Mikaela Shiffrin
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Mikaela Shiffrin injures right knee in crash

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ARE, Sweden (AP) — Olympic slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin is going home to the United States for medical care after injuring her right knee while warming up for a World Cup giant slalom in Are, Sweden.

“I am flying home tomorrow for a complete evaluation. I have at least MCL (medial collateral ligament) injury and bone bruising, hopefully no additional injury. Full diagnosis and recovery predictions after I’ll see a doctor at home,” Shiffrin wrote on Facebook on Saturday.

Shiffrin crashed during a free skiing session on the competition hill and missed Saturday’s race.

“She basically flipped over into the net,” Shiffrin’s manager, Kilian Albrecht, told The Associated Press.

She will also miss Sunday’s slalom, and it’s unclear if she’ll be able to return in time for a giant slalom in Courchevel, France, next weekend.

The U.S. Ski Team did not immediately issue a statement on Shiffrin’s status, as per team policy to await full injury details.

She was taken to a hospital in Ostersund, Albrecht said.

The 20-year-old Shiffrin won the slalom at the 2014 Sochi Games, and at the last two world championships.

Shiffrin also won the opening two slaloms this season in Aspen, Colorado, last month – one of them by 3.07 seconds, the largest margin of victory in World Cup history for the women’s discipline.

In the overall World Cup standings, Shiffrin dropped to 104 points behind fellow American Lindsey Vonn, who won Saturday’s race.

The first run of the GS was delayed by 15 minutes due to strong winds, and shortened by 11 gates. Visibility was also a factor, with the artificial lights turned on to aid skiers.

Sara Hector of Sweden, the first starter, pulled up midway through her run with an apparent knee injury and was taken down the course on a sled.

“I hope both of them are OK,” Vonn said. “Ski racing needs Mikaela and Sara. We can’t afford to lose any more athletes so I really hope that they’re both OK.”

With Tina Maze taking this season off and defending overall winner Anna Fenninger out injured for the year, Shiffrin and Vonn are the top two overall contenders.

Shiffrin had done well in Are previously. She won her first World Cup race there three years ago by taking a night slalom, and won two other slaloms at the Swedish resort near the Arctic Circle.

MORE: Shiffrin debuts in super-G

I am flying home tomorrow for a complete evaluation. I have at least MCL injury and bone bruising, hopefully no additional injury. Full diagnosis and recovery predictions after I'll see a doctor at home.

Posted by Mikaela Shiffrin on Saturday, December 12, 2015

Here's an update- I fell during free skiing on the race hill and I'm waiting for an MRI this afternoon to see what's…

Posted by Mikaela Shiffrin on Saturday, December 12, 2015

Ehsan Hadadi, Iran’s first Olympic track and field medalist, has coronavirus

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Ehsan Hadadi, Iran’s lone Olympic track and field medalist, tested positive for the coronavirus, according to World Athletics and an Iranian news agency.

“We’ve received word from several Asian journalists that Iranian discus thrower Ehsan Hadadi has tested positive for coronavirus,” according to World Athletics. “[Hadadi] trains part of the year in the US, but was home in Tehran when he contracted the virus.”

Hadadi, 35, became the first Iranian to earn an Olympic track and field medal when he took silver in the discus at the 2012 London Games. Hadadi led through four of six rounds before being overtaken by German Robert Harting, who edged the Iranian by three and a half inches.

He was eliminated in qualifying at the Rio Olympics and placed seventh at last fall’s world championships in Doha.

Jordan Larson preps for her last Olympics, one year later than expected

Jordan Larson
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Whether the Tokyo Olympics would have been this summer or in 2021, Jordan Larson knew this: It will mark her final tournament with the U.S. volleyball team, should she make the roster.

“I’m just not getting any younger,” said Larson, a 33-year-old outside hitter. “I’ve been playing consistently overseas for 12 years straight with no real offseason.

“I also have other endeavors in my life that I want to see. Getting married, having children, those kinds of things. The older I get, the more challenging those become.”

Larson, who debuted on the national team in 2009, has been a leader the last two Olympic cycles. She succeeded Christa Harmotto Dietzen as captain after the Rio Games. Larson started every match at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

As long as Larson was in the building, the U.S. never had to worry about the outside hitter position, said two-time Olympian and NBC Olympics volleyball analyst Kevin Barnett.

“She played as if she belonged from the start,” he said. “They will miss her all-around capability. They’ll miss her ability to make everyone around her better. She’s almost like having a libero who can hit.”

Karch Kiraly, the Olympic indoor and beach champion who took over as head coach after the 2012 Olympics, gushed about her court vision.

“It’s a little dated now, but somebody like Wayne Gretzky just saw things that other people didn’t see on the hockey rink,” Kiraly said in 2018. “And I remember reading about him one time, and the quote from an opposing goalie was, oh my god, here he comes, what does he see that I don’t see right now? She sees things sooner than most people.”

Larson grew up in Hooper, Neb., (population 830) and starred at the University of Nebraska. She was a three-time All-American who helped the team win a national title as a sophomore. She had the opportunity to leave Nebraska and try out for the Olympics in 2008 but chose to remain at school for her final season.

She earned the nickname “Governor” as a Cornhusker State sports icon.

Larson helped the U.S. win its first major international title at the 2014 World Championship. She was also part of the program’s two stingers — defeats in the 2012 Olympic final and 2016 Olympic semifinals, both matches where the U.S. won the first set (and convincingly in 2012).

“It just gives me chills thinking about it now,” Larson said of the Rio Olympic semifinals, where Serbia beat the U.S. 15-13 in the fifth. “That team, we put in so much. Not just on the court but off the court working on culture and working on how are we best for each other. How can we be the best team? How can we out-team people? Certain teams have a better one player that’s a standout that we maybe didn’t have or don’t have. So how can we out-team the other teams? We had just put in so much work that was just heartbreaking.”

Larson and the Americans rebounded to win the bronze-medal match two days later.

“I don’t know anybody that didn’t have their heart ripped out. It was just a soul-crusher of a match,” Kiraly said of the semifinal. “More meaningful was what a great response everybody, including Jordan, mounted to the disappointment of that loss.”

The U.S. took fifth at worlds in 2018 and is now ranked second in the world behind China.

Larson spent the past club season in Shanghai. The campaign ended in mid-January. She hadn’t heard anything about the coronavirus when she took her scheduled flight back to California, learning days later that LAX started screening for it. Now, she’s working out from her garage.

Larson is in line to become the fifth-oldest U.S. Olympic women’s volleyball player in history, according Olympedia and the OlyMADMen.

Her decade of experience could go a long way to help the next generation of outside hitters, led by three-time NCAA champion and Sullivan Award winner Kathryn Plummer.

“If you’re coming into the USA program as an outside hitter, in the next year or the quad or the quad after that,” Barnett said, “the measuring stick is going to be Jordan Larson.”

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