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David Boudia’s return highlights diving nationals, world spots at stake

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Four-time Olympic medalist David Boudia‘s bid to make the world championships team after two years off leads the storylines at the U.S. Diving Championships, which begin Sunday in Indianapolis.

Synchronized events run from Sunday through Tuesday. Individual events begin Wednesday. NBCSN airs the men’s springboard final on May 25 at 12:30 p.m. ET. NBC has the women’s platform final on May 25 at 2 p.m.

The top synchro team per event by cumulative scores (prelims plus finals) makes July’s world championships in Gwangju, South Korea. The top two individual divers per event make worlds, also by cumulative scores (prelims plus semis plus finals).

Finals Schedule
Sunday (synchro): Mixed springboard, mixed platform
Monday (synchro): Women’s platform, men’s springboard
Tuesday (synchro): Women’s springboard, men’s platform
Wednesday: Men’s, women’s 1m springboard
Saturday: Men’s 3m springboard, women’s platform
Sunday: Men’s platform, women’s 3m springboard

Entry Lists

Individual Olympic Event Previews
Men’s 3m Springboard
Boudia, whose 72 career Olympic dives all came off the platform, switched to the more forgiving springboard after a February 2018 concussion. He considered retiring after a third Olympics in Rio, where he earned synchro silver and individual bronze. Boudia, now 30, even began a real-estate job in Indiana. But the father of three announced a diving comeback in September 2017, saying he didn’t want to have any “what ifs” in his late 30s.

No doubting Boudia is a favorite to make the world team in his new event. He beat Rio springboard Olympian Michael Hixon at the 2018 Winter Trials and is tied with Hixon and NCAA champion Andrew Capobianco with the highest registered degree of difficulty for next week. Absent is Kristian Ipsen, who retired after placing fifth in Rio.

Women’s Platform
The most wide-open individual event with more than a handful who could become national champion. The most notable are Olympians Jessica ParrattoKatrina Young and Amy Magaña (née Cozad). But the favorite could be Texas’ Murphy Bromberg, who won the NCAA title by nearly 60 points in March. Bromberg was an agonizing third at Olympic and world trials in 2013, 2015 and 2016, so she’s still seeking her first individual global championship berth.

A notable absence from nationals is Laura Wilkinson, the 2000 Olympic champ who, at age 41, has been training in hopes of a possible comeback. She underwent cervical fusion surgery in her neck the day after Christmas and returned to dive practice in early spring, but only off the springboard at first.

Men’s Platform
Boudia dominated this event for a decade. Once he left the platform, David Dinsmore ascended in the sport’s marquee event from his third-place finish at the 2016 Olympic Trials as a 19-year-old. Dinsmore, then a Miami freshman, won the 2017 NCAA title (beating Olympic synchro silver medalist Steele Johnson) and the 2017 world trials. He was also the lone U.S. individual medalist at the biggest international meet of 2018, the World Cup in Wuhan, China.

Johnson would normally be a clear favorite to make the world team, but he’s coming off foot surgeries in September and February and hasn’t gotten his full degree of difficulty back (1.4 points behind Dinsmore and Brandon Loschiavo). Johnson, whose goal after the February operation was to make it back for nationals, has been diving his competition list in practice for two weeks.

Women’s 3m Springboard
The one event without an Olympian in the field. Look out for Brooke Schultz and Krysta Palmer, who went one-two at the 2017 World trials. Schultz has been earmarked for success for nearly a decade, competing at her first senior nationals at age 12 and winning the NCAA title as a freshman at Arkansas, where she’s coached by her dad.

Palmer is a different story. She did not start diving until age 20, after a gymnastics career ended due to major knee injuries. Leading up to the 2016 Olympic Trials, Palmer was training platform in Reno, Nev., where there was no platform. She sometimes had to fly to Palo Alto, Calif., to practice. She’s since switched to springboard and finished in the top four in all four national-level meets.

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VIDEO: Relive Greg Louganis diving board accident on 30th anniversary

Federica Brignone hopes World Cup rival Mikaela Shiffrin will return soon

Shiffrin and Brignone
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Mikaela Shiffrin‘s prolonged absence from the World Cup Alpine skiing circuit has opened the door for Italy’s Federica Brignone to break the American’s grip on the season title, but Brignone hopes her friend and rival will be back in competition soon.

“I really do hope that she will return soon for herself so she can do again what she loves most,” Brignone said.

Brignone took the season lead from Shiffrin, who has won the last three World Cup overall titles, on Sunday and has a 73-point advantage with 11 of the season’s 40 races remaining. She also leads Shiffrin by 74 points in the giant slalom standings.

READ: Brignone moves into World Cup lead

No Italian woman has won the overall World Cup. Brignone was fifth in 2017 and won the Alpine combined discipline title last season.

Brignone will have a chance to clinch another Alpine combined discipline title and extend her overall lead in her home country this weekend. While some other sports events in Italy have been canceled or otherwise affected by the coronavirus outbreak, the host resort of La Thuile has so far been spared from the virus’ spread.

Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, the only other skier with a realistic chance of winning the overall trophy, is dealing with a knee injury and might not be able to race this weekend. Vhlova leads Shiffrin by 20 points in the slalom standings.

Shiffrin has not competed since the death of her father Feb. 2, and she has not announced plans to return. She was not on pace to match her astounding 17-win 2018-19 season but still had six wins and had reached the podium in 13 of 19 races.

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World short-track speedskating championships will be moved, postponed or canceled

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The International Skating Union announced Tuesday that the world short-track speedskating championships will not proceed as scheduled because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Seoul’s Mokdong Ice Rink, where the competition was set to be held March 13-15, held the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships earlier this month but closed on Monday.

The ISU left open the possibility that the championships will be postponed or relocated, but the window to do so may close rapidly.

“Taking into account the uncertain world-wide development of the coronavirus, the limited and uncertain available time slots during the coming weeks and the logistical challenges of potential organizers and participating teams, a postponement and/or relocation of the Championships would be difficult to achieve,” the ISU said. “Nevertheless, a postponement and/or relocation of this Championships might be considered if the circumstances would allow so in due time.”

South Korea is one of short-track speedskating’s traditional powers. Last year, the country dominated the world championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, winning both relays and taking gold in all of the men’s individual races. South Korea also led the medal count on home ice in the 2018 Olympics.

The coronavirus outbreak has forced the cancellation of many events in China, where the illness was first found. The world indoor track and field championships were pushed back a whole year.

With the virus spreading to other regions, other countries’ sports schedules are being affected. Several soccer games are proceeding in empty stadiums in Italy and Iran.

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