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Lindsey Vonn: Women viewed as ‘second-rate’ on World Cup

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Lindsey Vonn, after hearing European ski officials criticize her bid to race men, said that women are viewed as “second-rate” and “the pony show” on the World Cup circuit.

“I think it’s important for women to have equal rights,” Vonn said in a video interview posted by Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. “Sometimes there is a line, but I think that we need to balance that as best we can. There are definitely instances where we aren’t equal to men. It’s not always fair. Definitely is a generalization that we are kind of second-rate on the World Cup. You know, we’re the pony show, and the men are the real race horses. So that’s always disappointing to hear, but I think there definitely is a discrepancy in the level. Men are definitely better than women, so that is true. Yeah, I think that in general those offensive comments, people should just keep them to themselves.”

Earlier this month, International Ski Federation (FIS) men’s race director Markus Waldner was quoted in Austrian media calling Vonn a “princess” seeking a spotlight in her bid to race men next year.

FIS is expected to rule in May on a U.S. Ski and Snowboard team proposal for Vonn to race men in November 2018 at Lake Louise, which holds men’s and women’s races annually on the World Cup tour. It’s Vonn’s most successful venue, where she has won 18 times in 41 starts.

“I would hope that I would be somewhere around 20th [place against the men],” Vonn said earlier this month, echoing her previously stated goal. “I know that they’re the next level, and I want to get to that next level. It’s that reason that I want to race with them. I’m not really trying to prove anything. I know they can beat me, but I want to see where I stand.”

In the Aftonbladet interview, Vonn denied suggestions that she wanted to race men as a publicity stunt.

“I have enough media. I don’t need to do this for a show,” she said. “It’s just for me, for my personal ambition because the men are the next level. I want to compare myself against them. I train with them all the time. It makes me ski better, and I want to see what it’s like to race with them in a regular World Cup competition. I don’t want do some exhibition. I don’t want to do a show. I want it to be a real race. It’s pretty disappointing to hear some of the negative comments I’ve gotten, but everyone’s entitled to their opinion.”

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USOC CEO Scott Blackmun diagnosed with prostate cancer

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Scott Blackmun, the CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will not travel to South Korea for the PyeongChang Olympic Opening Ceremony.

The 60-year-old executive sent an email to staff Monday notifying them of his diagnosis and said he would have surgery later this week.

Blackmun is beginning his ninth year as the USOC’s leader.

He said physicians recommended he start treatment as soon as possible, and the treatment could prevent him from traveling to PyeongChang at all.

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Joss Christensen left off Olympic team; full U.S. freestyle skiing roster

Joss Christensen
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Joss Christensen, who led a U.S. ski slopestyle podium sweep in Sochi, was left off the 29-athlete team for PyeongChang on Monday.

Christensen attempted to come back from a May ACL tear (with meniscus damage) but was unable to finish on the podium in any of the Olympic qualifiers.

Here’s the full roster:

Aerials
Ashley Caldwell — 2010, 2014 Olympian
Kiley McKinnon
Madison Olsen
Mac Bohonnon — 2014 Olympian
Jonathon Lillis
Eric Loughran

Halfpipe
Maddie Bowman — 2014
Annalisa Drew — 2014
Devin Logan — 2014
Brita Sigourney — 2014
Aaron Blunck — 2014
Alex Ferreira
David Wise — 2014
Torin Yater-Wallace — 2014

Moguls
Tess Johnson
Jaelin Kauf
Keaton McCargo
Morgan Schild
Casey Andringa
Emerson Smith
Troy Murphy
Brad Wilson — 2014

Slopestyle
Caroline Claire
Devin Logan — 2014 (in slopestyle)
Darian Stevens
Maggie Voisin — 2014 (did not compete in Sochi)
Nick Goepper — 2014
Alex Hall
Gus Kenworthy — 2014
McRae Williams

MORE: U.S. Olympic roster now over 200 athletes; full list

In slopestyle, Christensen’s Sochi podium mates Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper earned automatic Olympic spots earlier this month.

World champion McRae Williams and Alex Hall got the nods for two spots picked by a committee on Monday. They ranked Nos. 3 and 4 behind Kenworthy and Goepper in Olympic qualifying standings, while Christensen was eighth.

Sochi women’s slopestyle silver medalist Devin Logan became the first American to make an Olympic team in two different freestyle skiing events — slopestyle and halfpipe.

In aerials, 2017 World champions Ashley Caldwell and Jonathon Lillis were added to the team Monday. So were Mac BohonnonEric Loughran and Madison Olsen.

Kiley McKinnon was the only aerialist to automatically qualify earlier this month.

Caldwell is going to her third Olympics. She finished 10th in 2010 and 2014, competing in the former as the youngest U.S. athlete across all sports as a 16-year-old.

Last season, Caldwell added her first world title to a resume that already included six World Cup victories and the 2016 World Cup season title. She finished third, seventh, ninth, 13th and 31st in five World Cups so far this season.

Lillis, 23, is going to his first Olympics. He won last season’s world title in a huge surprise, having never won a World Cup event (and only finishing on the podium once before). He has a best finish of sixth in six World Cup events this season.

McKinnon and Bohonnon swept the World Cup season titles in 2015. They also went to elementary school together in Connecticut.

Six of the eight halfpipe skiers qualified earlier this season. The additions Monday were Annalisa Drew and Aaron Blunck, who were the top performers from Olympic qualifiers who didn’t clinch automatic spots.

The halfpipe team is the exact same as in Sochi except for Alex Ferreira replacing Lyman Currier.

Maddie Bowman and David Wise are the defending Olympic gold medalists from the event that debuted in Sochi.

Of the eight moguls skiers, only Brad Wilson has Olympic experience, finishing 20th in Sochi.

The top medal hope is Jaelin Kauf, a 21-year-old daughter of two moguls skiers. Kauf qualified automatically for the Olympic team earlier this month and leads the World Cups standings.

Andringa is a great story. The 22-year-old lived in a tent with his brother in Steamboat Springs, Colo., this summer to supplement training costs. He raced World Cup for the first time on Jan. 6 and placed seventh and fifth in his first two starts to earn a spot on the team.

The top U.S. moguls skier the last two Olympics — Hannah Kearney — retired in 2015.

The U.S. is not sending a ski cross racer to the Olympics for the first time. The event debuted in 2010, and the U.S. has never earned a medal.

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