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World Alpine Skiing Championships add event

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Mikaela Shiffrin will have a new opportunity to take gold at the world championships starting in 2021.

A parallel race will debut on the Alpine skiing worlds program in 2021 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, the International Ski Federation (FIS) announced Friday.

Parallel events, where skiers go head-to-head on the same course but on different sets of gates in a bracket-style elimination format, have dotted the annual World Cup schedule in recent years. They count as slaloms and giant slaloms in World Cup standings.

Shiffrin, who owns Olympic golds in both slalom and giant slalom, won all three of her World Cup starts in parallel races over the previous two seasons.

Parallel racing is already held at worlds (and the Olympics starting this year) in a mixed-gender team event.

Last year, FIS said it discussed adding more individual parallel races to the World Cup schedule and cutting combined events (races with one run of downhill or super-G and one run of slalom) altogether starting in 2020-21.

Austrian media reported last year that the combined would be taken off the world championships schedule starting in 2021, but FIS did not mention the combined in Friday’s press release.

The FIS congress also approved new world championships mixed-gender team events in freestyle skiing (aerials), snowboarding (parallel), plus the first women’s Nordic combined event at worlds and a women’s ski jumping team event, all in 2021.

FIS hopes the mixed team events will be added to the Olympics in Beijing in 2022 by the IOC, as well as ski big air and a snowboard cross team event.

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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.