Allyson Felix details ‘powerful experience’ participating in Black Lives Matter protest

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Allyson Felix said it was “a powerful experience” recently participating in a Black Lives Matter protest, speaking in an interview with TODAY on Thursday.

“I just felt compelled to be out there,” Felix said. “When I heard the cries of George Floyd and calling for his mother, it completely broke my heart. And so, it’s just so important for me to use my voice. And I am hopeful. It’s such a diverse crowd. I feel like there’s a lot of allies. It’s a feeling that I haven’t felt before, so I’m hoping that hope definitely moves to action.”

Felix, a 34-year-old mom to 1-year-old Camryn, wore a black T-shirt with the words “Phenomenally Black” sitting below an Olympic rings necklace in an image shared on Instagram from a protest.

“I hope that, as [Camryn] grows up, things change, but I’ll have to give her the tools to be able to navigate through what is reality right now,” Felix said. “It’s a really sobering reality to have those talks and those conversations, but as soon as I became a mother, I knew that was going to happen, and even long before.”

Since recovering from life-threatening childbirth, Felix fought for maternity protection in athlete contracts. She also testified at the House of Representatives Ways & Means Committee hearing on overcoming racial disparities and social determinants in the maternal mortality crisis.

“I hope that my daughter sees that, through adversity, we have to keep pushing,” she said. “We have to use our voice for the voiceless, and it’s not just about ourselves. I am really fighting for these things for the next generation, for her generation. I want to be able to let her know she was on this journey with me, and hopefully the world looks a lot different and she won’t have to face some of these things that I did.”

Felix, after training on streets and a baseball field near her home, is scheduled to race on July 9 at the Inspiration Games. The meet will include at least 30 athletes spread across three continents.

The exhibition team event will feature Felix racing against Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas and world 200m bronze medalist Mujinga Kambundi of Switzerland in a 150m. Felix will cover the distance from California, Miller-Uibo in Florida and Kambundi in Switzerland.

Felix is bidding for her fifth Olympics and to add to her collection of nine medals, tied for the most among female track and field athletes. In her first meet as a mom, Felix made her ninth world championships (strictly in relays) and then broke her tie with Usain Bolt for the most world titles (Felix now has 13).

Felix yearns to compete in Tokyo in an individual event, which will be difficult. Last year, she placed sixth in the 400m at nationals in her first meet as a mom. The top three at trials qualify individually.

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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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Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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