Dog gets loose, joins World Cup cross-country skiing race (video)

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A loose dog ran onto the course at a World Cup cross-country skiing race Sunday, joining the three leaders in Quebec City.

The dog ran around the skiers for about 10 seconds before letting them go by.

“It happens in cycling races, but I’ve never seen it in skiing,” Canadian second-place finisher Alex Harvey said, according to the Canadian Press. “It just makes the story even better because luckily no one crashed or got hurt.”

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MORE: U.S. cross-country skiers mark most successful world champs

Longer ban for Norway skiing star sought by International Ski Federation

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OBERHOFEN, Switzerland (AP) — The International Ski Federation (FIS) wants to impose a longer ban on Norwegian cross-country ski star Therese Johaug in a doping case involving a steroid.

Johaug’s 13-month ban, which lets the Olympic champion return for the 2018 Olympics, is “on the low end of the range of reasonable sanctions,” FIS said Tuesday

FIS is appealing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the ruling by a Norwegian Olympic tribunal. The case is likely to take several months.

The 28-year-old Johaug tested positive for clostebol. She said it was in a lotion approved by a team doctor to treat sunburned lips during high-altitude training last August in Italy.

The Norwegian judging panel decided that Johaug, a two-time overall World Cup champion and seven-time world championships gold medalist, was not at significant fault for her positive test.

FIS cited Johaug’s failure “to read the doping warning label printed in red on the package.”

The governing body also suggested the skier was further at fault because the “medication was unknown to her and was purchased in a foreign country.”

Johaug’s ban blocked her from defending her World Cup title, but she will be allowed to compete again in mid-November, almost three months before the Pyeongchang Olympics open in South Korea.

Johaug won gold in the 4×5-kilometer relay at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and earned individual silver and bronze medals in distance events at the 2014 Sochi Games.

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MORE: U.S. cross-country skiers mark most successful world champs

U.S. cross-country skiers mark most successful world championships

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LAHTI, Finland (AP) — Think of a U.S. skiing medal contender for the Winter Olympics, and Lindsey Vonn or Bode Miller flying down the side of a mountain often come to mind. But now a tight-knit team is showing the United States can succeed in the grueling world of cross-country skiing, too.

The U.S. women’s cross-country ski team marked its most successful world championships in Finland with three medals from six events, raising hopes ahead of the 2018 Olympics.

While the team couldn’t end the championships with a medal in Saturday’s 30km freestyle, fifth place for Minnesota-born Jessie Diggins was another record-high finish for the U.S.

Diggins finished the championships with silver in the individual sprint and bronze in the team sprint, the latter honor remarkable because the race was strictly in classic style. This tends to favor European skiers, rather than the skate-skiing style which is the U.S. specialty.

Until eight years ago, the U.S. women’s team had never won a cross-country medal at the world championships, but now it’s a contender in almost every race.

Kikkan Randall, the pioneering U.S. medalist back in 2009, has mentored a new generation including Diggins and Sadie Bjornsen, who won bronze alongside Diggins in the team sprint. It’s a change from the days when Randall was the only standout U.S. cross-country skier.

“Before, I wished for teammates,” the 34-year-old Randall, who won individual sprint bronze last week, told The Associated Press. “Now it’s a challenge just to make our relay (team), everybody’s skiing so fast.”

It’s a success created in the wilds of Alaska, where the U.S. team often trains at Eagle Glacier, a spartan base reached by helicopter. Training and competing together year-round has forged a tight bond. Diggins says she considers her teammates her “big sisters.”

Historically, however, the Olympics have been a stumbling block for U.S. cross-country skiers. Randall was hotly favored for a sprint medal in 2014, but was eliminated in the quarterfinals. A silver medalist in 1976, Bill Koch was much hyped ahead of the 1980 Games in Lake Placid, but also failed to medal.

This time round the U.S. has new strength in depth as a team. Randall, who plans to retire after the PyeongChang Olympics, is aiming for a medal in one of the two team events.

“With the success we’ve had here,” she said, “I’m really excited about our chances next year.”

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