Ted Ligety ‘trying to get the feeling back’ after injuries

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Ted Ligety‘s not pleased with his recent skiing, but there’s an understandable reason why he’s missed the podium in three straight World Cup giant slalom races.

“I’m not in good shape,” the Olympic and World giant slalom champion said after finishing fourth in a giant slalom in Alta Badia, Italy, on Sunday. “I’m definitely smaller, weaker, than I was two months ago.”

That’s because Ligety “basically didn’t do anything” for three weeks to a month after winning the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 25.

He said he couldn’t touch his knees or tuck in training due to three herniated disks in his back. Then he tore a hip labrum.

“I don’t have any pain anymore,” Ligety, who fought through it to take second in a super-G in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Dec. 5, said Sunday. “I just need to get back to being strong again.”

Ligety attributed the back problems to new skis.

“They’re difficult, and they hurt everybody’s back,” he said. “Everybody has bad backs here. It’s just the trend. So, it’s an unfortunate new reality.”

Ligety is now 210 points behind Austrian rival Marcel Hirscher in the World Cup giant slalom standings after four of a scheduled 11 races.

Hirscher, who won his third straight GS on Sunday, also took the standings title last season, helping deny Ligety from a three-peat.

Ligety no longer controls his own destiny in the race for this year’s title.

“I definitely have that ability in there,” Ligety said. “Trying to get the feeling back. … Definitely not how I want to be skiing right now.”

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World Alpine Skiing Championships on for 2021 after request to delay rejected

Alpine Skiing World Championships
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GENEVA (AP) — A request by the organizers of next year’s skiing world championships in Italy to postpone the event by one year was rejected Thursday by the International Ski Federation.

FIS ruled that the event will go ahead from Feb. 9-21, 2021, in Cortina d’Ampezzo — the highlight of an Alpine season that faces challenges to find safe protocols for international travel and attending races in Europe, North America and China.

The Veneto region of northern Italy was hit hard by the coronavirus and the season-ending World Cup races in Cortina in mid-March were canceled. That week-long event was to be a test for the 2021 worlds.

“The last month of efforts to come to this solution demonstrates the strong collaborative spirit of the ski family and stakeholders.” FIS president Gian-Franco Kasper said.

Organizers in Italy have said they expect losses of about 30 million euros ($34 million) if the worlds are also canceled. They asked for a postponement to March 2022, which would be only weeks after the Beijing Olympics.

“But we will be ready in any case and we will show that these world championships can change the history of a region despite the current difficulties,” Alessandro Benetton, president of the Cortina organizing committee, said in a statement.

Italian racer Sofia Goggia, the 2018 Olympic downhill champion, said she was “happy for Cortina because it will host the first major international event after the coronavirus epidemic.”

Cortina, which hosted the 1956 Olympics, will co-host the 2026 Winter Games with Milan and use the worlds as a showcase for the resort.

The women’s World Cup downhill on the Olympia delle Tofane course each January is one of the most scenic in the sport with a signature jump between tall outcrops of jagged rock.

The Dolomites venue was awarded the 2021 worlds by FIS after missing out as a candidate four straight times from 2013-19.

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Russia track and field athlete clearance frozen due to unpaid fine

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MONACO (AP) — The program allowing Russian track athletes to compete internationally will be frozen because the country’s federation failed to pay a fine on time, World Athletics said Thursday.

The Russian track federation, known as RusAF, owes a $5 million fine and another $1.31 million in costs for various doping-related work and legal wrangles. World Athletics said RusAF missed Wednesday’s deadline to pay.

World Athletics said it would freeze the work of the Doping Review Board, which vets Russian athletes who want the “authorized neutral athlete” status that allows them to compete internationally, and its taskforce monitoring RusAF’s anti-doping reforms.

World Athletics said both bodies will be “put on hold” until its council meets to discuss the situation at the end of July.

“RusAF is letting its athletes down badly,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said in a statement. “We have done as much as we can to expedite our ANA process and support RusAF with its reinstatement plan, but seemingly to no avail.”

RusAF president Yevgeny Yurchenko earlier told the Tass state news agency that his federation’s finances were damaged by the coronavirus pandemic and that it had asked for more time to pay.

World Athletics’ statement didn’t directly address that issue, but said Russia hadn’t indicated when it would pay.

Russia was fined $10 million by World Athletics in March, with $5 million suspended for two years, after the federation admitted to breaking anti-doping rules and obstructing an investigation.

The Athletics Integrity Unit said fake documents were used under the previous management to give an athlete an alibi for missing a doping test.

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