Lindsey Vonn

Lindsey Vonn to skip St. Moritz, ski Val d’Isere downhill

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Lindsey Vonn plans to compete in Val d’Isere, France, on Dec. 21 as her comeback from major knee surgery continues.

The Olympic downhill champion will skip this weekend’s World Cup stop in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

The World Cup stops for a slalom in between St. Moritz and Val d’Isere, but Vonn said in October she didn’t plan on skiing any slalom this season.

She’s also skipping the Dec. 22 giant slalom in Val d’Isere. Vonn said Sunday she may only do one or two more World Cups this season with an eye on making a podium and avoiding long-term damage to a right knee she blew out at the World Championships in February and reinjured in a Nov. 19 training crash.

Vonn said in her return at Lake Louise, Alberta, last weekend she wasn’t sure she would ski any giant slalom this season.

If Vonn doesn’t ski giant slalom at the Olympics, she and Mikaela Shiffrin will likely not ski any Olympic events together. Shiffrin has said she is only doing slalom and giant slalom this season.

Vonn improved each day in frigid Lake Louise last weekend, finishing 40th in a Friday downhill, 11th in a Saturday downhill and fifth in a Sunday super-G.

Emerging super-G threat will miss Sochi Olympics

Chinese figure skating judges banned for biased Olympic scoring

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Two Chinese figure skating judges were suspended by the International Skating Union for biased judging at the PyeongChang Olympics.

Chen Weiguang and Huang Feng had “preferential marking” for top Chinese skaters Jin Boyang (fourth place in PyeongChang) and the silver medalist pairs’ team of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, respectively, according to the ISU.

Chen was banned two years and excluded from the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Huang got a one-year ban.

Chen awarded her highest grades of execution scores of the men’s competition to Jin, as well as her second-highest program components scores, trailing only gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu. Both sets of scores, in both the short and long programs, were out of line with the other eight judges.

“There is evidence of preference for the Chinese skater and prejudice against his strongest competitors,” an ISU report read. “Her marks were completely unrealistic.”

The pairs’ judge Huang “obviously favored his pair also vis-à-vis the other top candidates for the Olympic gold medal,” the ISU said in a report, referencing inflated scores for Sui and Han and lower scores for gold and bronze medalists Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany and Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada.

Huang was warned one month before the Olympics by the ISU for biased judging at the December 2017 Grand Prix Final pairs’ event.

Both suspensions are subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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Javier Fernandez to skip Grand Prix, still compete next season

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Javier Fernandez, who in PyeongChang became the first Spanish Olympic figure skating medalist, will skip the fall Grand Prix series but return for January’s European Championships, which could be his final competition.

Europeans will be Fernandez’s focus for the season, his agent said Tuesday.

Fernandez, 26, added an Olympic bronze medal to his 2015 and 2016 World titles. He has said that his third Olympics in PyeongChang would be his last. But Fernandez did not say he would retire after the Winter Games, though he did skip the world championships in March.

Fernandez now plans to compete in his 13th straight European Championships in Minsk in January. He won the last six titles. It’s unknown if he will continue on to the world championships in Saitama, Japan, in March.

In Fernandez’s absence, the top male singles skaters in the fall Grand Prix season should be double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, PyeongChang silver medalist Shoma Uno and American Nathan Chen, who was fifth at the Olympics after a disastrous short program but ran away with March’s world title by the largest margin in history.

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