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Lindsey Vonn is back at an Olympics where ‘anything can happen’

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EONGSEON, South Korea — For the first time in eight years, Lindsey Vonn was skiing at the Olympics.

Her return Saturday to the Olympic stage, in the women’s super-G, marked the latest chapter in a story that has seen her endure pain that would break almost anyone and everyone else.

You want your little girls and boys to grow up with fighting spirit? To dare to dream and dream as big as possible? To never, ever give up?

We present you Lindsey Vonn.

NBCOlympics.com: Lindsey Vonn takes first run in 2018 Olympics

In Saturday’s race, Lindsey did not win a medal. She had a big slip late in the race. If not for the fifth- to perhaps eight-tenths of a second that she gave up in that slip, Lindsey wins. But no.

NBCOlympics.com: Watch Ledecka’s incredible run here

Ester Ledecka of the Czech Republic won the race, literally by one-hundredth of a second. Austria’s Anna Vieth, the Sochi 2014 super-G winner, running 19th and back from knee injury, thought she had defended her title. Then Ledecka, the 2017 snowboarding parallel giant slalom champion, who had never — repeat, never — made a World Cup ski podium, 26th Saturday out of the gate, somehow summoned super-G magic.

A cameraman in the finish line told Ledecka she was the winner. She couldn’t believe it. Who could? Suddenly the Czech Republic had its first gold medal, ever, in alpine skiing.

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Chinese figure skating judges banned for biased Olympic scoring

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Two Chinese figure skating judges were suspended by the International Skating Union for biased judging at the PyeongChang Olympics.

Chen Weiguang and Huang Feng had “preferential marking” for top Chinese skaters Jin Boyang (fourth place in PyeongChang) and the silver medalist pairs’ team of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, respectively, according to the ISU.

Chen was banned two years and excluded from the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Huang got a one-year ban.

Chen awarded her highest grades of execution scores of the men’s competition to Jin, as well as her second-highest program components scores, trailing only gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu. Both sets of scores, in both the short and long programs, were out of line with the other eight judges.

“There is evidence of preference for the Chinese skater and prejudice against his strongest competitors,” an ISU report read. “Her marks were completely unrealistic.”

The pairs’ judge Huang “obviously favored his pair also vis-à-vis the other top candidates for the Olympic gold medal,” the ISU said in a report, referencing inflated scores for Sui and Han and lower scores for gold and bronze medalists Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany and Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada.

Huang was warned one month before the Olympics by the ISU for biased judging at the December 2017 Grand Prix Final pairs’ event.

Both suspensions are subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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MORE: Adam Rippon opines on figure skating future

Javier Fernandez to skip Grand Prix, still compete next season

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Javier Fernandez, who in PyeongChang became the first Spanish Olympic figure skating medalist, will skip the fall Grand Prix series but return for January’s European Championships, which could be his final competition.

Europeans will be Fernandez’s focus for the season, his agent said Tuesday.

Fernandez, 26, added an Olympic bronze medal to his 2015 and 2016 World titles. He has said that his third Olympics in PyeongChang would be his last. But Fernandez did not say he would retire after the Winter Games, though he did skip the world championships in March.

Fernandez now plans to compete in his 13th straight European Championships in Minsk in January. He won the last six titles. It’s unknown if he will continue on to the world championships in Saitama, Japan, in March.

In Fernandez’s absence, the top male singles skaters in the fall Grand Prix season should be double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, PyeongChang silver medalist Shoma Uno and American Nathan Chen, who was fifth at the Olympics after a disastrous short program but ran away with March’s world title by the largest margin in history.

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MORE: Adam Rippon opines on figure skating future