Gymnastics worlds: Roof leak that dripped water on balance beam fixed before all-around

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A small arena roof leak that led to water dripping onto the balance beam during the world gymnastics championships women’s team final on Tuesday was fixed before Thursday’s all-around final, according to organizers.

“We can confirm there was a very small leak in the arena roof during competition on Tuesday evening,” said an organizer for the event in Liverpool, England. “Once aware of it, we acted immediately, and contractors have been onsite and fixed the issue. We continue to monitor the situation. This type of incident is extremely rare and we apologize for any inconvenience caused.”

At least four U.S. gymnasts and a Canadian gymnast noticed a liquid either already on the four-inch-wide balance beam or dropping onto it during the team final won by the U.S. on a rainy day.

American Jade Carey said she saw a drip onto the beam during her routine.

“I was about to do my side aerial, and I was like, ‘Where did that come from?'” she told GymCastic.

GYMNASTICS WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule | Results

There were a significant number of falls off the beam — eight, according to reporters on site — among the 24 routines in the women’s team final.

Jordan Chiles, who had two beam falls in qualifying on Saturday, said she noticed part of the beam was wet in her 30-second warm-up before her routine Tuesday.

“I tried covering it before I could do my 30 seconds, but I was like, ‘I don’t have time for it,'” said Chiles, who then performed a clean beam set. “I was a little confused why there was water, but in that moment you can’t do anything about it, so you just have to go with the flow.”

Canadian Emma Spence said teammate Ellie Black mentioned it to her before she went on the beam. All three Canadians hit their beam routines without falling in the final rotation to snag the bronze medal, the program’s first Olympic or world medal in a men’s or women’s team event.

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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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