Anna Fenninger wins Worlds giant slalom; Vonn, Shiffrin, Maze miss medals

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Austrian Anna Fenninger won her second gold medal at the World Alpine Skiing Championships, taking the giant slalom, while Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin and Tina Maze finished off the podium.

Fenninger, who captured the super-G last week, prevailed by 1.4 seconds combining times from two runs Thursday in Beaver Creek, Colo. Fenninger was fastest in the first run and second fastest in the second run, despite nearly falling at one point.

“I thought I will crash,” Fenninger told NBC Sports’ Carolyn Manno. “It’s unbelievable that I could stand and stay in the course. It’s so close to lose everything and [then] to win everything.”

German Viktoria Rebensburg earned silver, followed by Swede Jessica Lindell-Vikarby taking bronze.

Slovenia’s Tina Maze was fifth, ending her bid to become the first woman to win five individual medals at a single World Championships. Maze, the World Cup overall leader who may retire after this season, previously took gold in the downhill and super combined and silver in the super-G.

Shiffrin placed eighth in the giant slalom, her second-best event behind the slalom, where she will defend her World title Saturday. Shiffrin had placed tied for first, third, sixth and 10th in four World Cup giant slaloms this season.

Watch Shiffrin’s second run here.

Vonn finished 14th, competing in giant slalom for the first time in more than two years and in her final event of these World Championships. Boyfriend Tiger Woods was on hand to watch her race Thursday. Vonn improved from 27th place after the first run with the fifth-best second run.

“Second run, I finally found the timing, and I just let it go,” Vonn said on NBCSN. “It’s nice to kind of end these championships on a positive note.”

Vonn, 30, ended the World Championships with a bronze medal in the super-G, a fifth in the downhill and did not finish the super combined. She hoped for better after winning five of 10 World Cup starts in her comeback in December and January.

“These World Championships just haven’t really gone the way I had hoped and dreamed that they would,” Vonn, who felt knee soreness during Worlds, said after her first run Thursday, according to the Denver Post. “I’ve got to look at the small positives. I still have one medal, and I’m proud of that.”

Vonn’s next goal is contending for a World Cup overall title.

The World Championships continue with the men’s giant slalom Friday, including defending World champion Ted Ligety.

World Alpine Skiing Championships broadcast schedule

Emily Sweeney posts fastest time in qualifier for luge World Cup opener

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World championship bronze medalist Emily Sweeney placed first in the Nations Cup luge race Friday in Innsbruck, Austria, qualifying with ease for the first World Cup event of the season.

Twelve women, including fellow American Summer Britcher, were seeded directly into the World Cup race. Sweeney, Brittney Arndt and Ashley Farquharson all qualified from the Nations Cup race. Britcher has finished third in the overall World Cup standings for two straight years and is a contender in a wide-open year with seven-time defending champion Natalie Geisenberger taking a year off while pregnant.

MORE: Geisenberg will not race in 2019-20

In the men’s competition, Jonny Gustafson and Olympic silver medalist Chris Mazdzer finished third and fifth in the Nations Cup race to advance. Tucker West claimed the second-to-last qualifying spot to get all three U.S. sliders in Sunday’s World Cup race.

Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman qualified for the doubles competition, ensuring all eight U.S. sliders will see the weekend races.

OlympicChannel.com will have live streaming this weekend (all times ET):

  • Women: Saturday, 4:15 a.m. and 5:40 a.m.
  • Doubles: Saturday, 7:05 a.m. and 8:25 a.m.
  • Men: Sunday, 4 a.m. and 5:35 a.m.
  • Team relay: Sunday, 7:40 a.m.

Highlights will be on television at the following times:

  • Saturday: Olympic Channel, 5:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Olympic Channel, 5:30 p.m.
  • Sunday: NBCSN, 4:30 p.m.

Next weekend, the World Cup series heads to Lake Placid, N.Y.

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Russian track and field federation faces expulsion threat over new doping allegations

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MOSCOW (AP) — The governing body for track and field will consider expelling Russia from membership following new charges that senior officials faked medical records.

Russia has been suspended by World Athletics, formerly known as the IAAF, over widespread doping since 2015. There will be a review of whether vetted Russians should still be allowed to compete in international events as neutrals.

“We need to deal with renegade factions like this,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said Friday in Monaco.

World Athletics has frozen talks about lifting the long-running suspension and asked its Russia task force for recommendations on expelling the country’s track federation.

“It’s not symbolic,” said Coe, who said the charges and suspensions against Russian officials were so wide-ranging that they left the task force with almost no one left to talk to.

One route could be to close the Russian track federation and set up a new national governing body. Russia’s sports minister said he had referred the federation to a commission which oversees such matters.

Federation president Dmitry Shlyakhtin and four other senior officials are accused of obstructing the investigation into 2017 world championship silver medalist Danil Lysenko, who was accused last year of failing to make himself available for drug testing.

Lysenko allegedly provided fake medical documents as an alibi with help from the officials. He and his coach have also been suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit pending full disciplinary hearings.

Also Friday, the three-time world high jump champion Mariya Lasitskene assailed Russian track leaders after they were charged Thursday, saying they have made a “doping nightmare” even worse.

Lasitskene called for swift and radical reforms, and the removal of officials appointed by Shlyakhtin.

Shlyakhtin took office shortly after the federation was suspended from international competition for widespread doping. The suspension remains in place four years later.

“The new team, whose task was to take us out of this doping nightmare, has turned out no better than the old one. And in some ways worse,” Lasitskene wrote on Instagram. “Shlyakhtin and his team must quit their posts immediately and never come back. And I will make sure this happens.”

Lasitskene has won two of her three world titles as a neutral athlete as a result of Russia’s suspension, which also caused her to miss the 2016 Olympics.

“Our track and field is in its death throes and we can’t procrastinate anymore,” she wrote. “We’ve lost four years already. Clean athletes are still defenseless and not sure they’ll be able to compete tomorrow.”

Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov expressed concern about the “emergency situation” and referred the federation to a ministry commission which could officially withdraw its government recognition.

“The future fate of the track and field federation will be examined,” Kolobkov said Friday in a video statement. “For us now, the main thing is that the training process isn’t interrupted. That means all of the athletes will get the help they need to continue the training and competition process.”

Earlier, the Kremlin said the charges against Shlyakhtin and others won’t derail the country’s preparations to compete in next year’s Olympics.

“Undoubtedly, this (situation) requires attention from the sports authorities, and I’m sure they’re dealing with it,” said Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin. “But I don’t see a direct connection with Russia’s participation in the Olympics here.”

With Shlyakhtin suspended, the federation is set to select an interim president at a board meeting on Saturday.

Russia is also facing a World Anti-Doping Agency ruling next month on whether it manipulated data from a lab in Moscow.

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