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Marcel Hirscher sets return from broken ankle

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Marcel Hirscher, the world’s best Alpine skier the last six years, will reportedly return to racing Sunday from a broken left ankle suffered in August.

Hirscher will start the first World Cup race of the season, a slalom in Levi, Finland, according to Austrian media. He indicated on Facebook that he was flying to Levi on Friday.

The Austrian made the decision after just five days of slalom training following recovery from the Aug. 17 training accident that did not require surgery, according to broadcaster ORF.

It was thought that Hirscher could have been out until December when he was first injured (video here). After Levi, the World Cup schedule is predominantly speed races (not Hirscher’s specialty) until Dec. 9.

Hirscher caught a break when the traditional season-opening race, a giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, the last Sunday of October, was canceled due to poor weather while he was still sidelined.

Hirscher is trying this season to win his first Olympic gold medal and to become the first Alpine skier to win seven World Cup overall titles.

Hirscher has won twice in Levi, where the victors traditionally receive a reindeer.

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MORE: Ted Ligety questions cancellation of World Cup race

The secret messages Lindsey Vonn wrote on her Olympic race suit

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SCHEDULE UPDATE: Vonn will will return for the final women’s downhill training run on Monday at 9 p.m. ET. LIVE STREAM

Look closely at Lindsey Vonn.

When NBC cameras zoom in on the two-time Olympic medalist, viewers will notice that she wrote a couple of messages on her uniform in permanent marker.

On the thumb of her right glove, Vonn has the word “believe” in Greek. It mirrors a tattoo she has on the inside of a finger.

“Signifying my last Olympics [in 2018] and just need to believe in myself,” Vonn said to NBC’s Nick Zaccardi.

On her helmet, Vonn has the initials “D.K.” and a heart. It is meant to honor her late grandfather, Don Kildow.

Kildow, who served in the Korean War from 1952-54, died on Nov. 1. Watch to learn more about Vonn’s special relationship with her grandparents:

Hard falls at Olympics, but no hard rules about concussions

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — At the bottom of the Olympic aerials landing hill, where crashes are common and the term “slap back” is part of the everyday lingo, skiers spend almost as much time figuring out how to protect their heads as they do working on all those flips and spins.

“We learn how to fall,” U.S. jumper Jon Lillis said.

Elsewhere around the action-sports venue, that’s not so much the case.

Concussion dangers lurk everywhere — from the iced-over deck of the halfpipe, to the steeply pitched landings on the slopestyle course, to the careening twists and turns of the snowboard cross track, to the aerials course, where “slap back” is the term for when a skier’s head slaps backward against the snow. But at the Olympics, there are no hard-and-fast rules regarding who diagnoses head injuries, and no hard-and-fast protocol that athletes must clear to be allowed back on the slopes after a concussion.

“A bit concerning,” says neurologist Kevin Weber of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. “Because you worry that athletes in other sports that may not be as popular as football are getting, I wouldn’t say ignored, but the concussions they’re getting are under-scrutinized.”

Read the full story at NBCOlympics.com