Kyla Ross
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U.S. gymnastics nominative World Championships roster released

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The U.S. women’s gymnastics team won’t be announced until after an October selection camp, but the International Gymnastics Federation has published “nominative” (preliminary) rosters for all nations.

Seven U.S. women are listed, though the final team that competes in Glasgow, Scotland, in the last week of October must be of no more than six women (an alternate may be designated).

The seven “nominative” women are:

Simone Biles — 2013/14 World all-around champion
Gabby Douglas — 2012 Olympic all-around champion
Aly Raisman — 2012 Olympic floor exercise champion
MyKayla Skinner — 2014 World Championships vault bronze medalist
Maggie Nichols — 2015 P&G Championships all-around runner-up
Brenna Dowell — Traveled to 2013 Worlds but didn’t compete
Madison Kocian — 2014 World Championships team member

Missing is Kyla Ross, the only U.S. woman to make all of the 2012 Olympic, 2013 Worlds and 2014 Worlds teams. Ross, who won silver and bronze in the all-around at the last two Worlds, was 10th in the all-around at the P&G Championships in August. She faces greater competition to make this year’s Worlds team given the returns of Douglas and Raisman and the improvement of Nichols.

Also missing is Bailie Key, who was fourth in the all-around at the P&G Championships. The last time a top-four woman in the U.S. all-around didn’t make that year’s six-woman World Championships team was last year, when Nichols was third at the P&G Championships but suffered a season-ending injury one week later.

In 2011, Mackenzie Caquatto was fourth in the U.S. all-around, made the nominative list and then suffered a team camp injury and missed Worlds.

In 2012, Elizabeth Price finished fourth in the Olympic trials all-around and did not make the five-woman Olympic team.

The final U.S. women’s gymnastics teams for the 2013 and 2014 World Championships were all made up of gymnasts who were on the earlier nominative lists.

The last time a Worlds team member came from outside the nominative list was 2011. That woman was Douglas, when Caquatto was injured.

In 2010, Kytra Hunter also finished fourth in the U.S. all-around, was on the nominative list and didn’t make the team.

That year, the reigning World all-around champion Bridget Sloan came on board from outside the nominative list. Sloan only competed on the balance beam at the earlier 2010 U.S. Championships and worked her way back from injury to ultimately make the Worlds team.

Also of note, Uzbekistan’s Oksana Chusovitina is on the nominative list. Chusovitina, 40, could break the record for most Olympic gymnastics appearances if she makes a seventh Games next year.

Chusovitina has competed for the Soviet Union, Unified Team, Germany and Uzbekistan. She has won 11 World Championship medals and two Olympic medals. All of the hardware since 1992 came on vault.

MORE GYMNASTICS: Russia names World Championships roster

World Cup Alpine season opener gets green light

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After checking the snow on the Rettenbach glacier in Soelden, Austria, FIS officials announced Thursday that the traditional World Cup season opener is set to go ahead as planned Oct. 26-27 with men’s and women’s giant slalom races.

Current conditions at Soelden show a solid 30 inches of snow at the summit. The race finishes at an altitude of 2,670 meters (8,760 feet), far above the currently snowless village.

The first races of the season are never guaranteed to have enough snow, though last year’s men’s race at Soelden had the opposite problem, being canceled when a storm blew through with heavy snowfall and high winds. 

France’s Tessa Worley won the women’s race last year ahead of Italy’s Frederica Brignone and U.S. skier Mikaela Shiffrin, who would go on to dominate the rest of the World Cup season.

The Soelden weekend is followed by three dormant weeks until the season resumes Nov. 23-24 in Levi, Finland. The World Cup circuits then switch to North America. The men will run speed events Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in Lake Louise, Alberta, then head to Beaver Creek, Colo., for more speed events and a giant slalom Dec. 6-8. The women run slalom and giant slalom Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in Killington, Vt., and head to Lake Louise the next weekend.

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Olympic marathon and race walk move from Tokyo to Sapporo draws some pushback

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In the wake of a dropout-plagued set of world championship endurance races in Qatar, moving the 2020 Olympic marathons and race walks from Tokyo to the cooler venue of Sapporo is a quick fix for one problem, pending the potential for untimely heat waves.

But the move has drawn some opposition for a variety of reasons.

First, many organizers and politicians appear to have been caught by surprise. Tokyo’s governor, Yuriko Koike, was “taken aback” and Sapporo’s mayor, Katsuhiro Akimoto, learned about the move from the media, Kyodo News reported. Koike even sarcastically suggested that the races could move all the way northward to islands disputed by Russia and Japan.

South African sports scientist Ross Tucker suggested that running in heat and humidity poses an interesting challenge for athletes, some of whom may be able to catch up with faster runners by preparing for the conditions.

British marathoner Mara Yamauchi made a similar point, saying the move was unfair to those who already were preparing for the heat, humidity and other conditions.

Belgian marathoner Koen Naert said he will make the best of the change but complained that some of his preparation and every runner’s logistical planning would no longer apply.

The angriest athlete may be Canadian walker Evan Dunfee, who placed fourth in the 2016 Olympic 50km race and nearly claimed bronze as a Canadian appeal was upheld but then rejected. He says runners and walkers can beat the conditions if they prepare, which many athletes did not do for the world championships in Qatar.

“So why do we cater to the ill prepared?” Dunfee asked on Twitter.

The move also takes athletes out of the main Olympic city and takes away the traditional, tough less frequent in modern years, finish in the Olympic stadium.

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