Kaillie Humphries
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Kaillie Humphries grabs another win as U.S. bobsled driver

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LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) — Kaillie Humphries’ first two races for the U.S. could not have turned out better.

Humphries improved to 2-for-2 on the young season, winning another women’s bobsled World Cup race at Mount Van Hoevenberg on Saturday. The former top Canadian driver who joined the U.S. program earlier this year teamed with Lauren Gibbs to finish two runs in 1 minute, 54.03 seconds.

It was Humphries’ first time winning back-to-back golds since January 2016, and the first time any women’s driver has opened a season with two straight wins since Elana Meyers Taylor of the U.S. prevailed in the first three events of the 2014-15 season.

Germany’s Kim Kalicki drove to the silver medal in 1:54.18, or 0.15 seconds behind Humphries. Canada got the bronze, with Christine De Bruin getting her sled across the line in 1:54.25. Brittany Reinbolt was the next-best U.S. finisher after Humphries, teaming with Sylvia Hoffman to place eighth in 1:55.28.

Earlier Saturday, Canada’s Justin Kripps won the season’s opening World Cup four-man bobsled race, prevailing at Mount Van Hoevenberg for the second consecutive year.

Kripps and his team of Ryan Sommer, Cameron Stones and Benjamin Coakwell finished two runs in 1 minute, 49.50 seconds. Latvia’s sled driven by Oskars Kibermanis was second in 1:49.89 and Austria’s Benjamin Maier drove to the bronze in 1:49.97.

It was only the second time in the last 17 World Cup four-man races that Germany failed to medal — the other being last year, also in Lake Placid. The top German finish in four-man was a tie for fourth between drivers Francesco Friedrich and Johannes Lochner.

The sled driven by Codie Bascue was sixth to lead the U.S. contingent. There is a second four-man race in Lake Placid on Sunday, after last weekend’s opening event of the season saw two two-man races and none of the four-man variety.

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World Alpine Skiing Championships on for 2021 after request to delay rejected

Alpine Skiing World Championships
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GENEVA (AP) — A request by the organizers of next year’s skiing world championships in Italy to postpone the event by one year was rejected Thursday by the International Ski Federation.

FIS ruled that the event will go ahead from Feb. 9-21, 2021, in Cortina d’Ampezzo — the highlight of an Alpine season that faces challenges to find safe protocols for international travel and attending races in Europe, North America and China.

The Veneto region of northern Italy was hit hard by the coronavirus and the season-ending World Cup races in Cortina in mid-March were canceled. That week-long event was to be a test for the 2021 worlds.

“The last month of efforts to come to this solution demonstrates the strong collaborative spirit of the ski family and stakeholders.” FIS president Gian-Franco Kasper said.

Organizers in Italy have said they expect losses of about 30 million euros ($34 million) if the worlds are also canceled. They asked for a postponement to March 2022, which would be only weeks after the Beijing Olympics.

“But we will be ready in any case and we will show that these world championships can change the history of a region despite the current difficulties,” Alessandro Benetton, president of the Cortina organizing committee, said in a statement.

Italian racer Sofia Goggia, the 2018 Olympic downhill champion, said she was “happy for Cortina because it will host the first major international event after the coronavirus epidemic.”

Cortina, which hosted the 1956 Olympics, will co-host the 2026 Winter Games with Milan and use the worlds as a showcase for the resort.

The women’s World Cup downhill on the Olympia delle Tofane course each January is one of the most scenic in the sport with a signature jump between tall outcrops of jagged rock.

The Dolomites venue was awarded the 2021 worlds by FIS after missing out as a candidate four straight times from 2013-19.

MORE: Anna Veith retires, leaves Austrian Alpine skiing in unfamiliar territory

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Russia track and field athlete clearance frozen due to unpaid fine

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MONACO (AP) — The program allowing Russian track athletes to compete internationally will be frozen because the country’s federation failed to pay a fine on time, World Athletics said Thursday.

The Russian track federation, known as RusAF, owes a $5 million fine and another $1.31 million in costs for various doping-related work and legal wrangles. World Athletics said RusAF missed Wednesday’s deadline to pay.

World Athletics said it would freeze the work of the Doping Review Board, which vets Russian athletes who want the “authorized neutral athlete” status that allows them to compete internationally, and its taskforce monitoring RusAF’s anti-doping reforms.

World Athletics said both bodies will be “put on hold” until its council meets to discuss the situation at the end of July.

“RusAF is letting its athletes down badly,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said in a statement. “We have done as much as we can to expedite our ANA process and support RusAF with its reinstatement plan, but seemingly to no avail.”

RusAF president Yevgeny Yurchenko earlier told the Tass state news agency that his federation’s finances were damaged by the coronavirus pandemic and that it had asked for more time to pay.

World Athletics’ statement didn’t directly address that issue, but said Russia hadn’t indicated when it would pay.

Russia was fined $10 million by World Athletics in March, with $5 million suspended for two years, after the federation admitted to breaking anti-doping rules and obstructing an investigation.

The Athletics Integrity Unit said fake documents were used under the previous management to give an athlete an alibi for missing a doping test.

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