But preliminary reports suggest that she is likely to miss the Olympics.

“For now it looks like Ilka Stuhec will have to miss a large part or maybe the whole World Cup season, including the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea,” a spokesperson for Struhec told Reuters.

In a tweet, Struhec acknowledged that she would be sidelined “for a few months.”

The Olympics start in less than four months.

 

U.S. Ski & Snowboard mourns after 17-year-old aerials skier found dead

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Mikey Lillis, a 17-year-old aerials skier, died in his sleep at his home in East Rochester, N.Y., overnight Saturday, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard.

“We are a family, and as a family our entire team grieves for Mikey, his own family and his teammates,” U.S. Ski & Snowboard President and CEO Tiger Shaw said in a statement. “We’ll remember him for the pathway he was following and the goals he was beginning to achieve. Our condolences go out to his parents Bernie and Jamie and the entire Lillis family.”

Lillis was working his way to join his two older brothers at the elite international level. He made three podiums on the Nor-Am Cup tour between the last two seasons.

Jon Lillis, 23, is the reigning world champion in aerials. Chris Lillis, 19, won the FIS Rookie of the Year award last season with four top-10 finishes on the World Cup.