Petra Vlhova, coach issue statement: ‘Our doors are different’

Petra Vlhova
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Petra Vlhova and coach Livio Magoni issued a joint statement that appears to signal the end of their working relationship, three weeks after Vlhova became the first Slovakian to win Alpine skiing’s biggest annual prize, the World Cup overall title.

“It was a long and rocky road towards what we all so desperately wanted,” was posted on Vlhova’s social media. “Eventually, the dream came true and I hold a Big globe in my hands.

“Amazing 5 years with you Livio, during which I learned a lot. I am immensely grateful for your time, your infinite energy, perfectionism and the hope you have constantly placed in me. One door is closing, and a thousand more are opening and we just have to choose those that are right for us. For this time, our doors are different.”

The Italian Magoni helped Vlhova go from a teenage world junior champion to become Mikaela Shiffrin‘s primary rival and now the world’s top-ranked female skier.

After Vlhova won the World Cup overall in late March, Magoni apologized to Slovakian media for comments he made in an interview with an Italian newspaper, which included contrasting Vlhova to the styles of his former superstar pupil, retired Slovenian Tina Maze, and active star Italian skiers. (SkiRacing.com has a translated synopsis here.)

“We arrived at the top, on top of that mountain that 5 years ago was very high, with many sweet satisfactions in the middle, all obtained with great sacrifices,” Magoni said, according to Tuesday’s social media post. “Sorry for all my mistakes in these 5 years, but I guarantee you that I have put and given everything I had for this experience.”

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World Athletics excludes transgender women, tightens DSD athlete restrictions, extends ban on Russia, Belarus

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World Athletics is excluding male-to-female transgender athletes from top-level international track and field and increasing restrictions for athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD).

Also Thursday, World Athletics lifted its ban on Russia’s track and field federation that dated to 2015 over doping violations, but Russia and Belarus athletes and officials remain banned due to the war in Ukraine. More on that here.

Regarding transgender athletes, the World Athletics council “decided to prioritize fairness and the integrity of the female competition before inclusion,” according to a press release.

The decision was made after a two-month consultation with national federations, athletes, coaches, the IOC and representatives from transgender and human rights groups.

“Decisions are always difficult when they involve conflicting needs and rights between different groups, but we continue to take the view that we must maintain fairness for female athletes above all other considerations,” World Athletics President Seb Coe said in the release. “We will be guided in this by the science around physical performance and male advantage which will inevitably develop over the coming years. As more evidence becomes available, we will review our position, but we believe the integrity of the female category in athletics is paramount.”

A working group, which will include a transgender athlete, will “further consider the issue of transgender inclusion” for 12 months.

There are no transgender athletes currently competing in top-level international track and field, according to World Athletics.

World Athletics also increased restrictions on DSD athletes.

Previously, DSD athletes were eligible to compete in women’s track and field events without having to suppress testosterone, except for running distances from the 400m through the mile. For 400m through the mile, athletes were eligible if their testosterone levels were capped at five nanomoles per liter. World Athletics said that no female athletes would have a level above the cap unless they had a DSD or a tumor.

Starting March 31, all women’s events will have a stricter limit of two and a half nanomoles per liter.

World Athletics said it made the decision based on “more than 10 years of research and evidence of the physical advantages that DSD athletes bring to the female category.”

All DSD athletes who have been competing outside of the 400m through the mile must suppress their testosterone levels below two and a half nanomoles per liter for six months before being eligible to compete again. This makes them ineligible to compete through the world championships in August, but they can come back and qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Testosterone must be suppressed for two years for events from 400m through the mile and for DSD athletes who have not already been competing.

Notable athletes who previously said they were affected by the DSD rules include South African Caster Semenya, the Olympic 800m champion in 2012 and 2016 who moved up to the 5000m rather than suppress testosterone to remain in the 800m. Semenya, 32, was eliminated in the 5000m heats at last summer’s world championships.

Also Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi, who took 2016 Olympic 800m silver behind Semenya and also moved up to longer-distance events. She won the 2021 Diamond League 5000m title and missed last year’s worlds due to a foot injury.

Christine Mboma of Namibia took silver in the Tokyo Olympic 200m after being ruled ineligible to race the 400m due to the testosterone cap. Mboma, 19, missed last year’s worlds after tearing a thigh muscle.

Niger’s Aminatou Seyni finished fourth in the 200m at last year’s worlds after dropping down from the 400m due to the rule.

Athlete Ally, a nonprofit LGBTQ athletic advocacy group, called the new policies discriminatory.

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2023 World Figure Skating Championships TV, live stream schedule

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The world figure skating championships from Saitama, Japan, air live on USA Network and Peacock this week.

The U.S. has medal contenders in all four disciplines, one year after winning a medal in all four events for the first time since 1967 (note Russia’s ban, and China sent no skaters).

In the pairs’ event that starts Tuesday night (U.S. time), Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier can become the first U.S. duo to win multiple world titles, one year after becoming the first American pair to take gold since 1979.

They rank second in the world this season behind Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara, last year’s silver medalists who look to earn Japan’s first pairs’ world title.

Japan has the world’s top two women’s singles skaters in reigning world champion Kaori Sakamoto and Grand Prix Final winner Mai Mihara.

Isabeau Levito, a 16-year-old American who won last year’s world junior title, ranks fourth in the field by best score this season. She can become the youngest world medalist since 2014.

Ilia Malinin, an 18-year-old American who this season became the first skater to land a quadruple Axel, is seeded second in the men’s field behind Shoma Uno, the reigning world champion from Japan.

In ice dance, Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates posted the world’s top score this season at last month’s Four Continents Championships in Colorado Springs. After 12 seasons together, their goal is to win their first world title after silver in 2015, bronze in 2016 and bronze in 2022.

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2023 World Figure Skating Championships Broadcast Schedule

Day Competition Time (ET) Network
Tuesday Pairs’ Short 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Peacock | LIVE STREAM | Skate Order
Wednesday Women’s Short 2:45-8 a.m. Peacock | LIVE STREAM | Skate Order
Women’s Short 6-8 a.m. USA | LIVE STREAM | Peacock
Pairs’ Free 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Peacock | LIVE STREAM | Skate Order
Thursday Men’s Short 2:45-8 a.m. Peacock | LIVE STREAM | Skate Order
Men’s Short 6-8 a.m. USA | LIVE STREAM | Peacock
Pairs’ Free 8-10 a.m.* USA | STREAM LINK
Rhythm Dance 10 p.m.-3:30 a.m. Peacock | LIVE STREAM | Skate Order
Friday Women’s Free 4:15-8:30 a.m. Peacock | LIVE STREAM | Skate Order
Women’s Free 6:30-8:30 a.m. USA | LIVE STREAM | Peacock
Free Dance 11:30 p.m.-3 a.m. Peacock | LIVE STREAM
Saturday Men’s Free 4:15-8:30 a.m. Peacock | LIVE STREAM | Skate Order
Men’s Free 6:30-8:30 a.m. USA | LIVE STREAM | Peacock
Highlights 8-10 p.m.* NBC | STREAM LINK

*Delayed broadcast.