Liz Cambage will not play for Australia national team again, Olympic captain believes

Liz Cambage

Australian Olympic team captain Jenna O’Hea said she does not think star Liz Cambage will play for the national team again, 10 months after Cambage announced a withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympics one week before the Opening Ceremony.

O’Hea, who retired in March, also asserted on the Australia ABC program “Offsiders” that Cambage told Nigerian players in a pre-Olympic scrimmage, “Go back to your third-world country.” Three days after that scrimmage, Cambage said she was withdrawing from the Olympics, citing mental health, panic attacks and the “terrifying” prospect of entering a bubble environment.

Three days after Cambage withdrew, Basketball Australia announced she was part of an unspecified investigation “for a breach of the integrity framework and code of conduct.”

Then in November, the federation announced that Cambage was formally reprimanded for conduct in the Nigeria scrimmage, without elaborating on the nature of the incident nor the reprimand.

In December, Cambage posted on social media that she had zero interest in playing for the national team, the day before a preliminary 24-player roster pool was named for September’s FIBA World Cup in Sydney. Cambage was not in that pool.

Cambage, a 30-year-old with a Nigerian father, recently told ABC of the national team, nicknamed the Opals, “I’m living my best life. I’m supported. I’m protected on a level that the Opals or the Australian team never gave to me. My heart lies with those who want to protect me and those who want me to be the best I can be, and I never felt that in the Opals at all.”

After O’Hea’s comments aired last weekend, Cambage tweeted, “The truth will always come to light, and it ain’t even dawn yet.”

Without Cambage, Australia went 1-3 at the Tokyo Olympics and lost in the quarterfinals to the U.S. It marked the team’s worst Olympic performance since its debut at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

Cambage earned a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics and led the tournament in points per game in 2016. She is a four-time WNBA All-Star now playing for the Los Angeles Sparks.

Australia was once the top challenger to the U.S., taking silver at the Olympics in 2000, 2004 and 2008 and winning the world title in 2006.

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

Lucas Braathen

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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Sifan Hassan sets marathon debut

Sifan Hassan

Sifan Hassan, who won 5000m and 10,000m gold and 1500m bronze at the Tokyo Olympics in an unprecedented triple, will make her 26.2-mile debut at the London Marathon on April 23.

Hassan, a 30-year-old Dutchwoman, said she will return to the track after the race, but how the London Marathon goes will play into whether she bids for the Olympic marathon in 2024.

“I want to see what I can do on the marathon distance, to make future decisions,” she posted on social media. “We’ll see if I will finish the distance or if the distance will finish me.”

Exhausted by her Olympic feat, Hassan reportedly went at least seven months after the Tokyo Games between training in track spikes. She finished fourth in the 10,000m and sixth in the 5000m at last July’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon.

“I really needed a break after the Tokyo Olympics,” Hassan said at worlds. “I was mentally crashed. I didn’t even care about running.”

London, billed as the best women’s marathon field in history, also boasts Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya, world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya, 2016 Olympic 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia, 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia and the two fastest Americans in history, Emily Sisson and Keira D’Amato.

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