Sage Kotsenburg
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Sage Kotsenburg leans toward 2018 Olympics, but undecided

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Sage Kotsenburg, the first Olympic snowboard slopestyle champion, said he is leaning toward trying to defend his title at the 2018 Winter Games, but it might be too early to discuss, according to Snowboarder Magazine.

“If you asked me every week since February, 2014, I’d probably go back and forth, and maybe it’s still a little early to talk about, but in some aspects I would love to go back, and in others, I kinda don’t want that to be a part of my life,” Kotsenburg said, according to the magazine. “But, I’ve been thinking recently that going back weighs a little heavier in favor than not going back. Not that there are a ton of negatives to going there. I mean, you’re going to the Olympics. It’s a pretty awesome experience, but it is kinda crazy in terms of how you get there. Right now though, I would be stoked to go back.”

Kotsenburg, 22, struggled at the Winter X Games since his Sochi breakout. He has finished fifth and 10th in slopestyle and seventh in big air, similar to his X Games results before his surprise Olympic title.

Kotsenburg is coming off suffering a concussion at Fenway Park in a big air event in February.

Big air makes its Olympic debut in 2018. Kotsenburg has said he prefers slopestyle to big air and repeated that in the Snowboarder Magazine interview.

“I would definitely rather do slopestyle,” he said. “I wanna hit some more park jumps in the next year-and-a-half, and if I’m feeling good, I’ll try to go back [to the Olympics] for slopestyle. I definitely have to learn some new tricks for big air, but it would be sick to go back for both. I’m up in the air, but it would be cool to go back for both.”

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Gregorio Paltrinieri swims second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history

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Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri swam the second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history, clocking 14:33.10 in his native Italy on Thursday.

Paltrinieri, 25, missed Chinese Sun Yang‘s world record from the 2012 Olympics by 2.08 seconds.

The Italian now owns the second- and third-fastest times in history, including his 14:34.10 from the 2016 European Championships, also held at the 2012 Olympic pool in London.

Paltrinieri is a versatile distance swimmer. At last year’s world championships, he finished sixth in the open-water 10km to qualify for the Olympics, then won the 800m free in the pool in a European record time and finished with 1500m bronze, just missing a third straight world title in that event.

German Florian Wellbrock won the 1500m in 14:36.54 at worlds, with Paltrinieri finishing 2.21 seconds back.

Sun, 28, was in February banned eight years stemming from destroying a drug-test sample with a hammer in September 2018. Sun, who focused more on the 200m and 400m frees in recent years, did not race the 1500m at the 2017 or 2019 Worlds.

Top-level swim meets in the U.S. are scheduled to resume in November with the Tyr Pro Series.

MORE: Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15

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Bianca Andreescu to miss U.S. Open

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Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing “unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic” compromising her ability to prepare to defend her Grand Slam title.

“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level,” Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian, posted on social media. “The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

Andreescu’s absence means the U.S. Open, the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be without both 2019 male and female singles champions.

Rafael Nadal previously announced he would not defend his title, saying he would rather not travel given the global situation. Roger Federer is also out after knee surgery. Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty didn’t enter, either, citing travel concerns.

Last year, Andreescu made her U.S. Open title run as the 15th seed, sweeping Serena Williams in the final. Ranked 208th a year earlier, she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam and the first teen Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 U.S. Open.

Andreescu then missed the Australian Open in January due to rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. She also missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2019 following a rotator cuff tear.

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