Lindsey Vonn

U.S. Alpine skiing team nominations for 2014-15 announced

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Lindsey VonnMikaela ShiffrinJulia MancusoTed Ligety and Bode Miller were among 38 athletes nominated to the U.S. Ski Team for the 2014-15 season on Wednesday.

Vonn, 29, aims to return from January knee surgery for the first speed races of the World Cup season in December, a little over one month after the campaign starts with a giant slalom in Soelden, Austria.

Shiffrin, 19, hopes to build off winning Olympic gold and the World Cup season title in the slalom. Her next goals include winning her first World Cup giant slalom race and perhaps entering her first super-G events, in particular at the 2015 World Championships in Vail/Beaver Creek, Colo., in February.

Mancuso, 30, is coming off an interesting season. She won Olympic bronze in the super combined but did not finish higher than 15th in any World Cup discipline.

Ligety, 29, at last won Olympic giant slalom gold in Sochi. His aspirations are even higher on the World Cup circuit, though. He wants to win an overall title, combining results from all disciplines. He’ll have to improve from third and fourth the last two years and knock off three-time reigning champion Marcel Hirscher of Austria.

Miller, 36, became the oldest Olympic Alpine skiing medalist ever with his super-G bronze in Sochi. Next season will likely be his last before retiring.

The 38 nominations did not include two-time Olympian Resi Stiegler, one of the top U.S. technical skiers for the last decade when healthy. Stiegler, 28, was 30th in the World Cup slalom start last standings after last season, five spots shy of the top 25 spot necessary to be renamed to the U.S. A team given her age.

Stiegler was not given a discretionary selection, but three-time Olympians Steven Nyman and Marco Sullivan did earn discretionary B team spots while being outside of the top 30 in World Cup start list standings, according to Ski Racing Magazine.

“Marco Sullivan, you look at his career and what he’s done for American ski racing and also the year he had last year where he was consistently skiing pretty well, at the same time got unlucky in a couple races, just off the mark,” U.S. men’s coach Sasha Rearick said, according to Ski Racing. “He’s still top 30 in the world. For sure, he has 100 percent support of the entire group of guys to be named to the team. And Steve Nyman, in a similar situation. He was skiing well early in the season, took a big crash and was a little out of sorts but came back skiing stronger. Both guys, when you look at their historical performances over the years, they’ve built up a credibility that we fully support them being named to the team.”

The 2014-15 U.S. Ski Team will be formally named in the fall.

Top U.S. pairs team splits

Alysa Liu rallies to win Junior Grand Prix with another quadruple jump

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U.S. figure skating champion Alysa Liu landed a quadruple Lutz for a second straight Junior Grand Prix, rallying from fourth after the short program to win an event in Poland on Friday.

Liu, who in January became the youngest U.S. champion in history at age 13, won both of her starts in her first season on the Junior Grand Prix to become the first U.S. woman to qualify for the six-skater Junior Grand Prix Final since 2013 (Polina Edmunds and Karen Chen). The Final is held with the senior Grand Prix Final in Turin, Italy, in December.

She won Friday by 6.63 points by surpassing a pair of Russians, a rarity in this era. Her free skate is here.

Liu trailed by 4.03 points after doubling a planned triple loop in the short program. She was the lone skater in the field to attempt a triple Axel (landing three of them, including two in combination and one with a negative grade of execution) or a quad.

Liu tallied 138.99 points in the free skate and 203.10 overall. She ranks sixth in the world this season by best total scores among junior and senior skaters, though some top skaters have yet to compete.

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Rafaela Silva, first Brazilian gold medalist at Rio Olympics, claims innocence after positive drug test

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Rafaela Silva, the judoka who grew up in Rio’s most famously violent favela to become Brazil’s first gold medalist at the Rio Olympics, reportedly tested positive for a banned substance last month.

Silva tested positive for fenoterol, a substance that can be legal to treat asthma if an athlete has a therapeutic use exemption (TUE). Silva did not have a TUE before testing positive at the Pan American Games in August, according to Brazilian media.

A possible punishment has not been announced.

Silva claimed innocence at a news conference Friday afternoon, saying that a young child with whom she had bodily contact at her training location used the substance, and she plans to compete at a domestic event this weekend, according to O Globo.

Silva, 27, backed up her Rio Olympic 57kg title by taking bronze at the world championships later in August. If she is punished for the positive test, Silva could lose that bronze medal, though she said Friday that she had a clean drug test at worlds, according to O Globo.

Silva, from Rio’s Ciadade de Deus favela, has the Olympic rings tattooed on her right bicep with the inscription “God knows how much I’ve suffered and what I’ve done to get here.”

Brazil’s top female swimmer, Etiene Medeiros, reportedly tested positive for fenoterol in May 2016 but was cleared to compete at the Rio Olympics.

In PyeongChang, Slovenian hockey player Ziga Jeglic tested positive for fenoterol and was scratched before his nation’s last game before it was announced. Jeglic was suspended from the Games and, later, was suspended eight months.

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