Pau Gasol
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Pau Gasol may skip Olympics due to Zika virus

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Spanish basketball star Pau Gasol is the latest athlete to announce publicly thoughts about skipping the Rio Olympics due to the Zika virus.

“It wouldn’t surprise me to see some athletes deciding not to participate in the Games to avoid putting their health and the health of their families at risk,” Gasol said Monday, according to The Associated Press. “I’m thinking about [whether or not to go]. Just like every athlete, or any other person considering going to Rio, should be thinking about it.”

Gasol, a two-time Olympic silver medalist, held a press conference and wrote a column in Spanish newspaper El Pais titled “Olympic dream or medical nightmare?” on Monday.

“Returning to Spain after eight months in the United States, I am struck by how few people in Europe are talking about the Zika virus and its consequences,” Gasol wrote in the column. “From my conversations with both U.S. and Spanish experts, my conclusion is that Zika is a much bigger and more serious threat than we think.”

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Kaillie Humphries grabs another win as U.S. bobsled driver

Kaillie Humphries
AP
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LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) — Kaillie Humphries’ first two races for the U.S. could not have turned out better.

Humphries improved to 2-for-2 on the young season, winning another women’s bobsled World Cup race at Mount Van Hoevenberg on Saturday. The former top Canadian driver who joined the U.S. program earlier this year teamed with Lauren Gibbs to finish two runs in 1 minute, 54.03 seconds.

It was Humphries’ first time winning back-to-back golds since January 2016, and the first time any women’s driver has opened a season with two straight wins since Elana Meyers Taylor of the U.S. prevailed in the first three events of the 2014-15 season.

Germany’s Kim Kalicki drove to the silver medal in 1:54.18, or 0.15 seconds behind Humphries. Canada got the bronze, with Christine De Bruin getting her sled across the line in 1:54.25. Brittany Reinbolt was the next-best U.S. finisher after Humphries, teaming with Sylvia Hoffman to place eighth in 1:55.28.

Earlier Saturday, Canada’s Justin Kripps won the season’s opening World Cup four-man bobsled race, prevailing at Mount Van Hoevenberg for the second consecutive year.

Kripps and his team of Ryan Sommer, Cameron Stones and Benjamin Coakwell finished two runs in 1 minute, 49.50 seconds. Latvia’s sled driven by Oskars Kibermanis was second in 1:49.89 and Austria’s Benjamin Maier drove to the bronze in 1:49.97.

It was only the second time in the last 17 World Cup four-man races that Germany failed to medal — the other being last year, also in Lake Placid. The top German finish in four-man was a tie for fourth between drivers Francesco Friedrich and Johannes Lochner.

The sled driven by Codie Bascue was sixth to lead the U.S. contingent. There is a second four-man race in Lake Placid on Sunday, after last weekend’s opening event of the season saw two two-man races and none of the four-man variety.

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Sofia Goggia loses pole, wins race by .01

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ST. MORITZ, Switerland (AP) — An Italian 1-2 edging Mikaela Shiffrin into third place. This movie has been seen before in the women’s World Cup this season.

By the smallest margin, Italy’s Sofia Goggia won a super-G on Saturday and Mikaela Shiffrin was third, which helped extend her overall standings lead.

Goggia was just 0.01 second faster than her teammate Federica Brignone on a sunny, windswept mountain above the high-end resort of St. Moritz.

Shiffrin was only 0.13 behind Goggia for her sixth podium finish in eight World Cup races so far as she seeks a fourth straight overall title.

It was the second time in two weeks that Shiffrin stood looking up at two Italians. It also happened in a giant slalom at Killington, Vt., where Marta Bassino edged Brignone for victory.

“They are all great skiers and they have a really aggressive mindset,” Shiffrin said of her friendly rivalry with the Italy team. “It’s super cool to see.”

Brignone was sitting in the leader’s box when Goggia raced and applauded with hands above her head after seeing her teammate’s time.

“It’s an amazing thing for all the team to share the podium and share happiness,” said Brignone, though acknowledging it hurt to lose by so little.

“It’s one hundredth so it burns. A lot,” she said.

Goggia’s seventh World Cup win was her third in super-G. She also took silver at the biennial world championships in February when Shiffrin won by just 0.02.

Always one of the most flamboyant racers, Goggia seemed at the limit making some turns and lost a ski pole landing a jump near the end.

The 2018 Olympic downhill champion said she had to let the pole go after soaring “too long, too high” at the jump.

Goggia also held nothing back standing atop the podium, loudly and heartily singing her national anthem, known by its opening line of Fratelli d’Italia, with eyes closed.

In a tight race, 10 racers were within one second of the winner. Nicole Schmidhofer, the 2017 World champion on this course, was fourth and there was a three-way tie for sixth.

By placing 10th, Viktoria Rebensburg rose to lead the super-G standings after two races. The German racer is also second overall though her World Cup points total is less than half of Shiffrin’s 532 tally.

“For now, she [Shiffrin] is unbeatable for the overall,” said Brignone, who is third.

Shiffrin won this race last year, and also added victory in the parallel slalom to sweep the weekend series.

Shiffrin later said she will skip Sunday’s parallel event — just the third time she has skipped a tech race since she burst onto the World Cup scene in 2012 — to prepare for a giant slalom in Courchevel, France, on Tuesday and a downhill and combined in Val d’Isere next weekend.

“There are quite a few reasons for this but at the top of the list is that for several years I have been longing to race Val d’Isere but have never been able to because the @fisalpine schedule is always too tough (for those who race in all disciplines),” was posted on Shiffrin’s social media. “But one of my goals this season is to get on that track and to race a little more speed in general so I’m trying to manage energy and focus accordingly!”

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