Lindsey Vonn crashes at worlds; tears MCL, ACL

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Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn will be out for the season after suffering a serious knee injury during a crash at the Alpine World Championships in Schladming, Austria Tuesday during the super-G.

Vonn lost her balance on a tough landing, lost her ski, and slid off course into a gate before finally coming to a stop. She was checked out by a doctor on the hill for more than ten minutes, and then airlifted to a Salzburg hospital for further evaluation.

U.S. team medical director Kyle Wilkens confirmed that Vonn tore her ACL and MCL and suffered a lateral tibial plateau fracture. She’ll require surgery and be out the rest of the season, but is expected to be back for the next World Cup season, and for the Sochi Olympics next February.

Vonn wrote in Monday’s Denver Post that the course had been closed to all skiers and coaches because of snow conditions, and that no one on her team had been able to evaluate the course as of Monday:

“We were here last year for the World Cup finals, so I feel like I know the hill pretty well, but it always feels a little awkward when you don’t get a chance to free ski the hill before you race. It’s tricky to know the terrain when all you have to go on is course inspection the morning of the race.”

The Vancouver gold medalist was trailing World Cup points leader Tina Maze of Slovenia, who won the event, by only 0.12 seconds before the crash. The race had been postponed for about three-and-a-half hours earlier in the day due to fog, and continued after a fifteen minute delay.

(NBC’s Alex Goldberger is in Austria for the event and contributed to this report.)

Here’s a video of the crash:

Weekend Gymnastics Roundup: Carey and McCusker on World Cup podium

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World medalists Jade Carey and Riley McCusker headlined gymnastics action over the weekend as the World Cup circuit continued with an all-around competition in Birmingham, England, and an apparatus event in Doha, Qatar.

Carey won both the vault and floor events in Doha, pushing her to the top of the standings on both apparatus (she also won the vault and floor competitions the previous weekend at the World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan).

Doha marked the halfway point of apparatus World Cups, putting Carey in a promising position to qualify for the Tokyo Games heading into the next four events. The apparatus World Cup series includes a total of eight competitions spread over two seasons, and one gymnast per apparatus will qualify for the Olympics based on his or her top three results across the eight events.

Carey, 18, was the 2017 world silver medalist on vault and floor. But she opted not to try for a spot on the 2018 World Championships team due to the International Gymnastics Federation’s rules that active team members who help their countries qualify team spots for Tokyo (as the U.S. women did in November) cannot earn individual spots. Carey, an apparatus specialist rather than an all-around gymnast, chose the World Cup route to keep open her options of qualifying individually.

McCusker, who was part of the U.S. team that won the world title last year, finished second at the all-around World Cup in Birmingham, posting the top scores on the uneven bars and floor. Russia’s Aliya Mustafina, a seven-time Olympic medalist, won the event. Mustafina bounced back from a shaky showing last weekend at the World Cup in Stuttgart, where she finished fifth in an event won by Simone Biles. Mustafina, 24, is trying to qualify for her third Olympics after giving birth to daughter Alisa in June 2017.

The all-around World Cup circuit continues on April 7 in Tokyo, Japan, where two-time world all-around medalist Morgan Hurd and two-time Olympian Sam Mikulak are expected to compete.

First Olympic women’s aerials champion Cheryazova dies at 50

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MOSCOW — Lina Cheryazova, the first woman to win an Olympic aerials skiing gold medal, has died. She was 50.

Officials in the Russian city of Novosibirsk, where Cheryazova was living for the last two decades, said she died “following a lengthy illness,” without giving further details.

Competing for Uzbekistan, Cheryazova won gold with a triple flip when aerials skiing debuted on the Olympic program in 1994 in Lillehammer.

Shortly after winning, she learned her mother died three weeks before.

Cheryazova’s career was derailed later that year when she suffered a serious head injury while training in the United States, and spent days in a coma. She retired after failing to qualify for the 1998 Winter Olympics.