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Lindsey Vonn’s goal in race versus men remains the same, 5 years later

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Lindsey Vonn‘s reported goal is to finish in the top 30 of a men’s World Cup race, should she get the opportunity before her expected retirement in two years.

“I think that would be doable,” Vonn said, according to a Ski Racing magazine article published Tuesday. “In men’s races, they’re so tight there’s usually only a second and a half to 30th, especially in Lake Louise where it’s an easier track for them.”

Vonn petitioned the International Ski Federation (FIS) both in 2012 and this year (and perhaps instances in between) to be allowed to enter a men’s race at her favorite venue — Lake Louise, Alberta, which traditionally hosts men’s speed races in late November and women’s speed races the following weekend.

So far, her bids have been denied by FIS, but her (and the U.S. Ski Team’s) case is slated to be discussed again in October. FIS said in 2012 “that one gender is not entitled to participate in races of the other.”

Vonn has won 18 times in 41 career World Cup starts at Lake Louise and eyes a men’s race there in November 2018 in what could be her final season of racing.

“There are some commentators who think that I would be far outside of the men,” Vonn said in 2012, according to The New York Times. “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but I’d like the chance to compete against them and see where I stand. I’d definitely like to be inside the points, in the top 30.”

Vonn was quoted in Tuesday’s Ski Racing story saying that she sometimes beat male Norwegian downhill star Aksel Lund Svindal in training five or six years ago.

Svindal, the pre-eminent men’s speed racer over the last decade, has publicly backed Vonn’s bid for years.

“My experience is if you are on a hill that she likes, and you don’t ski good, she can beat you,” Svindal said in 2012, at the height of Vonn’s dominance, according to the Canadian Press. “It’s realistic that she would be in the race.

“I say let her race. To get America more involved in skiing would be good for us. From a marketing point of view, it seems very strange to just cut it off like that and say ’not possible.’

“If I was FIS, I would keep that door open. Those are the kind of stories that are bigger than the sport and the kind of stories that would be popular in America.”

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USA Gymnastics settles sex abuse lawsuit

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — USA Gymnastics has reached a confidential settlement in a Georgia lawsuit that spurred a newspaper investigation into the organization’s practices for reporting child abuse.

A former gymnast filed the lawsuit against USA Gymnastics in 2013, alleging that the organization that trains Olympians received at least four warnings about coach William McCabe, who videotaped her in various states of undress.

The lawsuit revealed that USA Gymnastics wouldn’t forward child sex abuse allegations to authorities unless they were in writing and signed by a victim or a victim’s parent.

A judge in Effingham County, Georgia, dismissed the lawsuit on April 12, according to court records. USA Gymnastics admits no wrongdoing or liability in the settlement, said W. Brian Cornwell of Cornwell & Stevens LLP, the gymnast’s lawyer.

Both parties have declined to comment on the settlement.

“We want to make it clear that the settlement does not prevent the former gymnast from speaking publicly about her experiences,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement Thursday.

McCabe pleaded guilty in Georgia in 2006 to federal charges of sexual exploitation of children and making false statements. He’s serving a 30-year prison sentence.

The suit sparked The Indianapolis Star’s investigation of USA Gymnastics, which exposed abuse by Larry Nassar, a former Michigan State University sports doctor, and spurred the resignations of the organization’s president and board.

Nassar, 54, pleaded guilty to molesting patients and possessing child pornography. He was sentenced this year to prison terms that will keep him locked up for life after roughly 200 women gave statements against him in two courtrooms over 10 days.

USA Gymnastics faces additional lawsuits from women who say Nassar sexually abused them. The suits allege the organization was negligent, fraudulent and intentionally inflicted emotional distress by failing to warn or protect athletes from Nassar’s abuse. The organization has denied the allegations and wants the lawsuits dismissed.

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Max Aaron retires from figure skating

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Max Aaron, a national champion and Skate America winner, has retired from competitive figure skating.

Aaron, 26, ends his career as the only Skate America men’s winner not to compete in an Olympics. He is one of three U.S. men’s champions in the last 55 years not to compete in an Olympics, along with Ryan Bradley and Rudy Galindo.

“Of course, becoming an Olympian, or having an Olympic medal would have been great to say, ride off on my white horse, but having the ability to say that I have no regrets in my entire career of figure skating, for me that is my gold medal,” Aaron said Thursday night.

Aaron, a former top USA Hockey developmental player, also figure skated growing up to help with his skating skills as one of the smaller players on his team.

He stopped playing hockey at 16 due to a broken vertebra but continued full-time with figure skating. By 2012, Aaron considered quitting figure skating after placing eighth at nationals (one year after being U.S. junior champion) and being told he wasn’t artistic enough.

But Aaron kept with it and completed a remarkable bounce back the next year, winning the U.S. title and setting himself up as a favorite to make the 2014 Olympic team.

But Aaron ended up third at the 2014 U.S. Championships. The two Sochi Olympic spots went to Jeremy Abbott and Jason Brown.

Aaron continued, becoming the first U.S. man to win Skate America in six years in 2015 and topping the short program at the 2016 U.S. Championships before ultimately finishing second to Adam Rippon.

Aaron plummeted to ninth at the 2017 U.S. Championships, coming back from offseason hernia surgery, but returned to the Olympic team radar last fall with a personal-best free skate at Cup of China, including three landed quadruple jumps. He went into the 2018 U.S. Championships ranking third among American men for the season.

But Aaron was again ninth at nationals, missing the Olympic team. He was called on to compete at last month’s world championships as the third alternate after Rippon, Ross Miner and Brown all passed.

Aaron had stopped skating and instead was training for a triathlon. He went to worlds in Milan on two weeks of training and finished 11th, a result that helped the U.S. keep three men’s spots for 2019 Worlds. Nathan Chen won the world title, but Vincent Zhou was 14th. The U.S. needed its second man to be 12th or better to go along with Chen’s first place to ensure three spots next year. Aaron reportedly said at worlds that it may have been his last competition.

Aaron said he’s started a job with Merrill Lynch.

“It’s really been a great ride. I have no regrets,” he said. “That’s one thing that I always told myself, in sport, in life, I want to have no regrets, and I can honestly say, with the help from my coaches and friends, that I have no regrets in the sport.”

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