Boris Becker, tennis legend, sentenced to prison

Boris Becker
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LONDON — Tennis great Boris Becker was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison on Friday for illicitly transferring large amounts of money and hiding assets after he was declared bankrupt.

The three-time Wimbledon champion was convicted earlier this month on four charges under the Insolvency Act and had faced a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.

Judge Deborah Taylor announced the sentence after hearing arguments from both the prosecutor and Becker’s attorney.

The 54-year-old German was found to have transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars after his June 2017 bankruptcy from his business account to other accounts, including those of his ex-wife Barbara and estranged wife Sharlely “Lilly” Becker.

Becker was also convicted of failing to declare a property in Germany and hiding an $871,000 bank loan and shares in a tech firm.

The jury at Southwark Crown Court in London acquitted him on 20 other counts, including charges that he failed to hand over his many awards, including two Wimbledon trophies and an Olympic gold medal.

Becker, wearing a striped tie in Wimbledon’s purple and green colors, walked into the courthouse hand in hand with girlfriend Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro.

The six-time Grand Slam champion has denied all the charges, saying he had cooperated with trustees tasked with securing his assets — even offering up his wedding ring — and had acted on expert advice.

At Friday’s sentencing hearing, prosecutor Rebecca Chalkley said Becker had acted “deliberately and dishonestly” and that he was “still seeking to blame others.”

Defense attorney Jonathan Laidlaw argued for leniency, saying his client hadn’t spent money on a “lavish lifestyle” but rather on child support, rent and legal and business expenses. Becker, he told the court, has experienced “public humiliation” and has no future earnings potential.

Becker’s bankruptcy stemmed from a $5 million loan from a private bank in 2013, as well as about $1.6 million borrowed from a British businessman the year after, according to testimony at the trial.

During the trial Becker, said his $50 million career earnings had been swallowed up by payments for an “expensive divorce” and debts when he lost large chunks of his income after retirement.

Becker rose to stardom in 1985 at the age of 17 when he became the first unseeded player to win the Wimbledon singles title and later rose to the No. 1 ranking. He has lived in Britain since 2012.

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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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