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Wayde van Niekerk out 6 months after rugby injury

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Wayde van Niekerk, the Olympic and world 400m champion and world-record holder, is expected to be sidelined until at least April with a torn meniscus and ACL suffered in a celebrity tag rugby match on Oct. 7.

“His coach wasn’t happy about that [it happening at a tag rugby match],” Van Niekerk’s agent said Tuesday. Van Niekerk is famously coached by Ans Botha, a great-grandmother.

Van Niekerk is undergoing surgery Tuesday after getting married this past weekend.

He is out through at least the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, in early April.

The Commonwealth Games are the biggest meet for many countries next year, including Van Niekerk’s South Africa.

Van Niekerk, after taking gold and silver in the 400m and 200m at words in August, spoke of potentially trying the 100m-200m double at Commonwealths.

“I was looking forward to competing in the 100m and 200m events in Gold Coast, and participating at the national championships in March, so this is unfortunate timing,” Van Niekerk said in a statement Tuesday. “But this is sport and these things happen. I trust that the team I have around me, including the medical professionals, will make this process as smooth as possible.

“I have faith that‚ God willing‚ I’ll be able to race again later next year.

“Full recovery is going to be crucial‚ so I’ll be patient‚ but I will work as hard as I can to get back on the track as soon as possible.”

The U.S. is not part of the Commonwealth of Nations. Instead, the notable countries competing at the Games are Australia, Canada, Jamaica, South Africa and the nations that make up Great Britain at the Olympics, led by England.

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MORE: Niekerk sees different double in his future, or none at all

What is the Alpine skiing team event?

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The Alpine skiing team event will make its Olympic debut in PyeongChang

How to watch
Friday, Feb. 23, 9:00 p.m. ET
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Olympic skiing has always been an individual sport. Simply, the fastest skier down the mountain wins the gold medal.

But the world’s best skiers will have to rely on their teammates for the first time in the team event, which is making its Olympic debut in PyeongChang.

The team event will feature 16 teams, or nations, of four athletes (two men and two women). The 16 teams will be arranged in a bracket-style, single-elimination format. Think NCAA March Madness.

A skier from each of the two competing nations will race down the course in a series of head-to-head slalom races. The winner will earn a point for his or her team. The team with the most points after four heats will advance. If the teams have the same number of points, the winner will be the nation with the lower combined time of its fastest male and female competitor.

Teams are allowed to have a maximum of two reserves.

France won the team event at the 2017 World Championships. The U.S., competing without Mikaela Shiffrin, was knocked out in the first round by Canada.

“It’s a really fun event,” said American AJ Ginnis. “The atmosphere—the fact that you get to race with girls and guys and it’s a team effort is really cool.”

Men’s snowboard big air preview

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Now that Anna Gasser of Austria has successfully captured the first-ever Olympic gold medal in women’s snowboard big air, it’s almost time to crown the first-ever Olympic champion on the men’s side.

Big air snowboarding has progressed tremendously in recent years, and there’s been a lot of build-up to these Olympics, so expect heavy tricks to come out quickly in the final.

Or as Mark McMorris put it: “There’s probably [going to be] some mind-boggling s—.”

Every time there’s a big air event, there’s always talk about “quads” — a type of trick that features four inverted flips. It’s such a progressive trick that only two riders have landed a quad in competition, only a few others have done it in training, and many are hesitant to even try.

Read the full preview at NBCOlympics.com