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WATCH LIVE: Canoe/kayak, sailing, shooting and tennis

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The men’s canoe double slalom and women’s kayak single slalom competitions are scheduled for Thursday, with medals being awarded in both events during the afternoon session. In the women’s kayak single American Ashlee Nee has hopes of winning a medal in a field that includes Australia’s Jessica Fox, who’s looking to improve upon the silver medal she won in London four years ago.

WATCH LIVE: Men’s canoe double slalom, women’s kayak single slalom — 11:30 a.m. Eastern

As for the men’s canoe double slalom the American team of Devin McEwan and Casey Eichfeld look to medal in a field headlined by France’s Gauthier Klauss and Matthieu Peche, the reigning world champions in the C2 slalom.

WATCH LIVE: Sailing, Men’s 470 and men’s Finn — 12 p.m. Eastern

Like tennis, sailing had some weather issues to deal with Wednesday but ultimately many of those races were able to run. Thursday features another full schedule that includes men’s 470 and men’s Finn races, and there are also women’s 470 and RS:X races to be run. Great Britain’s Giles Scott, a big favorite to win gold, will be racing in the men’s Finn and Americans Annie Haegar and Briana Provancha will look to move closer to a medal in the women’s 470 after performing well on the first day of the competition.

WATCH LIVE: Women’s 50 meter rifle, three positions final — 11 a.m. Eastern

Having already won a gold medal in these Olympics, American Ginny Thrasher is back in competition as the women’s 50 meter air rifle (three positions) competition will be held Thursday. Du Li of China, Croatia’s Snjezana Pejcic and Germany’s Barbara Engleder are all expected to contend, with Du Li finishing second behind Thrasher in the 10 meter air rifle competition.

WATCH LIVE: Tennis competitions, day six — 10 a.m.

No tennis was played Wednesday, with rain forcing the cancellation of all 26 scheduled matches. Among those scheduled to compete Thursday are Spain’s Rafael Nadal, Great Britain’s Andy Murray and Americans Madison Keys and Steve Johnson. Venus Williams, who was eliminated in the first round of both the women’s singles and women’s doubles competitions, will look to advance in the mixed doubles tournament with partner Rajeev Ram.

Maria Sharapova wraps up tennis career after nearly two decades, career Slam

Maria Sharapova
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Maria Sharapova has announced her retirement after a professional tennis career that includes five Grand Slam wins, 36 singles titles and an Olympic silver medal.

Sharapova was only 17 when she won her first major in 2004 at Wimbledon. She won the U.S. Open in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2008 before completing her career Grand Slam in the 2012 French Open. She won the French Open again in 2014.

After moving from Russia to Florida at age 9 to train at the Bollettieri Academy, she made her professional debut just after her 14th birthday in 2001. She graduated to top-level events and majors within two years and reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon in 2003.

In 2004, she upset Lindsay Davenport and Serena Williams at Wimbledon and beat Williams again at the Tour Championships.

By 2005, the 6-foot-2 player had claimed the top spot in the world rankings. She remained in the top five for most of the next four years before suffering an injury to her right shoulder that limited her tournament schedule in 2008 and 2009. By 2011, she had reclaimed her status as a top-five player and remained there until 2016.

Her career declined after a positive drug test at the 2016 Australian Open. The substance in question, meldonium, had been given by Russian doctors to many athletes.

An initial suspension of two years was reduced to 15 months, but she wasn’t able to get back to her previous form. She won one more tournament in 2017 and reached the quarterfinals of the 2018 French Open, but she fared poorly in sporadic appearances in 2019. Her last match was a loss to Donna Vekic in the first round of the Australian Open in January.

SEE: Sharapova discusses reduced ban on TODAY

Her meldonium suspension also cost her commercial sponsorships and her role as a UN Development Program ambassador, which she earned with her work to help survivors of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl.

She was involved in the Olympics as a silver medalist in 2012, losing to Williams in the final, and as one of the final torch bearers in the relay to the 2014 Olympics opening ceremony in her home country.

She’s also third on the all-time WTA earnings list behind Serena and Venus Williams, taking in more than $38m in her career on top of lucrative endorsement deals.

Federica Brignone hopes World Cup rival Mikaela Shiffrin will return soon

Shiffrin and Brignone
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Mikaela Shiffrin‘s prolonged absence from the World Cup Alpine skiing circuit has opened the door for Italy’s Federica Brignone to break the American’s grip on the season title, but Brignone hopes her friend and rival will be back in competition soon.

“I really do hope that she will return soon for herself so she can do again what she loves most,” Brignone said.

Brignone took the season lead from Shiffrin, who has won the last three World Cup overall titles, on Sunday and has a 73-point advantage with 11 of the season’s 40 races remaining. She also leads Shiffrin by 74 points in the giant slalom standings.

READ: Brignone moves into World Cup lead

No Italian woman has won the overall World Cup. Brignone was fifth in 2017 and won the Alpine combined discipline title last season.

Brignone will have a chance to clinch another Alpine combined discipline title and extend her overall lead in her home country this weekend. While some other sports events in Italy have been canceled or otherwise affected by the coronavirus outbreak, the host resort of La Thuile has so far been spared from the virus’ spread.

Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, the only other skier with a realistic chance of winning the overall trophy, is dealing with a knee injury and might not be able to race this weekend. Vhlova leads Shiffrin by 20 points in the slalom standings.

Shiffrin has not competed since the death of her father Feb. 2, and she has not announced plans to return. She was not on pace to match her astounding 17-win 2018-19 season but still had six wins and had reached the podium in 13 of 19 races.

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