Tina Weirather out of women’s downhill due to injury

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Liechtenstein’s Alpine skiing star Tina Weirather will miss the Sochi Olympic downhill after injuring a leg in training, and could possibly be shelved for the remainder of the Games.

On Tuesday, she confirmed on her Facebook page that she will not compete although she is listed on the start list.

The 24-year-old medal contender crashed during the fourth women’s downhill training on Sunday and was diagnosed with a bone bruise of the shin and knee.At the time her status was listed as day-to-day.

On Monday, Weirather posted a photo of herself walking in the Athlete Village on crutches to her Facebook page and expressed doubts about her availability to compete writing, “It is hard to imagine walking around with crutches and 2 days later being at the start.”

RELATED: Weirather injured in training

The injury is yet another bitter turn for Weirather, who has persevered through four separate knee injuries to get to her second Games as a legitimate medal contender in the downhill, super-G and giant slalom.

She made her World Cup debut as a 16-year-old in 2005. The following year, she competed in her first Olympic, finishing 33rd in super-G while skiing out in downhill in Torino. The conclusion of her first full World Cup season in 2006-07 saw Weirather tear the ACLs in both of her knees during the World Cup final in Zweisel, Germany.

She made a successful comeback the following year but re-tore her right ACL during giant slalom training at the end of the season.  In 2010, having qualified for the Olympics in four events, Weirather was forced to miss the Games and the entire 2011 season when she tore that right ACL yet again.

Against the advice of her father, former world champion Harti Weirather, she continued skiing. This season, she has been one of the leading racers on the World Cup circuit, finishing no lower than fifth in any speed race while ranking second in the overall standings.

Her absence from the downhill field opens up medal possibilities for other contenders, most notably American Julia Mancuso, a skier who was viewed as having outside podium potential before the Games but who posted the fastest downhill run in Monday’s super-combined competition.

Federica Brignone passes Mikaela Shiffrin for World Cup overall lead

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Italian Federica Brignone passed an absent Mikaela Shiffrin for the World Cup overall standings lead by winning a combined in Switzerland on Sunday.

Brignone prevailed by .92 of a second adding times from super-G and slalom runs in Crans-Montana. Full results are here.

Brignone moved 73 points ahead of Shiffrin in the overall through 29 of 40 scheduled races. A race winner receives 100 points on a descending scale through the 30th-place finisher. The season runs through March 22.

Shiffrin, the three-time reigning World Cup overall champion, has not competed since the unexpected death of her father on Feb. 2. She has not announced if or when she will return this season.

Brignone, 29, is having a career season with five wins and 10 podiums across four disciplines.

Brignone’s best previous World Cup overall standings finish was fifth. She earned giant slalom medals at the 2018 Olympics (bronze) and 2011 World Championships (silver).

She could become Italy’s first female World Cup overall champion. The last Italian male winner was Alberto Tomba in 1995.

The women’s Alpine skiing World Cup moves to La Thuile, Italy, for a super-G and a combined next Saturday and Sunday.

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Jade Carey on brink of becoming first gymnast to qualify for U.S. Olympic team

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The U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials aren’t until late June, but Jade Carey is in position to qualify for the Tokyo Games in March.

Carey, seeking an individual Olympic gymnastics spot outside of the team competition, earned the maximum points in a World Cup series that is one path to Olympic qualification.

Carey has three wins each on floor exercise and vault with two World Cups left in March. Carey will mathematically clinch an Olympic spot if no other gymnasts win three times on one of the apparatuses to force a tiebreaker.

So far, no other gymnast has two wins on floor. One gymnast has two wins on vault. A gymnast’s top three finishes across the eight-stop series count in Olympic qualifying. If Carey finishes atop the floor or vault standings, she goes to the Olympics.

Carey picked up those third wins on floor and vault at the sixth World Cup in Melbourne, Australia, this weekend.

The one downside to qualifying this route: Carey would not be able to compete in the team competition at the Olympics. Those four spots will be determined at and after June’s trials in St. Louis, with Simone Biles likely grabbing one of them.

“I knew I would be giving up being on the team,” Carey said in October of going the World Cup route, “but I think, for me, it made sense to just go for it.”

Carey is a world medalist on vault and floor, but she doesn’t have the all-around credentials of Biles and some other U.S. gymnasts.

Olympic team event roster sizes were cut from five to four for Tokyo, putting a greater onus on all-around prowess given a team must put three gymnasts on each apparatus in the Olympic final.

The U.S. is the deepest country in women’s gymnastics, so the only truly safe pick to make the four-woman Olympic team event roster is Biles.

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