Lolo Jones, Elana Meyers

Lolo Jones, Lauryn Williams set for final bobsled race before Olympic Team named

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Lolo Jones and Lauryn Williams get one more chance to impress U.S. bobsled Olympic Team selectors Sunday.

Jones and Williams were named as two of three U.S. push athletes for a World Cup event in Igls, Austria. The three Olympic push athletes will be chosen by a selection committee and are expected to be nominated as part of the full Olympic Team on Sunday night.

In Igls, Jones will pair with USA-3 driver Jazmine Fenlator. Williams will pair with USA-2 driver Jamie Greubel. USA-1 driver Elana Meyers is with her usual push athlete, Aja Evans.

The other push athletes in the running to make the Olympic Team are Katie Eberling, who usually races with Greubel, and Emily Azevedo, the only push athlete with Winter Olympic experience.

Jones, a two-time Olympic hurdler, has raced with Fenlator more than any other driver since taking up bobsled last season. Williams, a three-time Olympic sprinter, is in her rookie season of bobsled.

The makeup of the U.S. men’s Olympic bobsled team is also very much in question going into Igls.

The U.S. will very likely qualify three two-man sleds and two four-man sleds for Sochi. That means Cory Butner and Nick Cunningham are essentially vying for one four-man spot behind Steven Holcomb.

Butner is ranked No. 16 in the world in four-man with 652 points, adding up a driver’s six best results this season. Cunningham is ranked No. 17 with 644 points.

The eight-point margin is the difference between one spot in the standings of a single race. It is yet to be determined if the second U.S. sled in the four-man will be based on FIBT rankings or other criteria.

Biathlete gives up Olympic Team spot to sister

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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