Olympic pairs silver medalists Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China are the latest PyeongChang stars to pull out of the world figure skating championships.
Sui has a stress fracture in her foot, according to Xinhua News Agency.
That means Sui and Han will not defend their 2017 World title in Milan, Italy, in two weeks.
Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, the 2015 and 2016 World champions, are also out as they retired after taking bronze in PyeongChang.
That makes Olympic gold medalists Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany even bigger favorites.
Savchenko, 34, earned five world titles with former partner Robin Szolkowy, making the podium eight straight years between 2007 and 2014 before he retired. With Massot, she earned bronze in 2016 and silver in 2017.
Top challengers should be Russians Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, who were fourth in PyeongChang and third at the 2017 Worlds. Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres could earn France’s first Olympic or world pairs medal since 2000.
Top skaters often skip the world championships that are held one month after the Olympics for fatigue or off-ice opportunities.
Other notable skaters missing worlds:
Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) — Injured
Javier Fernandez (ESP)
Patrick Chan (CAN) — Reportedly retired
Adam Rippon (USA)
Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA)
Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford (CAN) — Retired
Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir (CAN) — Possibly retiring
Yekaterina Bobrova/Dmitry Soloviyev (RUS)
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MORE: Best figure skating moments from PyeongChang Olympics
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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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.