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Olympic snowboard champ skips World Cup due to security concerns

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VIENNA (AP) — Olympic snowboard champion Julia Dujmovits pulled out of a World Cup event in the central Turkish city of Kayseri on Saturday because of security concerns.

The Austrian snowboarder said Wednesday she doesn’t feel safe traveling to a city where 13 people were killed in a suicide car bomb attack on a public bus less than three months ago.

“Sorry, I’ve not become a snowboarder to compete under police protection and guarded by sharpshooters,” Dujmovits wrote on her website, adding that Turkey is “a country which, due to its current political situation, just can’t guarantee safety.”

Her Austrian teammates are set to compete in Saturday’s event, the last parallel giant slalom of the season.

“It’s my very personal opinion. Of course, I respect that other athletes have decided differently on this case,” Dujmovits said.

The fourth-ranked Dujmovits, who won the Olympic parallel slalom title in 2014, could no longer win the discipline title.

The Austrian said she would use the time to extend her preparations for the world championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain, later this month.

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First Olympic women’s aerials champion Cheryazova dies at 50

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MOSCOW (AP) 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.

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Clare Egan notches first World Cup podium in biathlon season finale

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In the final biathlon event of the 2018-19 season, American Clare Egan recorded her first career World Cup podium finish, placing third in the mass start in Oslo, Norway. She hit 19 of 20 targets and crossed the finish line 10.4 seconds behind winner Hanna Oberg of Sweden. Norway’s Tiril Eckhoff finished second.

Egan, 31, made her Olympic debut at the 2018 PyeongChang Games, but considered retiring from biathlon at the end of the last season. “I decided that I wanted to do one more year, just for fun, just to see how much I could learn and how good a biathlete I could become,” Egan said in a U.S. Biathlon press release.

Her decision to continue has paid off: since the start of the 2018-19 season, Egan has posted the top eight finishes of her career (including three top-10 results). She concludes the season ranked 18th in the overall World Cup standings.

“I skied much faster this year than I have in the past and I think that was due to finally finding a good balance in my training, between working hard and resting. I did not train more, but the quality was much higher. I’m very excited for the next season,” Egan told U.S. Biathlon.