The United States team for next month’s Olympics lost one of its top medal prospects Tuesday when downhill racer Breezy Johnson said injury will force her to miss the Beijing Games.
Johnson placed second behind Olympic champion Sofia Goggia in each of the three World Cup downhills she started this season, then crashed in training runs before two races in January.
“I have to announce that I have unfortunately injured my knee and must withdraw from the Olympics,” Johnson said on her Instagram account.
The 26-year-old racer crashed in training in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, last week, one week after skipping a downhill in Austria to let a cut and bruised knee heal. Johnson wrote that in Cortina she “immediately felt a massive crack in my knee” and had dislodged cartilage.
Johnson placed seventh in downhill at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.
MEN’S HOCKEY: Longtime NHL forward Eric Staal and 2021 top draft pick Owen Power were among the players named to Canada’s roster for the Beijing Olympics.
Staal played almost 1,400 games in the NHL and won the Stanley Cup in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes. He returns to the Olympics after winning gold on home ice in 2010 in Vancouver and most recently reached the Cup final last season with the Montreal Canadiens.
Power is one of four players on the team under the age of 23 along with goaltender Devon Levi and forwards Mason McTavish and Jack McBain. The big defenseman from the University of Michigan was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres and could be playing for them as soon as later this season.
FIGURE SKATING: Russian figure skater Mikhail Kolyada has been ruled out of next month’s Beijing Olympics after testing positive for the coronavirus.
The Russian Figure Skating Federation said Kolyada tested positive ahead of traveling to a pre-Olympic training camp and has been replaced by Evgeni Semenenko.
CROSS COUNTRY SKIING: Every member of Norway’s men’s cross-country skiing team is isolating ahead of next month’s Beijing Olympics because a coach has contracted the coronavirus.
Sprint team head coach Arild Monsen tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to Norway from the Italian Alpine resort of Seiser Alm, the Norwegian Ski Association said.
All eight team members have been defined as a close contact of Monsen, the association said, and have to delay their departure to Beijing. Instead of leaving on Thursday, the team will now depart on Monday.
WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: After waiting seven years for a second World Cup win, Sara Hector now has three more victories in giant slalom – and they could not have come at a better time with the Winter Olympics starting next week.
Hector won the final World Cup GS on Tuesday in San Vigilio di Marebbe, Italy, with 2018 gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin in fifth.
Hector was second after the opening run but overtook defending overall champion Petra Vlhova for her second straight GS victory, and her third this season. Her only previous World Cup win had been in December 2014.
Tessa Worley of France was third, 0.52 behind Hector and just ahead of Federica Brignone. Shiffrin was 0.81 slower than Hector and slipped to third in the giant slalom standings. Hector leads the standings ahead of Worley by 95 points. The 29-year-old puts her improvement down to developing a better understanding of her needs.
Shiffrin also lost ground in the overall standings. The American skier’s lead over Vlhova was cut to only 17 points. The women’s World Cup circuit moves this weekend to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany – where a downhill and super-G are scheduled – before a pause for the Olympics.
MEN’S WORLD CUP: Germany’s Linus Strasser won the final slalom before the Beijing Games, moving up from fifth after the opening leg to finish a slim 0.03 seconds ahead of Atle Lie McGrath of Norway in the prestigious event under the lights labeled “The Night Race” at Schladming, Austria.
Manuel Feller of Austria made a huge jump from 28th in the first leg to place third, 0.39 behind, after sitting out the slalom in Kitzbuhel over the weekend because he was positive with COVID-19.
SLED DOG RACING
IDITAROD: A rookie musher from Wentworth, New Hampshire, has decided against running in this year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race after her team of sled dogs veered onto a busy Alaska highway and collided with a pickup truck, killing one of the dogs and injuring three others.
Jaye Foucher withdrew from both the world’s most famous sled dog race and a shorter Alaska race, the Willow 300, on Monday, Anchorage television station KTUU reported. Foucher’s team was struck Jan. 19 on the Parks Highway near the community of Willow, about 75 miles north of Anchorage, Alaska State Troopers reported at the time.
Troopers said the team moved onto the busy highway from a trail because of an obstacle. A pickup traveling on the main highway between Anchorage and Fairbanks collided with the dog team. The pickup driver was among those who helped Foucher and her dog team, troopers said.
One dog died at the scene, three others are still recovering from their injuries and two dogs that ran away after the accident have returned, Foucher said. Foucher said she will race again with her dogs at some point.
“I don’t think the problem is going to be mushing again, I think the bigger problem is going to be mushing past that spot again,” she said.
SIDELINED: Kei Nishikori, the 2014 U.S. Open runner-up, will have arthroscopic surgery on his left hip this week and be sidelined for about six months.
The 32-year-old from Japan sat out the Australian Open and has not played on tour since a second-round loss to Dan Evans at Indian Wells in October.
CRASH: Former Tour de France champion Egan Bernal remained in intensive care in Colombia after undergoing what his team described as “two successful surgeries.”
The 2019 Tour champion from Colombia, where he is a beloved celebrity, collided with a bus parked on the shoulder of a road outside Bogota on Monday morning while training with his team Ineos Grenadiers.
Bernal was transferred to the University of La Sabana Hospital near the capital. His team said he fractured his right femur, right kneecap, several ribs and a vertebrae and suffered a punctured lung and chest trauma.
PREMIER LEAGUE: Roy Hodgson is back in the Premier League at the age of 74.
The former England coach was hired by Watford and will be tasked with keeping the team in the top division following its descent into the relegation zone.
Claudio Ranieri, a 70-year-old Italian, was fired on Monday after 3 1/2 months in charge, just days after Watford slipped into the bottom three for the first time this season.
Watford’s board has turned to Hodgson, another of world soccer’s most experienced managers. He has been out of work since leaving Crystal Palace at the end of last season, when he said it was time to step away from “the rigors of top-flight Premier League football” after 45 years of coaching and to spend time with his family.
Turns out the league’s oldest-ever manager just couldn’t stay away.
AFRICAN CUP: Sadio Mane got up from a horrible clash of heads that left him dazed on the ground, possibly with a concussion, to score a goal and help put Senegal into the quarterfinals.
Senegal won 2-0 against Cape Verde, which had two players sent off in the last 16 game in Cameroon’s western city of Bafoussam. The Liverpool star didn’t finish the match and later was taken to the hospital, though he said on social media that he was OK.
Morocco followed Senegal into the last eight by coming from behind to beat Malawi 2-1.
• The death toll in a stampede outside a game in Cameroon has risen to eight, as witnesses blamed security officials for making fatal errors and competition organizers decided to suspend all further games at the stadium pending an investigation.
Another seven people were in serious condition in the hospital after the crush Monday night at the game between host Cameroon and Comoros at the Olembe Stadium in the capital, Yaounde.
WORLD CUP: Zack Steffen did not travel to Ohio because of a recurrence of back tightness, leaving Matt Turner as the likely starter in goal for the United States in its World Cup qualifier against El Salvador on Thursday night.
Steffen missed the Americans’ opening qualifier at El Salvador on Sept. 2 because of back spasms, then tested positive for COVID-19 and also skipped the September matches against Canada and Honduras.
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