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Sweden gets monumental win over No. 1 USA in PKs at Olympics

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The United States women’s national soccer team were stunned in a monumental upset by former coach Pia Sundhage and Sweden, losing in penalty kicks after a 1-1 score line in regulation and extra time.

Hedvig Lindahl stopped Alex Morgan’s opening penalty kick, but Hope Solo saved one to make it level. Christen Press sent the United States’ fifth offering over the goal, and Lisa Dahlqvist sent Solo the wrong way, and the Yanks were eliminated.

Alex Morgan’s 77th minute goal pushed the USWNT to extra time with Sweden after Stina Blackstenius, and nothing could divide the teams before penalty kicks.

The United States was on the front foot from the get-go, with Swedish goalkeeper Lindahl called into action for a big save off an early corner.

An electric play by Alex Morgan near the Sweden end line almost forced the Swedes into an own goal in the 28th minute, but Lindahl again stepped in to allay the threat.

The Americans piled on pressure as the first half neared stoppage time, and both Morgan and Julie Johnston barely missed heading home on a late free kick. 0-0 at the break.

The U.S. had a couple dangerous free kicks to start the second half. A well-drawn play was foiled when Carli Lloyd flubbed her shot wide of the near post, and her second chance flew just over the bar.

The whole thing turned on its ear with a half-hour to play, as Blackstenius raced through the U.S. defense and grounded a perfect finish into the side netting.

Just when hope literally seemed lost, Morgan pulled a goal from nothing. The American striker darted onto a deflected pass and pushed the ball past Lindahl to level things at 1.

Crystal Dunn made a breathtaking run across the 18 to lay off for Lloyd in the 84th minute, but the U.S. star had her shot deflect wide. The Yanks then made a mockery of several chances in the box before Tobin Heath saw a rocket shot saved by Lindahl.

Heath nearly gave the game away from a holding position midway through the first period of extra time, but Mallory Pugh’s hard charge back coupled with a bizarre Swedish offside run thwarted the threat. Morgan worked a chance moments later at the other end, but Lindahl cut down her already-sharp angle.

Lloyd looked to have won it on a terrific cross from Dunn, but was ruled to have pulled down a defender en route to the goal (rightly called). Then Sweden thought it went ahead from an offside position (wrongly called). There’s grey area, but it could’ve been 2-1 for either team or 2-2 (And yes, we understand butterfly effect logic).

World Alpine Skiing Championships on for 2021 after request to delay rejected

Alpine Skiing World Championships
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GENEVA (AP) — A request by the organizers of next year’s skiing world championships in Italy to postpone the event by one year was rejected Thursday by the International Ski Federation.

FIS ruled that the event will go ahead from Feb. 9-21, 2021, in Cortina d’Ampezzo — the highlight of an Alpine season that faces challenges to find safe protocols for international travel and attending races in Europe, North America and China.

The Veneto region of northern Italy was hit hard by the coronavirus and the season-ending World Cup races in Cortina in mid-March were canceled. That week-long event was to be a test for the 2021 worlds.

“The last month of efforts to come to this solution demonstrates the strong collaborative spirit of the ski family and stakeholders.” FIS president Gian-Franco Kasper said.

Organizers in Italy have said they expect losses of about 30 million euros ($34 million) if the worlds are also canceled. They asked for a postponement to March 2022, which would be only weeks after the Beijing Olympics.

“But we will be ready in any case and we will show that these world championships can change the history of a region despite the current difficulties,” Alessandro Benetton, president of the Cortina organizing committee, said in a statement.

Italian racer Sofia Goggia, the 2018 Olympic downhill champion, said she was “happy for Cortina because it will host the first major international event after the coronavirus epidemic.”

Cortina, which hosted the 1956 Olympics, will co-host the 2026 Winter Games with Milan and use the worlds as a showcase for the resort.

The women’s World Cup downhill on the Olympia delle Tofane course each January is one of the most scenic in the sport with a signature jump between tall outcrops of jagged rock.

The Dolomites venue was awarded the 2021 worlds by FIS after missing out as a candidate four straight times from 2013-19.

MORE: Anna Veith retires, leaves Austrian Alpine skiing in unfamiliar territory

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Russia track and field athlete clearance frozen due to unpaid fine

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MONACO (AP) — The program allowing Russian track athletes to compete internationally will be frozen because the country’s federation failed to pay a fine on time, World Athletics said Thursday.

The Russian track federation, known as RusAF, owes a $5 million fine and another $1.31 million in costs for various doping-related work and legal wrangles. World Athletics said RusAF missed Wednesday’s deadline to pay.

World Athletics said it would freeze the work of the Doping Review Board, which vets Russian athletes who want the “authorized neutral athlete” status that allows them to compete internationally, and its taskforce monitoring RusAF’s anti-doping reforms.

World Athletics said both bodies will be “put on hold” until its council meets to discuss the situation at the end of July.

“RusAF is letting its athletes down badly,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said in a statement. “We have done as much as we can to expedite our ANA process and support RusAF with its reinstatement plan, but seemingly to no avail.”

RusAF president Yevgeny Yurchenko earlier told the Tass state news agency that his federation’s finances were damaged by the coronavirus pandemic and that it had asked for more time to pay.

World Athletics’ statement didn’t directly address that issue, but said Russia hadn’t indicated when it would pay.

Russia was fined $10 million by World Athletics in March, with $5 million suspended for two years, after the federation admitted to breaking anti-doping rules and obstructing an investigation.

The Athletics Integrity Unit said fake documents were used under the previous management to give an athlete an alibi for missing a doping test.

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