Emily Seebohm keeps Australia from winless swim worlds (video)

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Australia is on the board at the swimming world championships.

Emily Seebohm won the Aussies’ first gold medal on the seventh day of the eight-day meet, ensuring the formerly dominant swim nation doesn’t go winless at an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 1986.

Seebohm, who swept the backstrokes at the 2015 Worlds, won in a national record 2:05.68 in Budapest on Saturday. She edged Hungarian Katinka Hosszu by .17, with American Kathleen Baker taking bronze.

Baker also took silver in the 100m back at the Olympics and earlier this week.

Seebohm bounced back from a poor Rio Games, where she was seventh in the 100m back and 12th in the 200m back. She was diagnosed with endometriosis later in 2016 and underwent surgery in December. She also had wisdom teeth removed in January.

Given that, her tears on the pool deck after Saturday’s victory were understandable.

“I guess for me it was really hard after Rio, I knew there was a lot going on in my body, and I really pushed through in Rio,” Seebohm said, according to Swimming Australia. “I had to rush back into the water and train really hard for this and I’m just amazed at what I have achieved tonight.”

The Aussies won seven combined silver and bronze medals this week before Seebohm’s breakthrough. Still, they could finish behind China for second place in the medal standings.

Australia has fought with China and Japan as the world’s second-best swim nation for the last several years. This comes after an era where the Aussies challenged the U.S. for pool supremacy in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Women’s 200m Backstroke Results
Gold: Emily Seebohm (AUS) — 2:05.68
Silver: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) — 2:05.85
Bronze: Kathleen Baker (USA) — 2:06.48
4. Kaylee McKeown (AUS) — 2:06.76
5. Kylie Masse (CAN) — 2:07.04
6. Hilary Caldwell (CAN) — 2:07.15
7. Daria Ustinova (RUS) — 2:07.35
8. Regan Smith (USA) — 2:07.42

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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

U.S. Ski & Snowboard
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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.