Mikaela Shiffrin’s comeback delayed

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Mikaela Shiffrin is not expected to return to the Alpine skiing World Cup before the penultimate technical races of the season in Jasna, Slovakia, from March 5-6 after recent medical tests revealed she suffered a bone fracture and not just a bruise, in addition to her right MCL tear, in a Dec. 12 crash.

“Due to the small fracture she had she will go on the safe side and let that heal fully before going on snow,” her agent said in an email Monday, confirming Austrian reports. “Jasna is very possible.”

If she is out until March, Shiffrin has no chance of winning a fourth straight World Cup season slalom title.

Shiffrin, 20 and the youngest Olympic slalom champion, suffered the right knee injury in a Dec. 12 warm-up crash.

Shiffrin, who did not require surgery, said three days after the crash that a return this season was “unlikely,” according to the Denver Post.

Two weeks ago, buoyed by promising rehab, Shiffrin said she expected to race again this season and that her original timetable given to her in mid-December was a four-to-12-week absence.

The World Cup slalom standings leader, Frida Hansdotter of Sweden, is 305 points ahead of Shiffrin through seven of 11 scheduled races.

Winners receive 100 points per race, so Shiffrin is mathetmatically eliminated from contention for the season title if she will miss the next two slaloms.

MORE: Lindsey Vonn halfway to overall wins record in comeback

Jennifer Valente takes silver in world cycling championship scratch race

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Jennifer Valente won the first medal for the U.S. team in the world track cycling championships Wednesday in Berlin, finishing second behind Dutch cyclist Kirsten Wild in the scratch race.

Wild won the mass-start event for the third time, having taken gold in 2015 and 2018, and her seventh world championship in all track cycling disciplines. She also took silver in the 2016 world championship road race.

Valente also joined Chloé Dygert, Emma White and Lily Williams in women’s team pursuit qualifying, posting the fastest time of the day and easily qualifying for the semifinals on Thursday. The U.S. team has been in transition with the retirement of Sarah Hammer and the death of Kelly Catlin, who committed suicide in March. Hammer, Catlin, Dygert and Valente took silver in the 2016 Olympics.

READ: Dygert aims for road and track double in Tokyo

The Netherlands took two of the three gold medals on Wednesday’s program, beating Britain to win the men’s team sprint. Germany beat Australia to win the women’s team sprint.

READ: Track cycling broadcast and streaming schedule

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Tokyo organizers, IOC going ahead as planned with Olympics

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TOKYO (AP) — A spokesman for the Japanese government on Wednesday said the International Olympic Committee and local organizers are going as planned with the Tokyo Olympics.

The comments from spokesman Yoshihide Suga follow the assertion by IOC veteran Dick Pound that organizers face a three-month window to decide the fate of the Games.

READ: Pound cites time needed to ramp up operations

The Olympics are set to open on July 24 with 11,000 athletes. The Paralympics open Aug. 25 with 4,400.

Also Wednesday, Tokyo organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto abruptly called a news conference to address Pound’s comments.

“Our basic thoughts are that we will go ahead with the Olympic and Paralympic Games as scheduled,” Muto said, speaking in Japanese. “For the time being, the situation of the coronavirus infection is, admittedly, difficult to predict, but we will take measures such that we’ll have a safe Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Muto added: ““That the end of May is the time limit, we have never thought of this or heard of such a comment. So when we asked about this, we received a response saying that is not the position of the IOC.”

Muto also allowed for the possibility of downsizing the Olympic torch relay but insisted it will not be canceled.

Pound told the Associated Press that the fast-spreading virus could cancel the Olympics. Suga says Pound’s opinion does not reflect the official view of the IOC, which has repeatedly said there are no plans to cancel or postpone the Tokyo Games.

“With regard to this member’s comment, the IOC has responded that this is not their official position, and that IOC is proceeding with preparations toward the games as scheduled,” Suga said, speaking in Japanese at his daily news conference.

Pound is a former IOC vice-president and a member since 1978, and was the founding president of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

He also represented Canada as a swimmer at the Olympics.

In a telephone interview from Montreal, Pound said the IOC has a three-month window to decide, and suggested other options like moving events of postponing seemed less likely.

“In and around that time,” he said, “I’d say folks are going to have to ask: ‘Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo or now?”‘

If the IOC decides the games cannot go forward as scheduled in Tokyo, “you’re probably looking at a cancellation,” said Pound, who added that he was not commenting on behalf of the IOC.

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