Dana Vollmer announces second pregnancy

Dana Vollmer
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Dana Vollmer, a seven-time Olympic swimming medalist, is pregnant with her second child due in July, according to her social media.

Vollmer has already returned from one pregnancy to compete, and earn Olympic medals, and she could do so again. Vollmer said during and after the Rio Olympics that the plan was to have a second child with husband Andy Grant and return to competition.

In fact, Vollmer said in the fall that she talked with her swimsuit maker, Tyr, about designing a suit to accommodate a baby bump.

“I didn’t swim at all with [baby boy] Arlen, so I’m hoping to be able to train through more of the pregnancy, hopefully,” Vollmer said in November. “Last time I was on bedrest. Really hoping that doesn’t happen.”

Vollmer said then that she could even see a scenario where she competes in the early stages of pregnancy.

In the last Olympic cycle, Vollmer competed in the season after the London Olympics. Then she took 23 months off from competition — Arlen was born March 6, 2015 — before returning 13 months before the Rio Games.

“This time, if we get pregnant soon, then I’ll have more time than I had leading up to Rio,” Vollmer said in November. “I do feel like that I kind of ran out of time. I could have been faster in Rio. It’s part of what motivates me to continue swimming right now. I still feel like I have a faster swim in me.”

Vollmer was plenty fast in 2016.

In Rio, she took bronze in the 100m butterfly, silver as part of the 4x100m freestyle relay and gold with the 4x100m medley relay.

Vollmer will be 32 come 2020, which is older than any previous U.S. Olympic female swimmer save Dara Torres, who raced at Sydney 2000 at age 33 and Beijing 2008 at 41.

Vollmer’s pregnancy break leaves Olympic Trials champion Kelsi Worrell as the favorite for the U.S. Championships in June, where the top two qualify for the world championships in Budapest in July.

Sarah GibsonCassidy Bayer and Kendyl Stewart were the next-fastest Americans in the 100m butterfly last year.

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Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight

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Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

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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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