What to Watch on the Dew Tour: Friday

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With the Sochi Games a mere 14 months away, some of the top Olympics snow sports athletes are in Breckenridge, Colo. for the Dew Tour this week to start preparing their runs for the world’s biggest stage. Here are four events you shouldn’t miss on Friday. (And don’t worry, you can catch them from your work desk here on NBCSports.com)

Women’s Snowboard Superpipe Semi-final (10:30 a.m.)
All three medalists from Vancouver are set to compete at Breckenridge, headlined by gold medalist Torah Bright. The 25-year-old Australian likely has one last shot at adding to her medal count in Sochi.

Vancouver silver medalist and Turin champ Hannah Teter leads a strong pack of American hopefuls, including Salt Lake City winner Kelley Clark and 2012 X Games silver medalist Elena Hight. Veteran Gretchen Bleiler – who came into Vancouver as a favorite and greatly disappointed – will also compete.

Spain’s Queralt Castellet and Cai Xuetong of China are among the best young up-and-comers in the field.

Women’s Freeski Superpipe Finals (12:30 p.m.)
22-year-old Brita Sigourney won superpipe gold at the 2011 Dew Tour stop in Ogden, and became the first woman to stick a 1080 at the 2012 X Games. The Carmel, California native was the top qualifier in the semis.

Lake Tahoe native Maddie Bowman finished 2nd in the final standings of the 2012 Dew Tour, including a win at the Killington event. Just 18, Bowman is the most talent teenager the U.S. has left in the event.

Roz Groenewoud – the reigning X Games Champ and owner of the top score in event history – headlines the Canadian contingent. Teammate Keltie Hansen also qualified for the finals.

Japan’s Ayana Onozuka is a darkhorse in the event. The 24-year old recently made the transition from alpine and finished 5th overall in her first season (2012) on the Dew Tour and 5th in the semis at Breckenridge.

Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle Finals (1 p.m)
American Jamie Anderson is the lone American in the field, but it’s quality over quantity. The Lake Tahoe native posted an event high 94.25 in her first run and is the clear-cut favorite heading into the finals.

Canada’s Spencer O’Brien and Germany’s Silvia Mittermueller are also top contenders.

Men’s Freeski Superpipe Finals (3:00 p.m.)
Canada’s Mike Riddle’s 87.75 was enough to propel the 26-year-old into first place. Despite a disappointing 4th place qualification, France’s Kevin Rolland remains the favorite to top the podium. Americans David Wise and Tanner Hall should also be in the mix.

All Times Mountain

Elena Fanchini, medal-winning Alpine skier, dies at 37

Elena Fanchini
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Italian skier Elena Fanchini, whose career was cut short by a tumor, has died. She was 37.

Fanchini passed away Wednesday at her home in Solato, near Brescia, the Italian Winter Sports Federation announced.

Fanchini died on the same day that fellow Italian Marta Bassino won the super-G at the world championships in Meribel, France; and two days after Federica Brignone — another former teammate — claimed gold in combined.

Sofia Goggia, who is the favorite for Saturday’s downhill, dedicated her win in Cortina d’Ampezzo last month to Fanchini.

Fanchini last raced in December 2017. She was cleared to return to train nearly a year later but never made it fully back, and her condition grew worse in recent months.

Fanchini won a silver medal in downhill at the 2005 World Championships and also won two World Cup races in her career — both in downhill.

She missed the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics because of her condition.

Fanchini’s younger sisters Nadia and Sabrina were also World Cup racers.

USA Boxing to skip world championships

USA Boxing
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USA Boxing will not send boxers to this year’s men’s and women’s world championships, citing “the ongoing failures” of the IBA, the sport’s international governing body, that put boxing’s place on the Olympic program at risk.

The Washington Post first reported the decision.

In a letter to its members, USA Boxing Executive Director Mike McAtee listed many factors that led to the decision, including IBA governance issues, financial irregularities and transparency and that Russian and Belarusian boxers are allowed to compete with their flags.

IBA lifted its ban on Russian and Belarusian boxers in October and said it would allow their flags and anthems to return, too.

The IOC has not shifted from its recommendation to international sports federations last February that Russian and Belarusian athletes be barred, though the IOC and Olympic sports officials have been exploring whether those athletes could return without national symbols.

USA Boxing said that Russian boxers have competed at an IBA event in Morocco this month with their flags and are expected to compete at this year’s world championships under their flags.

“While sport is intended to be politically neutral, many boxers, coaches and other representatives of the Ukrainian boxing community were killed as a result of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, including coach Mykhaylo Korenovsky who was killed when a Russian missile hit an apartment block in January 2023,” according to the USA Boxing letter. “Ukraine’s sports infrastructure, including numerous boxing gyms, has been devastated by Russian aggression.”

McAtee added later that USA Boxing would still not send athletes to worlds even if Russians and Belarusians were competing as neutrals and without their flags.

“USA Boxing’s decision is based on the ‘totality of all of the factors,'” he said in an emailed response. “Third party oversite and fairness in the field of play is the most important factor.”

A message has been sent to the IBA seeking comment on USA Boxing’s decision.

The women’s world championships are in March in India. The men’s world championships are in May in Uzbekistan. They do not count toward 2024 Olympic qualifying.

In December, the IOC said recent IBA decisions could lead to “the cancellation of boxing” for the 2024 Paris Games.

Some of the already reported governance issues led to the IOC stripping IBA — then known as AIBA — of its Olympic recognition in 2019. AIBA had suspended all 36 referees and judges used at the 2016 Rio Olympics pending an investigation into a possible judging scandal, one that found that some medal bouts were fixed by “complicit and compliant” referees and judges.

The IOC ran the Tokyo Olympic boxing competition.

Boxing was not included on the initial program for the 2028 Los Angeles Games announced in December 2021, though it could still be added. The IBA must address concerns “around its governance, its financial transparency and sustainability and the integrity of its refereeing and judging processes,” IOC President Thomas Bach said then.

This past June, the IOC said IBA would not run qualifying competitions for the 2024 Paris Games.

In September, the IOC said it was “extremely concerned” about the Olympic future of boxing after an IBA extraordinary congress overwhelmingly backed Russian Umar Kremlev to remain as its president rather than hold an election.

Kremlev was re-elected in May after an opponent, Boris van der Vorst of the Netherlands, was barred from running against him. The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in June that van der Vorst should have been eligible to run against Kremlev, but the IBA group still decided not to hold a new election.

Last May, Rashida Ellis became the first U.S. woman to win a world boxing title at an Olympic weight since Claressa Shields in 2016, taking the 60kg lightweight crown in Istanbul. In Tokyo, Ellis lost 3-0 in her opening bout in her Olympic debut.

At the last men’s worlds in 2021, Robby Gonzales and Jahmal Harvey became the first U.S. men to win an Olympic or world title since 2007, ending the longest American men’s drought since World War II.

The Associated Press and NBC Olympic research contributed to this report.

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