Mikaela Shiffrin injures right knee in crash

Mikaela Shiffrin
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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

12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

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At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

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A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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