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Kristina Vogel, Olympic track cycling champ, suffers serious spine injury

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BERLIN (AP) — German track cyclist Kristina Vogel has been seriously injured after crashing in training in the eastern city of Cottbus on Tuesday.

The DPA news agency reports that the Olympic champion suffered a severe spinal injury after crashing onto a concrete track following a high-speed collision with another cyclist.

German coach Detlef Uibel tells DPA, “We’re very worried about Kristina. It looks very bad.”

Vogel, an 11-time world champion, was taken to the local hospital before being flown to Berlin.

Vogel’s manager, Joerg Werner, said she was “seriously injured” and that she would need to undergo surgery through the night. He did not give any further details.

The German Cycling Federation (BDR) said Vogel had been training with Pauline Grabosch, and that she accelerated when Grabosch left the track – only to collide with another unidentified cyclist who entered suddenly.

Vogel was training for the German Grand Prix, which was due to take place in Cottbus on Friday and Saturday. The Lausitzer Rundschau newspaper reported that it could be canceled.

The 27-year-old Vogel also had a serious accident in May 2009, when she was knocked off her bike by a vehicle. She suffered severe injuries and was placed in an artificial coma for two days.

But she returned three years later to win the team sprint for Germany with Miriam Welte at the London Olympics. Vogel became the first German to win gold in the sprint in Rio four years later despite a broken saddle.

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Olympic pairs champions take indefinite break

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Aljona Savchenko, the Olympic pairs champion with Bruno Massot, said they are taking an indefinite break from competition, according to German press agency DPA.

Savchenko and Massot will perform in ice shows next fall and winter, which could preclude them from competing in major events like the Grand Prix season (late October to early December) and the European Championships in January.

The German pair followed their title in PyeongChang with a world title last month, breaking a four-year-old world-record score and winning by the largest margin (20.31 points) in pairs at an Olympics or worlds since the 6.0 system was replaced 14 years ago.

Savchenko, 34 and a five-time Olympian, became the oldest Olympic pairs gold medalist. She then claimed her 11th world medal — tying the female record held by Norwegian singles legend Sonja Henie — and sixth world title — tying Soviet Alexander Zaitsev for second on the all-time pairs list, four behind Irina Rodnina.

The French-born Massot, 29, competed in his first Olympics in PyeongChang and earned his first world title. Savchenko’s previous five world titles came with now-retired Robin Szolkowy.

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Usain Bolt sets extended stay with Borussia Dortmund

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Usain Bolt said he is going back to Borussia Dortmund to “work with them for three more weeks” for another assessment of his prospects of becoming a professional soccer player.

Bolt worked out with the Bundesliga club, which shares an apparel sponsor with the Jamaican, on March 22-23 and trained regularly with a team in Jamaica’s top division during the winter.

“It’s a big deal,” Bolt told the (Melbourne) Herald Sun in a video interview at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, on Thursday. “Everyone feels like I’m just kicking it around, I’m joking, but I’m serious. I’m actually going back to Dortmund in a couple of weeks, to work with them for three more weeks, just to assess myself at the better level to see what level I’m at or what I need to do or if I can [do it].”

Dortmund’s Bundesliga season ends May 12. Bolt said that “they were very impressed” at his first trial (presumably the March 22-23 session at Dortmund).

“They didn’t expect me to know so much and understand the game,” he said.

Dortmund’s coach, Peter Stoeger, said March 23 that Bolt had work ahead if he wanted to become a pro.

“He is at an age where I say he is no longer so incredibly capable of development,” Stoeger said, according to The Associated Press. “You can see that he understands the game. He’s talented. What he’s missing is the team work.”

Bolt said he wants to play “in a top league.”

“It doesn’t matter if it’s La Liga, English league, Bundesliga, I’m OK with that,” Bolt said March 23. “I just want to prove to the world anything is possible.”

Bolt is expected to play in a June 10 charity match at Manchester United’s Old Trafford with other celebrities and retired soccer players.

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