Travis Ganong, top U.S. downhill skier, to miss Olympics

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Travis Ganong, the only U.S. man to win a World Cup Alpine skiing event in the last two years, tore an ACL in a race crash Thursday and will miss the Olympics, according to his social media.

Ganong, 29, earned downhill silver at the 2015 World Championships in Colorado, one of few highlights for the U.S. men’s speed team since the Sochi Olympics.

He also won a World Cup downhill last Jan. 27, ending the U.S.’ longest drought between men’s World Cup wins since 2000.

The previous win was by Ted Ligety on Oct. 25, 2015.

Ganong and the rest of the U.S. downhillers have struggled this season. Ganong’s best World Cup finish before his crash was 16th.

No U.S. man has finished in the top eight of a World Cup downhill or super-G this season. Ligety has the top finish in any event, a fifth in a giant slalom on Dec. 17.

The U.S. Olympic Alpine team will be named in three weeks.

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As you may have seen, I crashed in the downhill race in Bormio a few days ago, and tweaked my right knee.  After flying home and getting an MRI, it is confirmed that I have torn my ACL which unfortunately means my season is over. Bormio is a bittersweet place for me now as it is where I scored my first World Cup Points, had my first top 10, and where I won my first World Cup DH (in nearby Santa Caterina). However, now it is also the place where I had my first crash after 115 World Cup starts, and the first time that I have hit the B-net, in both training and racing! Having an injury is tough, and I am especially disappointed that this happened 5 weeks before the Olympics in South Korea where I was hoping to represent my country for the second time and fight for medals.  Now my next 6 months will obviously be very different to those of a World Cup skier, but I am excited for this new challenge and I am looking forward to re-setting, re-motivating, and working harder than ever to come back even stronger than I am now.  I still have many goals and much that I want to accomplish as a professional skier, and I can’t wait to get back into the starting gate again next season.  I will also have a great rehab partner with @mmgagnon rehabbing by my side! I want to thank all of my sponsors, fans, coaches, teammates and everyone at U.S. Ski & Snowboard, my friends and my family for their continued support and I want to let you all know that it is an honor being a part of the snow sports community! I will be cheering for the whole team in South Korea and I am excited to see so many talented athletes achieve their goals at the Games. I am planning on having surgery late this week after the swelling has gone down and I have my range of motion back.  After that I will start the rehab process here in Lake Tahoe, and also re-start working on my Ski Resort Management and Business degree from @sierranevadacollege .  I am also looking forward to having some time to work on and launch a new coffee company @pacificcrestcoffee (more to come)! So here is to a new year filled with new challenges!  The road back is not always easy, but I am embracing it and will be ready…

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Teri McKeever fired by Cal as women’s swimming coach after investigation

Teri McKeever
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Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was fired by the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation into alleged verbal and emotional abuse of swimmers that she denied.

McKeever was put on paid administrative leave from her job as head women’s swimming coach in May after an Orange County Register report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

Cal athletics director Jim Knowlton wrote in a letter to the Cal team and staff that a resulting independent law firm report detailed “verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values.”

“I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student-athletes, our swimming program and Cal Athletics as a whole,” Knowlton said of McKeever’s firing in a press release. “The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin and disability discrimination.”

The Orange County Register first published what it says is the full independent report here.

“I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation,” McKeever said in a statement Tuesday confirming her firing and expressing disappointment in how the investigation was conducted. “While I am disappointed in the way my CAL Career will conclude, I wish to thank and celebrate the many student-athletes and staff that made my time in Berkeley a true blessing and gift.”

McKeever’s lawyer wrote that McKeever “will be filing suit to expose the manner in which gender has affected not only the evaluation of her coaching but harmed and continues to harm both female and male athletes.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for nearly 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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