U.S. men’s results at Worlds likely to impact 2018 Olympics

Max Aaron
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BOSTON — If two of the three U.S. men’s skaters at this week’s World Championships struggle, it could have a domino effect into the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics.

That’s because nations’ finishes at every year’s Worlds determine entry numbers for the next year’s Worlds. And at next year’s Worlds, Olympic entry numbers are likely to be determined, though the International Skating Union hasn’t officially announced qualifying procedures yet.

The two best finishes of the three U.S. men competing this week must add up to 13 or fewer (fifth and eighth, for example) to keep three U.S. men’s spots for the 2017 Worlds.

Three spots over two at the 2017 Worlds will be key for the Olympics, because it allows the U.S. to throw away its weakest finish at 2017 Worlds for Olympic qualifying purposes. If the U.S. has only two skaters entered, there is no margin for error.

Take the last Olympic cycle for example.

In 2013, Aaron finished a respectable seventh in his Worlds debut, but veteran teammate Ross Miner was 14th. Their combined total — 21 — kept the U.S. at two men’s skaters for the Sochi Winter Games, its first time at fewer than the maximum of three since 1998.

“I was hoping and I had a feeling that Ross was going to show up because he had been there before, that he was going to lead the way, and I was going to go out there and throw everything I’ve got at it,” Aaron recalled Monday. “Unfortunately, Ross had a rough skate.”

If the U.S. had a third skater at the 2013 Worlds, it could have thrown away Miner’s 14th place and potentially secured three spots for Sochi.

It didn’t, and Aaron was left in the worst position in January 2014, missing the Olympic team by finishing third at the U.S. Championships.

This week, one of the U.S. trio of Rippon, Aaron and Worlds rookie Grant Hochstein could struggle and have his result thrown away.

Even with that cushion, reaching that 13 number will be a challenge. The field includes the top five skaters from the Grand Prix season, none of which are Americans. If everyone skates their best, sixth or seventh places might be the best the Americans can hope for.

The best previous Worlds finish by Aaron or Rippon was Rippon’s sixth in 2010.

“If I could predict the future, I would tell you what’s going to happen,” Aaron said. “Adam, with his [U.S.] champion status right now, hopefully can lead the way. … If I can bring out the quads [jumps], we’ll see.”

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Aksel Lund Svindal, Olympic Alpine champ, has testicular cancer, ‘prognosis good’

Aksel Lund Svindal
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Aksel Lund Svindal, a retired Olympic Alpine skiing champion from Norway, said he underwent surgery for testicular cancer and the prognosis “looked very good.”

“Tests, scans and surgery all happened very quickly,” Svindal, 39, wrote on social media. “And already after the first week I knew the prognoses looked very good. All thanks to that first decision to go see a doctor as soon as I suspected something was off.”

Svindal retired in 2019 after winning the Olympic super-G in 2010 and downhill in 2018. He also won five world titles among the downhill, combined and giant slalom and two World Cup overall titles.

Svindal said he felt a change in his body that prompted him to see a doctor.

“The last few weeks have been different,” he wrote. “But I’m able to say weeks and not months because of great medical help, a little luck and a good decision.

“I wasn’t sure what it was, or if it was anything at all. … [I] was quickly transferred to the hospital where they confirmed what the doctor suspected. Testicle cancer.”

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France vs. Mali Group B
4 a.m. Australia vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada vs. Japan Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final