April Ross changes plans for 2017

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April Ross will play beach volleyball in 2017 after all.

Ross had hoped to get pregnant this offseason, but those plans have changed, according to USA Volleyball and Ross’ agent.

Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings are planning to embark on their fourth full season together at the start of the FIVB World Tour calendar in February, Walsh Jennings’ agent said.

Ross, 34, said in September that if she didn’t get pregnant this offseason, she would try again next offseason, which would mean she would miss 2018, the only season in the cycle without a world championships or Olympics.

Ross and Walsh Jennings took bronze at the Rio Olympics, getting upset by Brazil’s No. 2 team, Agatha and Barbara, in the semifinals and beating Brazil’s top team, Larissa and Talita, in the bronze-medal match.

Something Ross and Walsh Jennings can work toward in 2017 are the world championships in Vienna, Austria, in July and August.

They fell in the round of 16 in their only other worlds appearance in 2015, when Walsh Jennings was playing for the first time since dislocating her right shoulder the month prior.

Walsh Jennings won three straight world titles with Misty May-Treanor in 2003, 2005 and 2007. Ross won the next world title with Jennifer Kessy in 2009. No U.S. men’s or women’s pair has won a world title since.

MORE: LA traffic ends U.S. Olympic beach volleyball partnership

Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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Sifan Hassan sets marathon debut

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Sifan Hassan, who won 5000m and 10,000m gold and 1500m bronze at the Tokyo Olympics in an unprecedented triple, will make her 26.2-mile debut at the London Marathon on April 23.

Hassan, a 30-year-old Dutchwoman, said she will return to the track after the race, but how the London Marathon goes will play into whether she bids for the Olympic marathon in 2024.

“I want to see what I can do on the marathon distance, to make future decisions,” she posted on social media. “We’ll see if I will finish the distance or if the distance will finish me.”

Exhausted by her Olympic feat, Hassan reportedly went at least seven months after the Tokyo Games between training in track spikes. She finished fourth in the 10,000m and sixth in the 5000m at last July’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon.

“I really needed a break after the Tokyo Olympics,” Hassan said at worlds. “I was mentally crashed. I didn’t even care about running.”

London, billed as the best women’s marathon field in history, also boasts Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya, world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya, 2016 Olympic 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia, 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia and the two fastest Americans in history, Emily Sisson and Keira D’Amato.

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