Randolph, Brosius join coaching staff for USA Baseball in Premier12

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Manager Joe Girardi rounded out the USA Baseball coaching staff on Tuesday for the Premier12, a tournament that will qualify two teams for the 2020 Olympics.

READ: Girardi named Olympic manager, 35 years after missing roster cut

Scott Brosius, the 1998 World Series MVP and a longtime coach and administrator with USA Baseball, will be the bench coach. Another USA Baseball veteran, bullpen coach Roly de Armas, will be a national team assistant for the 10th time. He also has 31 years of experience in professional baseball and is currently the manager of the Phillies East in the Gulf Coast League at the Rookie level.

Former Yankees second baseman and Mets manager Willie Randolph, who managed the national team in the 2015 Premier12 and was a coach on the championship team in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, will be the third-base coach, across the diamond from Ernie Young, a player on the 2000 Olympic gold medal-winning team who managed the national team in 2010 and 2011.

READ: Young and teammates recall unlikely run to gold

Hitting coach Phil Plantier and pitching coach Bryan Price are new to the national team staff. Plantier has managed in the minor leagues and served as a hitting coach with the San Diego Padres. Price was a major league pitching coach for 13 years and then the manager of the Cincinnati Reds.

The U.S. team will play the Netherlands, host Mexico and the Dominican Republic, starting Nov. 2. The top two teams from the group will advance to the six-team Super Round in Japan.

The top finisher from the Americas region and the top finisher from Asia/Oceania (except Japan, which has an automatic bid as host) will qualify for the Olympic baseball tournament. Teams from the Americas that fail to clinch an Olympic berth in the Premier12 will have to try again in the Americas Olympic qualifier in early 2020. The top team from that event will qualify, while the second- and third-place teams will play in a last-chance qualifier later in 2020.

The U.S. won silver in the first Premier12 tournament in 2015. Major League Baseball did not allow players on their teams’ 40-man rosters to participate, and three players had to be dropped from the roster before the final because they were promoted in their professional organizations. MLB players are once again expected to be ineligible in this year’s event.

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Olympic flame to travel by sea for Paris 2024, welcomed by armada

Paris 2024 Olympic Torch Relay Marseille
Paris 2024
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The Olympic flame will travel from Athens to Marseille by ship in spring 2024 to begin the France portion of the torch relay that ends in Paris on July 26, 2024.

The torch relay always begins in the ancient Olympic site of Olympia, Greece, where the sun’s rays light the flame. It will be passed by torch until it reaches Athens.

It will then cross the Mediterranean Sea aboard the Belem, a three-masted ship, “reminiscent of a true Homeric epic,” according to Paris 2024. It will arrive at the Old Port of Marseille, welcomed by an armada of boats.

Marseille is a former Greek colony and the oldest city in France. It will host sailing and some soccer matches during the Paris Olympics.

The full 2024 Olympic torch relay route will be unveiled in May.

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Paris 2024 Olympic Torch Relay Marseille
Paris 2024

Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight

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Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

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