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Lindsey Vonn, Ronda Rousey among athletes featured on Shark Week

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Olympic medalists Lindsey Vonn and Ronda Rousey headline an athlete roster appearing on Discovery Channel’s Shark Week in two months.

They follow Michael Phelps‘ much talked about Shark Week shows last year.

Vonn will appear on a show called “Monster Tag.” Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski are also included.

They “will join forces with top shark scientists to learn crucial information about the ocean’s top predators,” according to Discovery Channel.

Rousey, a 2008 Olympic judo bronze medalist, will dive with a mako shark in “Uncaged: Shark vs. Ronda Rousey.” The title is similar to “Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White” from last year.

“First, Rousey, in a cage, dives into the ring with several lightweight shark species in the waters off Fiji and then moves onto the main event in New Zealand where she’ll ‘free dive uncaged’ with the heavyweight mako shark,” according to Discovery Channel.

More on Shark Week from Discovery Channel is here.

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World Alpine Skiing Championships add event

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Mikaela Shiffrin will have a new opportunity to take gold at the world championships starting in 2021.

A parallel race will debut on the Alpine skiing worlds program in 2021 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, the International Ski Federation (FIS) announced Friday.

Parallel events, where skiers go head-to-head on the same course but on different sets of gates in a bracket-style elimination format, have dotted the annual World Cup schedule in recent years. They count as slaloms and giant slaloms in World Cup standings.

Shiffrin, who owns Olympic golds in both slalom and giant slalom, won all three of her World Cup starts in parallel races over the previous two seasons.

Parallel racing is already held at worlds (and the Olympics starting this year) in a mixed-gender team event.

Last year, FIS said it discussed adding more individual parallel races to the World Cup schedule and cutting combined events (races with one run of downhill or super-G and one run of slalom) altogether starting in 2020-21.

Austrian media reported last year that the combined would be taken off the world championships schedule starting in 2021, but FIS did not mention the combined in Friday’s press release.

The FIS congress also approved new world championships mixed-gender team events in freestyle skiing (aerials), snowboarding (parallel), plus the first women’s Nordic combined event at worlds and a women’s ski jumping team event, all in 2021.

FIS hopes the mixed team events will be added to the Olympics in Beijing in 2022 by the IOC, as well as ski big air and a snowboard cross team event.

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Lindsey Vonn’s proposal to race men tabled

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Lindsey Vonn pulled back her proposal to enter a men’s World Cup race in November, instead keeping her focus on training to break the World Cup career wins record in what may be her final season.

“I haven’t given up on this,” was tweeted from Vonn’s account. “Just delaying it one more year.”

Vonn’s proposal, which had been in the works since last summer, was not on the agenda at this week’s International Ski Federation (FIS) meetings. FIS had been expected to rule on a Vonn proposal this week.

“As no renewed proposal was brought up regarding Lindsey Vonn’s request to race with the men in Lake Louise, this topic was indefinitely tabled,” FIS said in a press release.

That’s because Vonn is putting all her energy into breaking legendary Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record of 86 World Cup wins next winter, new U.S. Alpine director Jesse Hunt said, according to the Austria Press Agency and confirmed by U.S. SKi & Snowboard.

The 33-year-old Vonn earned five victories last season to move within four of the mark despite struggling with more knee and back injuries.

“My knee gets a break, and that’s really what matters,” Vonn said after finishing last season in March. “As you progress through the season, I definitely lose strength because I’m just not able to lift as much as I need to keep the knee supported.”

If Vonn sought and was granted a spot in a Lake Louise men’s race in November, FIS rules could have barred her from the women’s World Cup races in Lake Louise the following weekend because of her extra runs at the venue giving her an advantage over female skiers.

Missing three women’s races at Lake Louise, where Vonn owns 18 wins in 44 starts, would significantly impact her pursuit of Stenmark’s record.

Now that no longer appears to be an issue. With a single victory next season, Vonn will break Austrian Elisabeth Goergl‘s record as the oldest woman to win a World Cup race.

“I’m in a good place, picking up steam, confident and relatively healthy,” Vonn said in March. “I hope to (break Stenmark’s record) before my knee gives out.”

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