Sofia Goggia crashes, injured in World Cup race as Olympics approach

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Sofia Goggia is going to need to recover in a hurry from a series of injuries following another crash on Sunday if she’s going to be able to defend her Olympic downhill title next month.

Goggia would have been an overwhelming favorite for another gold — or two: she’s also a force in super-G.

But she sprained her left knee, partially tore a cruciate ligament and suffered a “minor fracture” of the fibula bone in her leg — plus some tendon damage — when she did the splits at high speed then tumbled down the mountain during a World Cup super-G in Cortina d’Ampezzo, the Italian ski team said after a medical evaluation in Milan.

Goggia will start physical rehab on Monday with the aim of returning in time for the downhill at the Beijing Olympics on Feb. 15.

She’ll therefore likely miss the Olympic giant slalom on Feb. 7 and the super-G on Feb. 11. She’ll need to enter at least one downhill training session on Feb. 12, 13 or 14 to compete in the downhill — but preferably all three on a new course that she’s never been on before.

“I’m upset,” Goggia said. “It’s not a break that I needed in such an important time of the season but I’m already going to start physical therapy in the coming hours, with the aim of trying to defend the Olympic title in the event that I love most.”

Goggia was nominated to carry Italy’s flag at the Opening Ceremony.

Her partially torn ligament was already operated on in 2013.

The make-or-break Goggia also had a high-speed crash during a downhill at Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria, last weekend. She escaped serious injury in that crash but was banged up to the point that she said she couldn’t walk on Monday.

Like the crash in Austria, Goggia’s latest fall occurred on a section of the Cortina course where shadows made visibility difficult.

Goggia was 0.07 seconds behind teammate Elena Curtoni — the race winner — at the second checkpoint when she made an error and had to check her skis to stay within the course.

Goggia then lost control as her skis rattled on the hard surface. She ended up doing the splits, was bumped into the air and landed on her back before tumbling down the course, through the next gate, eventually coming to a stop without hitting the safety nets.

After being tended to briefly, Goggia clicked back into her skis and made her way down to the finish under her own power. But she was visibly discouraged and hobbled away with the help of two team members.

Goggia wasn’t the only skier who struggled on a difficult course-set that resulted in 22 of 57 racers not finishing.

Goggia missed her home world championships in Cortina last season after breaking a bone in her right knee. She has won six World Cup races this season — four in downhill, including on Saturday with another wild run in Cortina, and two in super-G.

Overall World Cup leader Mikaela Shiffrin took few risks and placed 16th in Sunday’s race.

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South Korea’s first gold medalist of 2018 PyeongChang Olympics to compete for China

Lim Hyo-Jun
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Lim Hyo-Jun, a short track speed skater who won South Korea’s first gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been cleared to skate for China and was reportedly named to the national team Monday.

Lim, who won the 1500m on the first day of medal competition at the PyeongChang Games, began the process of switching to China after a June 2019 incident where he pulled down a teammate’s trousers, leaving him standing, exposed, in front of female teammates.

Lim, the 2019 World overall champion, was banned from the team for a year and later found guilty of sexual harassment before the verdict was overturned on appeal.

It was reported in March 2021 that Lim was in the process of trying to gain Chinese nationality to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but Lim was not cleared to switch by the International Skating Union until this July. His Chinese name is Lin Xiaojun.

Another star South Korean skater, triple 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ahn Hyun-Soo, switched to Russia after not making the 2010 Olympic team. He then won three golds for the host nation as Viktor Ahn at the 2014 Sochi Games.

China’s national team for the upcoming season reportedly does not include veterans Wu Dajing, the nation’s lone gold medalist across all sports at the 2018 Olympics, and Fan Kexin, a three-time Olympic medalist.

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Brigid Kosgei, world record holder, to miss London Marathon

Brigid Kosgei
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World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.

“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”

Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.

Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.

The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.

The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.

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