Lindsey Vonn, MIkaela Shiffrin
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Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin lead U.S. roster for World Alpine Skiing Champs

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Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin headline the U.S. team for the World Alpine Skiing Championships starting next week.

Julia Mancuso, a medalist at the last three Olympics who hasn’t raced since March 2015, is also on the 23-skier team headed to St. Moritz, Switzerland, for the Feb. 7-19 championships.

Vonn, who returned this month from knee and arm fractures, will eye her first world title since she swept the downhill and super-G in 2009. Vonn won her second race back Jan. 21 but hasn’t finished better than ninth in her other four starts. She’s expected to race downhill, super-G and super combined at worlds.

Shiffrin is the world’s best female skier, leading the World Cup overall standings, and will seek to become the second woman to win three straight world slalom titles. She’s also a threat in giant slalom, ranking second this season in that discipline. She doesn’t plan to race the other worlds events.

Mancuso was named to the worlds for an eighth straight time despite missing all of last season due to hip surgery. Mancuso took World Cup training runs this month but wasn’t quite ready to race. At worlds, race starters will be finalized the evening prior to each event.

The U.S. team lacks its two biggest male stars — Bode Miller and Ted Ligety.

Miller, the most decorated U.S. Olympic skier with six medals, has not raced since Feb. 5, 2015, when he severed a right hamstring tendon in a world championships super-G crash.

Miller is healthy now but hasn’t raced this season due at least in part to a sponsor dispute. He is expected to return to racing next season, eyeing his sixth Olympics at age 40. Miller will be on the NBC broadcast team during worlds.

Ligety, the three-time reigning world giant slalom champion, is out for the season after undergoing back surgery two weeks ago.

With Miller and Ligety’s absences, the U.S. will have zero past men’s Olympic or world gold medalists at a world championships for the first time since 2001.

That leaves a relatively inexperienced cast supporting Vonn and Shiffrin, looking to build on a five-medal U.S. output at the 2015 World Championships at home in Colorado.

The most accomplished U.S. men on the team are speed racers Travis Ganong and Andrew Weibrecht. Ganong, the 2015 World downhill silver medalist, won a World Cup downhill on Friday for his first victory since his maiden win in December 2014.

Weibrecht owns as many Olympic medals as Vonn (two) but has never won a World Cup race nor been better than ninth at worlds.

All of the above mentioned skiers (other than Shiffrin) are 28 years or older. The U.S. is lacking a pool of young talent. Jackie Wiles, 24, recorded her first World Cup podium on Jan. 15, finishing third in a downhill.

MORE: Vonn: Record more important than Olympic gold

U.S. roster for World Championships
Stacey Cook — Three-time Olympian
Breezy Johnson
Julia Mancuso — Four Olympic medals
Megan McJames — Two-time Olympian
Laurenne Ross — Sochi Olympian
Mikaela Shiffrin — Olympic slalom champion
Resi Stiegler — Two-time Olympian
Lindsey Vonn — 2010 Olympic downhill champion
Jackie Wiles — Sochi Olympian

Michael Ankeny
Bryce Bennett
Tommy Biesemeyer
David Chodounsky — Sochi Olympian
Ryan Cochran-Siegle
Mark Engel
Tommy Ford — Vancouver Olympian
Travis Ganong — 2015 World downhill silver medalist
AJ Ginnis
Jared Goldberg — Sochi Olympian
Tim Jitloff — Sochi Olympian
Robby Kelley
Brennan Rubie
Andrew Weibrecht — Two Olympic medals

Tues. Feb 7
6:00 a.m. – Women’s super G, NBCSN – LIVE

Wed. Feb 8
6:00 a.m. – Men’s super G, NBCSN – LIVE

Fri. Feb 10
7:00 a.m. – Women’s alpine combined, NBCSN – LIVE

Sat. Feb 11
6:00 a.m. – Men’s downhill, nbcsports.com – LIVE
2:30 p.m. – Men’s downhill, NBC

Sun. Feb 12
6:00 a.m. – Women’s downhill, nbcsports.com – LIVE
12:30 p.m. – Women’s downhill, NBC

Mon. Feb 13
7:00 a.m. – Men’s alpine combined, NBCSN – LIVE

Tues. Feb 14
6:00 a.m. – Nations team event, NBCSN – LIVE

Thurs. Feb 16
3:45 a.m. – Women’s giant slalom, first run, nbcsports.com – LIVE
7:00 a.m. – Women’s giant slalom, NBCSN – LIVE

Fri. Feb 17
3:45 a.m. – Men’s giant slalom, first run, nbcsports.com – LIVE
7:00 a.m. – Men’s giant slalom, NBCSN

Sat. Feb 18
3:45 a.m. – Women’s slalom, first run, nbcsports.com – LIVE
7:00 a.m. – Women’s slalom, second run, nbcsports.com – LIVE
12:30 p.m. – Women’s slalom, NBC

Sunday, Feb. 19
3:45 a.m. – Men’s slalom, first run, nbcsports.com – LIVE
7:00 a.m. – Men’s slalom, NBCSN

 

Hayato Sakamoto, Japanese baseball MVP, tests positive for coronavirus

Hayato Sakamoto
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Hayato Sakamoto, an MVP of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league, is one of two players from the Yomiuri Giants to test positive for the coronavirus, according to several Japanese media reports.

