Kaitlyn Farrington

Arielle Gold, Kaitlyn Farrington, Hannah Teter earn Sochi berths

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Arielle Gold and Kaitlyn Farrington are going to their first Olympics. Gretchen Bleiler and Elena Hight will not be going to their third Olympics.

The final Olympic selection event in snowboard halfpipe event saw youth rule in Mammoth Mountain, Calif., on Sunday.

Farrington won with a first-run score of 91.4 points to wrap up her trip to Sochi. Gold was off the podium, but her previous results in selection events were good enough to earn an Olympic berth, too. They join 2002 Olympic champion Kelly Clark on the Olympic Team.

(Update: 2006 Olympic champion and 2010 silver medalist Hannah Teter was named as the fourth and final member of the Olympic Team via discretionary selection an hour after competition ended Sunday.)

The U.S. Olympic women’s snowboard halfpipe team will look different from 2006 and 2010, when the same four women competed — Clark, Teter, Bleiler and Hight.

Teter, the 2006 Olympic champion and 2010 silver medalist, was third with 89 points Sunday after a comeback weekend that saw her almost earn an automatic Olympic berth. She’ll take the discretionary spot and try to become the first woman to win an Olympic halfpipe medal at three straight Olympics.

Clark is the first U.S. women’s snowboarder to make four Olympic Teams. Snowboarding was added to the Olympic program in 1998.

Gold, 17 and the 2013 World Champion, joined her older brother, Taylor, on the Olympic halfpipe team.

There are 10 U.S. women’s halfpipe snowboarders with bio pages on the U.S. Snowboarding website. Farrington, 24, is not one of them, though she owns a 2011 Winter X Games silver medal.

In Sochi, the U.S. could sweep the podium. The top international threat is 2010 Olympic champion Torah Bright, who aims to compete in not only halfipe in Sochi, but also slopestyle and snowboardcross.

Bleiler, the 2006 Olympic silver medalist, never finished higher than third in five Olympic selection events.

Hight, the first woman to land a 900 in competition in 2002 and a double cork in 2013, never finished higher than fifth.

Skier with Lyme disease makes Olympic Team

Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis eyeing Grand Slam record

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Serena Williams travels with “like 50 masks” and has been a little bit of a recluse since early March and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t have full lung capacity, so I’m not sure what would happen to me,” Williams said Saturday, two days before the start of the WTA’s Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky., her first tournament since playing Fed Cup in early February. “I’m sure I’ll be OK, but I don’t want to find out.”

Williams, 38, has a history of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. She faced life-threatening complications following her Sept. 1, 2017, childbirth that confined her to a bed for six weeks. She said her daily routine was surgery and that she lost count after the first four.

More recently, Williams enjoyed “every part” of the last six months at home in Florida, her longest time grounded since her teens.

“I’ve been a little neurotic, to an extent,” on health and safety, she said. “Everyone in the Serena bubble is really protected.”

Williams is entered to play next week in Lexington and at consecutive tournaments in New York City later this month — the Western & Southern Open and U.S. Open, the latter starting Aug. 31.

Williams is the highest-ranked player in the Lexington field at No. 9. Others include 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, older sister Venus Williams and 16-year-old Coco Gauff.

She has been bidding ever since having daughter Olympia to tie Margaret Court‘s record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, albeit many of Court’s crowns came before the Open Era and, notably at the Australian Open, against small fields lacking the world’s best players. Williams reached the last two Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals, losing all of them.

She showed her seriousness in committing early to this year’s U.S. Open by installing a court at home with the same surface. Three of the top 10 female singles players already said they will skip the U.S. Open due to travel and/or virus concerns, including No. 1 Ash Barty.

“Tennis is naturally a socially distanced sport, so it was kind of easy to go back and just walk on my side of the court and have my hitter walk on his side of the court,” Williams said.

The French Open starts two weeks after the U.S. Open ends. Williams was asked if she will fly to Europe for tournaments this autumn.

“I see myself doing it all, if it happens,” she said.

The Tokyo Olympics are too far away to make plans.

“We’ll have to kind of wait to see what happens in the fall,” she said. “One thing I have learned with this pandemic is don’t plan.”

MORE: Past U.S. Open champions get wild cards

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Conseslus Kipruto tests positive for coronavirus, canceling world-record bid

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Conseslus Kipruto, the Olympic and world 3000m steeplechase champion, tested positive for the coronavirus without symptoms, which will keep him from a world-record chase on Friday, according to his social media.

The Kenyan was to race in the first in-person Diamond League meet of the year in Monaco on Friday.

“Our World is going through a challenging period and we all have to take our responsibilities,” was posted. “Unfortunately my covid-19 test, as part of the Monaco-protocol, came back positive and therefore I can’t be part of the Monaco Diamond League.

“I don’t have any symptoms and I was actually in great shape. I was planning to go for the WR: it has stayed too long outside Kenya. As the World & Olympic Champion I feel strongly its something I should go for as well.”

Kipruto, 25, is the 14th-fastest steepler in history with a personal best of 8:00.12. The world record is 7:53.63, set by Kenyan-born Qatari Saif Saaeed Shaheen in 2004.

Last year, Kipruto won the world title by .01, extending a streak of a Kenyan or Kenyan-born man winning every Olympic or world title in the event since the 1988 Seoul Games. He was sidelined by a stress fracture in his left foot until opening his season extremely late on Aug. 24.

MORE: Trayvon Bromell’s road back through destruction, death

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Our World is going through a challenging period and we all have to take our responsibilities. Unfortunately my covid-19 test, as part of the Monaco-protocol, came back positive and therefore I can’t be part of the Monaco Diamond League on August 14th. I don’t have any symptoms and I was actually in great shape. I was planning to go for the WR: it has stayed too long outside Kenya. As the World & Olympic Champion I feel strongly its something I should go for as well. Wish to thank Monaco for all the work they have done and I wish them and my colleagues a wonderful competition. Athletics is back and I will be back as well. Anyone willing to organise a steeple once I can be cleared? @diamondleaguemonaco #nike #quarantine #WR #Kenya

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