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Swedish teammates help save man’s life before WCup training

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Three Swedish skiers competing in this weekend’s women’s World Cup races helped save a course volunteer’s life before their first downhill training session in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Lisa Hoernblad, who gave the stricken man first-aid after he suffered what she thought was a heart attack, followed up by finishing second in Thursday’s run.

“It was all about keeping him alive till we got to the top,” Hoernblad told The Associated Press on Friday. “It’s a pretty crazy situation when you are stuck for 10 minutes in a gondola like that.”

Hoernblad was accompanied by teammates Lin Ivarsson and Helena Rapaport when the man, believed to be a German volunteer, suddenly collapsed during the gondola ride up the mountain. Another man was also in the gondola.

“He was not breathing. I could tell it was a heart attack,” the 22-year-old Hoernblad said. “My first reaction was to try and keep the heart going, me and the other guy. But you could see he got the air when we pumped the heart.”

Crammed in the gondola up to start of the almost 3-kilometer (1.8-mile) Kandahar course, the occupants had little room to maneuver.

“It was so tight in the gondola as we had all our skis and gear. We had to hold him up as we pumped his heart,” Hoernblad said.

Ivarsson tried calling their coaches as they frantically tried to reach anyone who could help, and Rapaport helped hold up the man as Hoernblad and the other man pumped his heart. Eventually, they made it to the top of the course.

“We dragged him out of the gondola and I continued to pump. Some minutes later the Austrian doctor arrived and he kind of took over. We were going to inspection and our coaches dragged us away,” Hoernblad said.

She said she heard the man, whom she believed to be about 60, was working with the course’s medical team.

“We saw the ambulance helicopter arriving,” Hoernblad said. “We heard that he was taken to the hospital and that he was alive. That was enough.”

Hoernblad went on to finish just behind Thursday’s leader, Rapaport was 18th and Ivarsson finished about 3 seconds off the pace.

“Later,” Hoernblad said, “we heard he had an operation on his heart and that everything was good.”

Brigid Kosgei beaten as another world record smashed in Nike shoes

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Ethiopian Ababel Yeshaneh broke the half marathon world record by 20 seconds, beating new marathon world-record holder Brigid Kosgei in the United Arab Emirates on Friday.

Nike-sponsored runners lowered the men’s and women’s marathon and half marathon records since September 2018, each appearing to race in versions of the apparel giant’s scrutinized Vaporfly shoes.

Yeshaneh, a 28-year-old who finished 14th in the 2016 Olympic 5000m, clocked 1:04:31 for 13.1 miles to better Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei‘s world record from 2017.

Kosgei, a 26-year-old Kenyan, also came in under the old world record but 18 seconds behind Yeshaneh.

Kosgei took 81 seconds off Paula Radcliffe‘s 16-year-old women’s marathon world record on Oct. 13, clocking 2:14:04 to win the Chicago Marathon.

Nike Vaporfly shoes, including the prototypes worn by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge when he ran a sub-two-hour marathon, were deemed legal by World Athletics’ new shoe regulations last month, according to Nike.

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Olympic, world champion lugers pull out of World Cup event over safety

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U.S. Olympic silver medalist Chris Mazdzer and other top lugers are skipping this weekend’s World Cup stop in Winterberg, Germany, citing unsafe track conditions and a growing frustration with the international federation over athlete concerns.

“This was brought to the attention of the FIL [International Luge Federation] and yet again we were told that everything is ok,” was posted on Mazdzer’s Instagram. “I realize that a boycott is a lose-lose situation and there are no winners. But I have no other option at this point. I feel personally that this track is not safe for doubles sleds or for athletes who do not have adequate numbers of runs.”

Mazdzer said by phone Friday that he noticed significant bumps on the track in his first training run earlier this week.

“I couldn’t drive because I’m being thrown everywhere,” he said. “When you’re going 130 kilometers an hour [80 miles per hour], you don’t really want the track to be bad.”

An FIL spokesperson said Friday that Mazdzer’s choice was “his individual decision” and declined further comment ahead of races scheduled Saturday and Sunday. Mazdzer said that he was told the race starts will be moved down.

USA Luge said in a Friday statement that it will not participate in the World Cup and would communicate its concern for athlete safety to the FIL.

Two-time U.S. Olympian Summer Britcher said she was boycotting via Instagram, calling it “a farce of a World Cup.” Top lugers said athletes suffered serious injuries in training runs.

“I love this sport, but after too many decisions too many times that disregard 1-the safety of the athletes, and 2- the integrity and fairness of our sport, I have grown a great disdain for the International Luge Federation, and those who make these decisions,” was posted on Britcher’s account. “I will not race this weekend. I do not believe the track is safe, I do not believe it has been prepared to a World Cup standard, and I do not believe that the International Federation and Winterberg World Cup organisers should get away from this with no consequences.”

Britcher’s post noted that her team notified coaches and the technical director that the track was unsafe after her first training run Wednesday.

“Our concerns, and the concerns of the rest of the athletes from other nations throughout the day were not taken seriously,” Britcher posted.

Britcher said that several coaches attempted to fix the track for several hours on Thursday after athletes refused to train.

Olympic champion David Gleirscher of Austria and World Cup standings leader Roman Repilov of Russia and the top doubles teams of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken and Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt of Germany also posted on Instagram that they’re skipping the Winterberg World Cup, the penultimate stop of the season, for safety reasons.

Mazdzer estimated a 20 percent crash rate in training, but that the track condition has improved since Wednesday. He still plans to race next week at the last World Cup in Königssee.

“There’s a lot of problems with Winterberg,” he said after detailing the situation between athletes and the FIL, “and it’s not just the track.”

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