Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross withdraw from Moscow Grand Slam

Kerri Walsh Jennings
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Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross withdrew from the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Moscow Grand Slam on Thursday, unable to continue playing due to Walsh Jennings’ right shoulder injury suffered Wednesday.

Walsh Jennings, a three-time Olympic champion, and Ross, a 2012 Olympic silver medalist, hope to return to action in two weeks at an FIVB World Tour event in Stavanger, Norway, Ross said in an FIVB interview. The World Championships start June 27 in the Netherlands.

“We’re just taking a precaution by going home and making sure everything’s OK,” Ross said. “A couple years ago, she’s had other issues with her shoulder. She says this one feels better than before. We’re hopeful and positive.”

Ross said Walsh Jennings, a 36-year-old whose had four shoulder surgeries, felt “pretty good.”

“I’m not worried for our team and our potential for the Olympics or anything like that,” Ross said. “She has a great team of doctors back home, and I’m confident they’re going to get her back in tip-top shape immediately.”

Walsh Jennings and Ross were leading a Brazilian pair 5-2 in the first set of their second match of Wednesday in Moscow “when Walsh Jennings was stretching for the ball and injured her right shoulder,” according to a press release.

Walsh Jennings and Ross forfeited the match after a medical timeout, and Walsh Jennings went to her hotel room without comment, according to the press release.

Walsh Jennings and Ross won the domestic AVP Tour season opener in New Orleans on Sunday, beating countrywomen Jennifer Kessy and Emily Day in the final.

They were third in their 2015 FIVB World Tour opener in Fuzhou, China, last month.

Walsh Jennings and Ross and Brazilians Larissa and Talita led the World Tour with four tournament wins each last season.

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Alpine skiing to test new format for combined race

Alpine Skiing Combined
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Alpine skiing officials will test a new format for the combined event, a race that is under review to remain on the Olympic program.

French newspaper L’Equipe reported that the International Ski Federation (FIS) will test a new team format for the combined, which has been an individual event on the Olympic program since 1988. L’Equipe reported that a nation can use a different skier for the downhill and slalom in the new setup, quoting FIS secretary general Michel Vion.

For example, the U.S. could use Breezy Johnson in the downhill run and sub her out for Mikaela Shiffrin in the slalom run, should the format be adopted into senior competition.

The format will be tested at the world junior championships in January in St. Anton, Austria, according to the report.

In response to the report, a FIS spokesperson said, “Regarding the new format of the combined is correct, and our directors are working on the rules so for the moment the only thing we can confirm is that there will be this new format for the Alpine combined that has been proposed by the athletes’ commission.”

Some version of the combined event has been provisionally included on the 2026 Olympic program, with a final IOC decision on its place coming by April.

This will be the third consecutive World Cup season with no combined events. Instead, FIS has included more parallel races in recent years. The individual combined remains on the biennial world championships program.

L’Equipe also reported that the mixed team parallel event, which is being dropped from the Olympics, will also be dropped from the biennial world championships after this season.

“There is nothing definitive about that yet, but it is a project in the making,” a FIS spokesperson said in commenting on the report.

Vion said the mixed team event, which debuted at the Olympics in 2018, was not a hit at the Beijing Games and did not draw a strong audience, according to L’Equipe.

The World Cup season starts in two weeks with the traditional opening giant slaloms in Soelden, Austria.

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Ironman Kona World Championships return, live on Peacock

Ironman Kona World Championship
Ironman
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The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona men’s pro race, Saturday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Both entered Kailua-Kona, where the races were now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men. Chelsea Sodaro won the women’s race, ending a 20-year American victory drought.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

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