Sakamoto, a 31-year-old shortstop, and catcher Takumi Oshiro tested positive ahead of the NPB’s planned June 19 start to the season that had been delayed to the coronavirus.

The tests showed traces of the coronavirus, according to Kyodo News.

The Giants canceled Wednesday’s practice game with the Seibu Lions to limit the spread of the virus.

Sakamoto is the reigning Central League MVP. He has been called the Derek Jeter of Japan for playing the same position as the Yankee great and being the veteran captain of Japan’s equivalent club, the Giants, which own a record 22 Japan Series titles.

Sakamoto, who played in the last two World Baseball Classics, has been considered a lock for Japan’s baseball team at the Tokyo Games in 2021 as the most well known active player who hasn’t left for Major League Baseball. MLB is not expected to allow its top players to participate in the Olympics, which would keep the likes of Shohei Ohtani and Masahiro Tanaka off the Olympic roster.

The sport returns to the Olympic program for the first time since 2008, though it is not on the 2024 Olympic program nor guaranteed a place at the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Japan reached the semifinals of all five Olympic baseball tournaments when the sport was previously on the medal program but never took gold.

In a 2018 survey, Sakamoto was ranked as Japan’s eighth-most popular athlete across all sports, foreign or domestic, active or retired.

Sky Brown, 11-year-old Olympic skateboard hopeful, suffers serious injuries in fall

Sky Brown Skateboard Fall
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Sky Brown, an 11-year-old British Olympic skateboarding hopeful, recently suffered her worst fall, requiring surgery, she said in a video posted from a hospital bed.

Brown suffered skull fractures and broke her left wrist and hand and was at first unresponsive upon arrival to a hospital, according to the BBC, which quoted her father.

Video of the fall from a skateboarding ramp was posted on her social media. She appeared to be wearing a helmet in the video.

“I don’t usually post my falls or talk about them because I want people to see the fun in what I do,” Brown said. “But this was my worst fall, and I just want everyone to know that, it’s OK, don’t worry. I’m OK. It’s OK to fall sometimes. I’m just going to get back up and push even harder. I know there’s a lot of things going on in the world right now. I want everyone to know that whatever we do, we’ve just go to do it with love and happiness.”

Brown is the 2019 World bronze medalist in the new Olympic sport’s park discipline.

Later Tuesday, Brown reposted an Instagram post from what appeared to be her father’s account. The caption of that post said Brown fell 15 feet to flat concrete.

“I held her in my arms and she bled helplessly moaning in and out of consciousness waiting for the helicopter to take her to the Hospital,” the caption read. “We spent the night sick and terrified not knowing if Sky was going to make it through the night, as the ICU team tried to get her conscious and kept her alive.

“4 days later Sky sits across from me with her full memory back, smiling, watching TikTok while Eating her favorite bad snacks.”

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Last week the worst thing I could ever ever imagined happened to @skybrown . She fell about 15ft off the side of a vert ramp to flat concrete. I held her in my arms and she bled helplessly moaning in and out of consciousness waiting for the helicopter to take her to the Hospital. We spent the night sick and terrified not knowing if Sky was going to make it through the night, as the ICU team tried to get her conscious and kept her alive. We prayed and begged God to give Sky another chance. Word came back while she was still unconscious, multiple fractures to her skull, a broken left arm, which she broke into pieces because she used it to break her fall, broken right fingers and lacerations to her heart and lungs. 4 days later Sky sits across from me with her full memory back, smiling, watching TikTok while Eating her favorite bad snacks. More importantly her Doctors and the trauma team say it’s a miracle how well she is dealing with the pain and recovering incredibly fast. They said it’s shocking and believe it’s because of her grit, positivity and attitude. Skys brother @oceanbrown has been so brave. He saw his sister fall to the ground lying in a pool of blood and was screaming in tears that night outside of the hospital. He has still not allowed into the hospital to see her. They miss each-other dearly, but no siblings are allowed to enter the hospital because of coronavirus. They’ve been spending hours a day on FaceTime with each other making funny faces to one another in fits of giggles and laughter. Sky promises Ocean daily that she will make a fast recovery so they can be together again. Sky is constantly joking and smiling and it’s hurts my heart to even imagine for a second a world without Sky; extremely thankful that I don’t have to. Thank you to the heroes that are the doctors, nurses and hospital staff that have tirelessly worked on her and helped her get to this point.

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