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Shalane Flanagan withdraws from Boston Marathon

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Four-time Olympian Shalane Flanagan will miss the Boston Marathon in April due to a fracture in her back that will keep her out four to six weeks, according to race officials.

Flanagan, 35, was part of a Boston field that included five of the six U.S. Olympic marathon runners from Rio. She was the top American in the Rio women’s marathon, placing sixth.

Flanagan, who grew up in Marblehead, Mass., raced Boston in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Her best Boston finish was fourth in 2013, the year the race was rocked by twin bombings.

The Boston women’s field includes Desi Linden, who was seventh in Rio and the last U.S. woman to make the Boston podium. Linden was second in 2011, two seconds behind Kenyan winner Caroline Kilel.

This year’s international women’s field in Boston includes:

Atsede Baysa (ETH), 2016 Boston winner
Gladys Cherono 
(KEN), 2015 Berlin winner
Buzunesh Deba (ETH), 2014 Boston winner and course-record holder
Edna Kiplagat 
(KEN), two-time world champion and winner of marathons in London and New York City
Caroline Rotich (KEN), 2015 Boston winner

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MORE: Ryan Hall says 7 marathons in 7 days gave him ‘sense of closure’

Weekend Gymnastics Roundup: Carey and McCusker on World Cup podium

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World medalists Jade Carey and Riley McCusker headlined gymnastics action over the weekend as the World Cup circuit continued with an all-around competition in Birmingham, England, and an apparatus event in Doha, Qatar.

Carey won both the vault and floor events in Doha, pushing her to the top of the standings on both apparatus (she also won the vault and floor competitions the previous weekend at the World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan).

Doha marked the halfway point of apparatus World Cups, putting Carey in a promising position to qualify for the Tokyo Games heading into the next four events. The apparatus World Cup series includes a total of eight competitions spread over two seasons, and one gymnast per apparatus will qualify for the Olympics based on his or her top three results across the eight events.

Carey, 18, was the 2017 world silver medalist on vault and floor. But she opted not to try for a spot on the 2018 World Championships team due to the International Gymnastics Federation’s rules that active team members who help their countries qualify team spots for Tokyo (as the U.S. women did in November) cannot earn individual spots. Carey, an apparatus specialist rather than an all-around gymnast, chose the World Cup route to keep open her options of qualifying individually.

McCusker, who was part of the U.S. team that won the world title last year, finished second at the all-around World Cup in Birmingham, posting the top scores on the uneven bars and floor. Russia’s Aliya Mustafina, a seven-time Olympic medalist, won the event. Mustafina bounced back from a shaky showing last weekend at the World Cup in Stuttgart, where she finished fifth in an event won by Simone Biles. Mustafina, 24, is trying to qualify for her third Olympics after giving birth to daughter Alisa in June 2017.

The all-around World Cup circuit continues on April 7 in Tokyo, Japan, where two-time world all-around medalist Morgan Hurd and two-time Olympian Sam Mikulak are expected to compete.

First Olympic women’s aerials champion Cheryazova dies at 50

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MOSCOW — Lina Cheryazova, the first woman to win an Olympic aerials skiing gold medal, has died. She was 50.

Officials in the Russian city of Novosibirsk, where Cheryazova was living for the last two decades, said she died “following a lengthy illness,” without giving further details.

Competing for Uzbekistan, Cheryazova won gold with a triple flip when aerials skiing debuted on the Olympic program in 1994 in Lillehammer.

Shortly after winning, she learned her mother died three weeks before.

Cheryazova’s career was derailed later that year when she suffered a serious head injury while training in the United States, and spent days in a coma. She retired after failing to qualify for the 1998 Winter Olympics.