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Pole vault star latest Olympic champion to withdraw from worlds

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Thiago Braz, the lone Brazilian to win track and field gold at the Rio Olympics, will reportedly not pole vault at the world championships in London next month.

Braz, 23, is out of worlds due to poor form, a calf injury and back pain and will not compete again this year, according to Brazilian media.

The shock Rio gold medalist struggled in his follow-up season, ranking outside the top 40 outdoors this year with a top clearance of 5.60 meters.

Braz cleared an Olympic record 6.03 meters to upset world-record holder Renaud Lavillenie in Rio. He also cleared 5.86 meters this past winter indoor season.

Olympic bronze medalist Sam Kendricks is the only man to clear six meters this season, going undefeated in 10 competitions, according to Tilastopaja.org. The lone American man to win a world pole vault title was Brad Walker in 2007.

Other stars who will miss worlds include Rio gold medalists Eliud Kipchoge (marathon) and Brianna Rollins (100m hurdles) and London Olympic champions Taoufik Makhloufi (1500m) and Greg Rutherford (long jump).

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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.