Alpine skiing worlds: Tie for parallel gold; American finishes 4th

Alpine Skiing: World Championship
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CORTINA D’AMPEZZO (AP) — Katharina Liensberger was talking to reporters in the mixed zone when she learned that her silver medal in the parallel giant slalom event had been upgraded to a tie for gold at the world championships.

The Austrian fell to the snow in celebration.

“I just cannot believe it, but it’s true,” Liensberger said. “I was a little bit confused in the finish.”

She wasn’t the only one.

Ski racing’s quick-fire parallel event has seen so many rule changes over the years that many fans hardly understand it anymore. On Tuesday, even athletes and organizers at the world championships were so confused by the regulations that it took a while to sort out the medals.

ALPINE WORLDS: TV Schedule | Results

The women’s two-run final between Marta Bassino and Liensberger ended in a tie, and organizers initially declared the Italian the winner as she came from behind in the second leg.

However, that was an old rule which isn’t valid anymore. So the results were quickly changed to having two co-champions.

“Just 0.00 (on the clock), and then nobody knew what was going on,” Liensberger said.

There was no confusion over the result in the men’s final, where Mathieu Faivre won both runs against Croatian skier Filip Zubcic to earn France its first gold of the worlds.

Bronze in the women’s event went to France’s Tessa Worley, who defeated Paula Moltzan of the United States.

“My best at world champs before this was (18th), so fourth is incredible,” said Moltzan, who finished runner-up in the only World Cup parallel event this season in November.

On her way the semifinals, Moltzan beat Wendy Holdener, who had posted the fastest time in qualifying. The Swiss skier earlier defeated Moltzan’s teammate Nina O’Brien.

Why is Moltzan doing so well at parallel races?

“I like the start gates,” she said. “As athletes we’re all super-competitive so I think this is an interesting way to bring it out of everybody and I had a lot of fun. I just like it.”

Loic Meillard won bronze for Switzerland in the men’s race after beating Alexander Schmid of Germany in the small final. River Radamus reached the quarterfinals, where he lost to Zubcic.

The confusion over finishing times was not the only issue affecting the event.

Once again at a parallel race, the two courses were not equally fast, with almost all runs won by the skier on the red course on the right side. The racers switched sides between runs, so they had one go at each course, but it was an advantage to have the faster course for the second run.

And the courses were not straight, either.

“It was the most unfair and absurd race,” said Federica Brignone, who lost an all-Italian quarterfinal against Bassino.

“I’ve never seen such an unfair race. Parallel races have to be straight. You can’t have the course turning like that,” she added. “Whoever started on the blue course in the first run had already practically won. I’m really angry and I don’t know if I’ll get over it.”

Bassino acknowledged “there’s always some controversy in parallel. But at least today everyone got to run on both courses.”

Sharing the win with Liensberger, Bassino earned host nation Italy its first medal after seven events.

“Finally. We don’t have the crowd but now I have a medal so I can think (about) the GS without pressure,” said Bassino, who is a favorite in Thursday’s giant slalom after winning four World Cup races in the discipline this season.

Bassino dedicated the win to her team and injured teammate Sofia Goggia, the downhill standout who is out for the season after injuring her knee a week before the worlds.

Earlier Tuesday, Bassino only just made the cut after qualifying also ended in confusion. Official result sheets did not specify which 16 racers actually advanced to the knockout phase.

Ranked 17th, the Italian seemed out of the race until it became clear that it wasn’t the 16 fastest skiers overall who advanced, but but the top eight from each course.

That rule saved the Italian, who was eighth-fastest on the red course.

Bassino said she felt “sorry” to have eliminated her teammate Brignone in the quarterfinals.

“But that’s our sport. We have to fight one against one other,” she said.

Mikaela Shiffrin and Michelle Gisin sat out the women’s race. Alexis Pinturault and Henrik Kristoffersen did not enter the men’s competition.

Worlds continue Wednesday with another parallel competition, this time in the team format that debuted at the Olympics in 2018. Shiffrin next races in Thursday’s giant slalom.

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Aksel Lund Svindal, Olympic Alpine champ, has testicular cancer, ‘prognosis good’

Aksel Lund Svindal
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Aksel Lund Svindal, a retired Olympic Alpine skiing champion from Norway, said he underwent surgery for testicular cancer and the prognosis “looked very good.”

“Tests, scans and surgery all happened very quickly,” Svindal, 39, wrote on social media. “And already after the first week I knew the prognoses looked very good. All thanks to that first decision to go see a doctor as soon as I suspected something was off.”

Svindal retired in 2019 after winning the Olympic super-G in 2010 and downhill in 2018. He also won five world titles among the downhill, combined and giant slalom and two World Cup overall titles.

Svindal said he felt a change in his body that prompted him to see a doctor.

“The last few weeks have been different,” he wrote. “But I’m able to say weeks and not months because of great medical help, a little luck and a good decision.

“I wasn’t sure what it was, or if it was anything at all. … [I] was quickly transferred to the hospital where they confirmed what the doctor suspected. Testicle cancer.”

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France vs. Mali Group B
4 a.m. Australia vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada vs. Japan Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final