Two-time U.S. national champion Czisny out of sectionals event

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There likely will be no Sochi Olympics for two-time U.S. Championships winner Alissa Czisny.

Tuesday the 26-year-old announced that she was withdrawing from the 2014 Midwestern Sectional Figure Skating Championships, set to get underway this week. Czisny needed to finish in the top four at that competition to qualify for the U.S. Championships in January, the Olympic qualifying event for U.S. skaters.

“It’s a tough decision for me not to compete at sectionals this week,” the 2009 and 2011 national champion said via a press release. “I’ve given my very best to make a full recovery and a successful comeback to competition, but I’m simply not yet completely prepared to be competitive. I’ve made great progress, and all the elements are returning, but it’s been slow and I cannot rush the process without risking further injury.”

Former Olympian Flatt aims at comeback the hard way

Injuries have marred Czisny’s career, that has stretched over a decade and saw her win eight Grand Prix medals, three U.S. Championships medals and place as high as fifth at the World Championships, in 2011.

“I’m so thankful for everyone who has supported me on this journey, and especially to those people who have been there every step of the way,” said Czisny. “It breaks my heart that I will not be competing this season. As for the future, I’m still uncertain what that holds for me. Skating has been a passion for me, and I definitely want to continue skating through performing in shows.”

Czisny, along with 2010 U.S. national champion and Olympian Rachael Flatt, was looking to make an unlikely comeback to the podium at Nationals after struggling through injuries. Both women won their regional competitions in October.

12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell
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At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich
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A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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