Bode Miller plans to race next season, U.S. coach says

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SANTA CATERINA VALFURVA, Italy (AP) — Bode Miller is still planning on racing again. Just probably not this season.

U.S. Ski Team head coach Sasha Rearick said that Miller told him he no longer plans on coming over to Europe for training in January.

“He sent me a text. He said, ‘Count me in coach in the future. I’m coming back. Just things are not looking good for me to travel this January,'” Rearick told The Associated Press on Thursday at a World Cup combined race.

Earlier this month, a lawsuit Miller had filed against his former sponsor and ski manufacturer Head was dismissed.

Miller ended his nearly 10-year partnership with Head in 2015 and signed an agreement not to use other skis in World Cup or world championship races for two years.

Miller was attempting to get out of the remainder of the deal so that he could race on skis by New York-based Bomber, which he helped develop.

However, Miller would be free to race on Bomber next season and at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, when he’ll be 40.

If that’s the plan, Rearick wants Miller to start training immediately — even if he can’t race due to the contract issues.

“I hope he comes back and I hope we get a full prep period in. That’s what is going to be key,” Rearick said. “If we decide to do this, let’s go full at it. Let’s not just do one camp here and Colorado. Let’s go at it full and let’s start now. Those are going to me my conversations that I have with him next week.”

Miller has not raced since severing his right hamstring tendon in February 2015 and did not show much speed during a brief training camp at Copper Mountain in Colorado last month, trailing several teammates.

There were questions in Colorado not only over Miller’s physical form but also his equipment, which is unproven on the World Cup circuit.

Is the equipment good enough for Miller to succeed on?

“Why not? It’s Bode Miller,” Rearick said.

Head racing director Rainer Salzgeber said there is a standing offer for Miller to race on Head as soon as he wants.

“We would welcome him back but I don’t expect that he wants to call us because it’s not a matter of real competitive skiing, otherwise he would need to be really prepared,” Salzgeber said.

Chris Krause, Miller’s ski technician, also left Head for Bomber.

“That’s why it would be quite easy to get him back on our stuff, because we would support him with the staff and Chris could tune the skis — everything’s easy,” Salzgeber said, adding that Miller’s old skis are still stored in Head’s warehouse in Austria.

Rearick also believes Miller could add to his haul of six Olympic medals in Pyeongchang.

“Bode is going to do something. But first he’s going to have to qualify for the Olympics,” the coach said. “We have a strong team in downhill. But I expect Bode to come out here and work hard and charge and bring the love of the sport to the team.

“There’s no doubt that Bode loves the sport more than most people and he loves going out there and competing and expressing himself on snow and that’s what I expect him to do, whether he’s 40, 41 or like he did when he was 24.”

Miller did not respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, there is no scheduled return date for Olympic giant slalom champion Ted Ligety, who is out nursing a sore back.

“We’re just trying to get this therapy to take effect right now,” Rearick said. “We’re not putting any timeline on when he’s coming back.”

Ligety has not competed since failing to finish the first run of a giant slalom in Alta Badia on Dec. 18.

“The first step is let the therapies take effect, second is once they’ve taken effect step progressively back into skiing — start out with free skiing, progress back into some easy training, then more challenging training,” Rearick said. “If all of that stuff goes well then we’ll start racing.”

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12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

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At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

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A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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