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Ragnhild Mowinckel, Olympic Alpine skiing medalist, to miss season

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Ragnhild Mowinckel, the Norwegian who stunned to earn two Olympic silver medals, will miss the entire Alpine skiing season after tearing her right ACL for the second time this year.

“Nothing dramatic, no crash, no pain and no idea what just had happened,” was posted on Mowinckel’s social media. “I’m devastated, but dealing with the fact that this setback will once again just be exactly that… a setback. I’m sad to miss this season – being on the sidelines is not fun, but in lack of a better punchline – I’ll be back.”

Mowinckel, 27, also tore her right ACL at last season’s World Cup Finals in March.

In 2018, she earned Olympic silver medals in the downhill and giant slalom despite having no previous World Cup wins (and now downhill finishes better than sixth).

Mowinckel consolidated that success with her first World Cup win less than a month after the Games. Last season, she earned a first world championships medal, bronze in the super combined, and placed fifth in the World Cup overall standings.

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MORE: 2019-20 Alpine skiing TV, live stream schedule

Beach volleyball player’s dog becomes social media sensation

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Norwegian beach volleyball player Mathias Berntsen‘s dog, Kiara, captivated social media this weekend.

A video of Kiara peppering with Berntsen and a pair across the net on a grass field spread from Berntsen’s Instagram across platforms. Kiara now has 12,000 Instagram followers, more than twice the total of Berntsen.

Berntsen, 24, is one half of Norway’s second-best beach volleyball team.

He and partner Hendrik Mol are ranked 45th in the world and well outside the Tokyo Olympic picture (24 teams go to the Games), but could get in the mix depending on how qualification is amended once sports resume.

Berntsen and his cousin Mol are part of a group called the Beach Volley Vikings. Mol’s younger brother, Anders, and family friend Christian Sorum are the world’s top-ranked team (profiled here).

MORE: Beach volleyball players fly to Australia, learn event is canceled

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FIFA rules on Olympic men’s soccer tournament age eligibility

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For the first time since 1988, some 24-year-olds will be eligible for the Olympic men’s soccer tournament without using an over-age exception.

FIFA announced Friday that it will use the same age eligibility criteria for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 that it intended to use in 2020 — that players born on or after Jan. 1, 1997 are eligible, plus three over-age exceptions. FIFA chose not to move the birthdate deadline back a year after the Olympics were postponed by one year.

Olympic men’s soccer tournaments have been U-23 events — save those exceptions — since the 1992 Barcelona Games. In 1984 and 1988, restrictions kept European and South American players with World Cup experience ineligible. Before that, professionals weren’t allowed at all.

Fourteen of the 16 men’s soccer teams already qualified for the Games using players from under-23 national teams. The last two spots are to be filled by CONCACAF nations, potentially the U.S. qualifying a men’s team for the first time since 2008.

The U.S.’ biggest star, Christian Pulisic, and French superstar Kylian Mbappe were both born in 1998 and thus would have been under the age limit even if FIFA moved the deadline to Jan. 1, 1998.

Perhaps the most high-profile player affected by FIFA’s decision is Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus. The Manchester City star was born April 3, 1997, and thus would have become an over-age exception if FIFA pushed the birthdate rule back a year.

Instead, Brazil could name him to the Olympic team and still keep all of its over-age exceptions.

However, players need permission from their professional club teams to play in the Olympics, often limiting the availability of stars.

MORE: Noah Lyles details training near woods, dog walkers

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