Dunga, Neymar
AP

Brazil coach prefers Neymar at Olympics over Copa America

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MADRID (AP) — Brazil coach Dunga would prefer to see Barcelona star Neymar at the Rio Olympics in August than in the centennial Copa America in the United States in June.

Dunga and his staff are in Spain this week to talk to Neymar and Barcelona to decide in which tournaments the forward will play. Officials from the Brazilian football confederation said a decision will only be made after an agreement is reached among all parties.

“If I have to choose between Copa America and the Olympics, I prefer to see him [Neymar] in the Olympics,” Dunga told Brazilian TV channel Esporte Interativo.

Dunga, who was in the Spanish capital for Real Madrid’s Champions League match against Roma on Tuesday, highlighted “the importance of the gold medal for Brazil.”

Neymar has said he wants to play in both competitions, but Barcelona is likely to ask him to participate in only one of them.

“It will be up to them to decide what to do,” Gilmar Rinaldi, the confederation official overseeing the Brazilian national team, told The Associated Press at Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. “We will talk to the player and to Barcelona coach [Luis Enrique] to see what they have in mind.”

Barcelona is not obliged to release players for the Olympic tournament, where only three players above the age of 23 can play in each squad.

Dunga said he would rather have the 24-year-old Neymar at the Olympics, which is the only significant soccer tournament Brazil hasn’t won.

Neymar’s Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi has already said he will play for Argentina in the Copa America, not the Olympics. Messi helped his nation win the gold medal in the 2008 Games in Beijing.

 

MORE: Neymar: I told Barcelona I want to play in Olympics

Justin Schoenefeld gets U.S.’ first men’s aerials World Cup win in 4 years

Justin Schoenefeld
U.S. Ski & Snowboard
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Justin Schoenefeld ended a four-year U.S. men’s aerials drought with his first World Cup win Saturday in Belarus.

Schoenfeld, 21, hit a double full-full-full in the super final to beat a field that included world champion Maxim Burov of Russia. Burov was fourth, one spot behind another American, Chris Lillis. Full results are here.

“I’m pretty speechless right now,” Schoenefeld said, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I’m just shocked. It just all came so quick, all of a sudden the two finals were over, and I was on top of the podium. I probably landed two of my training jumps yesterday, but I managed to land all of my comp jumps down to my feet.”

Schoenefeld’s best previous World Cup finish was fourth, in Belarus last season.

Lillis earned the U.S.’ last World Cup men’s aerials victory on Feb. 20, 2016, also in Belarus. The four-year gap between wins marked the longest for the U.S. men since aerials was added as an Olympic medal sport in 1994.

Schoenefeld also became the first American of either gender to win a World Cup aerials event in two years, since Kiley McKinnon on Jan. 6, 2018. That gap was the longest for the U.S. since 2005.

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MORE: Olympic aerials champion retires to coach

Kaillie Humphries wins bobsled world title in first season for U.S.

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Two-time Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries won a bobsled world title in her first season since switching allegiance from Canada to the U.S., ending recent German dominance.

Humphries, with brakewoman Lauren Gibbs, edged German junior world champ Kim Kalicki by .37 of a second combining times from four runs between Friday and Saturday in Altenberg, Germany.

“I love this track. It’s very challenging, one of the hardest in the world,” Humphries said, according to U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton. “It demands a lot of focus, a lot of respect every minute you’re on that track. So to be able to win here, I know the Germans and the spectators, everybody, have worked so hard and this week, no exceptions. I’m proud of all of the girls.”

Canadian Christine de Bruin took bronze for a second straight year. Full results are here.

Humphries, who married a former U.S. bobsledder, was released by Canada in September after filing verbal abuse and harassment claims against a coach, saying she no longer felt safe with the program. As a Canadian, Humphries won 2010 and 2014 Olympic titles, plus 2012 and 2013 World titles.

Humphries joined German Sandra Kiriasis as the only female drivers to win three world titles. She is already the only female driver with multiple Olympic titles.

German Mariama Jamanka, the reigning Olympic champion and defending world champion, finished fourth in Altenberg.

Triple U.S. Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor didn’t compete as she sits out the season due to pregnancy. Meyers Taylor and Gibbs teamed for silver in PyeongChang.

The world championships continue Sunday with the conclusion of the two-man competition. German Francesco Friedrich, eyeing his sixth straight world title, leads after the first two of four runs.

A full TV and live stream schedule is here.

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VIDEO: Steven Holcomb’s mother’s speech after accepting Olympic medals