Lindsey Vonn ends season early following crash

Lindsey Vonn
AP
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Lindsey Vonn will not race again this season due to left knee injuries suffered in a Saturday crash, according to her social media.

“Today I am making the difficult decision to end my season and leave the World Cup circuit due to an injury I suffered last Saturday,” was posted on her social media Wednesday. “Because I am currently leading the Overall World Cup standings, this is one of the toughest decisions of my career.”

Vonn, with a slim 28-point standings lead over Swiss Lara Gut, was eight races from possibly winning her fifth World Cup overall title and her first since two major right knee surgeries knocked her out of the Sochi Olympics.

But on Saturday, she fractured her left tibial plateau in a super-G crash (video here).

She raced Sunday thinking she had one hairline fracture, finishing 13th in a super combined, but learned after further scans Tuesday that the injury was worse than first thought.

“Those images showed that there was not just 1 hairline fracture, but in fact 3,” was posted on Vonn’s social media. “And the fractures are not hairline, but instead they are significant enough that they are not sufficiently stable to permit me to safely continue skiing. Further damage any of the fragments could result in a serious surgery that would risk my future in ski racing. With the World Championships in St. Moritz next year and the Winter Olympics in South Korea the following year, I cannot take that risk.”

MORE: Lindsey Vonn’s long history of injuries

Vonn, 31, hoped to become the oldest women’s World Cup overall champion ever this season.

She won eight of the season’s first nine speed races (downhill and super-G) through Feb. 6, putting her on pace for her most successful season ever. Vonn’s highest win total for one season was 12 in 2011-12, the season before she crashed in the 2013 World Championships super-G.

Vonn also clinched her record-breaking 20th World Cup season title across all disciplines and the overall by taking the downhill crystal globe for a record eighth time.

She also moved closer to the World Cup wins record of 86 held by retired Swede Ingemar Stenmark, reaching 76 victories. Since Vonn has won eight and nine races the last two seasons, she is on pace to break the record before the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics.

In 2018, the 2010 Olympic downhill champion Vonn will be older than any previous Olympic women’s Alpine skiing medalist.

With Vonn out the rest of the season, Gut is in line to earn her first World Cup overall title.

She should pass Vonn in the standings either this weekend or next weekend, ahead of the final four races of the season at the World Cup Finals in St. Moritz from March 16-20.

Gut, 24 and the Olympic downhill bronze medalist, has a 293-point edge over third-place Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany.

VIDEO: Vonn meets Ingemar Stenmark

Teri McKeever fired by Cal as women’s swimming coach after investigation

Teri McKeever
Getty
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Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was fired by the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation into alleged verbal and emotional abuse of swimmers that she denied.

McKeever was put on paid administrative leave from her job as head women’s swimming coach in May after an Orange County Register report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

Cal athletics director Jim Knowlton wrote in a letter to the Cal team and staff that a resulting independent law firm report detailed “verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values.”

“I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student-athletes, our swimming program and Cal Athletics as a whole,” Knowlton said of McKeever’s firing in a press release. “The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin and disability discrimination.”

The Orange County Register first published what it says is the full independent report here with redactions.

“I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation,” McKeever said in a statement Tuesday confirming her firing and expressing disappointment in how the investigation was conducted. “While I am disappointed in the way my CAL Career will conclude, I wish to thank and celebrate the many student-athletes and staff that made my time in Berkeley a true blessing and gift.”

McKeever’s lawyer wrote that McKeever “will be filing suit to expose the manner in which gender has affected not only the evaluation of her coaching but harmed and continues to harm both female and male athletes.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for nearly 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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