Winter Olympics: Banned Russians withdraw last-minute Swiss appeal

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Dozens of Russian athletes banned from the Pyeongchang Winter olympics withdrew on Friday their last-minute appeal to a Swiss court aimed at allowing them to compete in the Games.

Earlier, 47 Russians implicated in doping lost a final appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which sought to overturn the International Olympic Committee’s decision to bar them from competition.

The IOC is based in the Swiss city of Lausanne, where a local court may have offered the Russians a final chance to force the IOC’s hand.

The Russians had an emergency hearing scheduled in Lausanne for 2:00 pm (1300 GMT), two hours after the opening ceremonies kicked off in South Korea.

“The motion for interim measures has been withdrawn and therefore this afternoon’s hearing is cancelled,” the Tribunal d’arrondissement de Lausanne said in a statement said to AFP.

The court gave no reason for the Russian withdrawal.

It was not clear whether the Swiss court would have been able to rule on the issue in time to give any of the Russian athletes a chance to compete in Pyeongchang.

The Russian situation has proved highly contentious in the build-up to Pyeongchang, after their team was banned. But 168 “clean” Russian athletes have been allowed to take part as neutrals.

Russia’s suspension in December follows the uncovering of systemic doping that reached its peak at the Sochi 2014 Winter olympics, where host nation Russia topped the medals table.

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Winter Olympics: Danish prince cuts short Olympics visit to be with ill father

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Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik has cut short his visit to the Winter olympics in Pyeongchang to return home to his sick father, Prince Henrik, whose health has deteriorated, the palace said Friday.

Henrik, the 83-year-old French-born husband of Queen Margrethe, was hospitalised in Copenhagen in late January for a pulmonary infection and a benign tumour in his left lung.

“His Royal Highness Prince Henrik’s condition has unfortunately seriously deteriorated,” the palace said in a statement, adding that the crown prince, 49, “is now on his way back to Denmark.”

Prince Henrik was diagnosed in September 2017 with dementia.

The palace never disclosed further details, saying simply that his illness “involves a deterioration of cognitive abilities”.

Born Henri Marie Jean Andre de Laborde de Monpezat on June 11, 1934 near Bordeaux, he married Margrethe, then crown princess, in 1967.

Henrik, who retired from public service in January 2016, has often spoken out about his frustration that his royal title of prince was never changed to king when his wife became queen in 1972.

Last year, he announced that he did not want to be buried next to his wife because he was never made her equal in life, thereby breaking with the tradition of burying royal spouses together in Roskilde Cathedral west of Copenhagen.

The royal couple also have another son, Prince Joachim, who is 48.

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Winter Olympics: Lindsey Vonn vows to give her best in memory of her late grandfather

David Cooper 10/02/2018
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A tearful Lindsey Vonn vowed Friday to “lay it all out” at her fourth olympics to honour her late grandfather, the inspiration behind her stellar ski career.

“It’s really hard for me not to cry,” Vonn said when asked about Don Kildow, who died in November at the age of 88.

“I just want so badly to do well for him. I miss him so much, he’s been such a big part of my life.

“I really hoped he’d have been alive to see me, but I know he’s watching and I know he’s going to help me, and I’m going to win for him.”

Don Kildow built the first ski hill around Milton, Wisconsin, and taught his own children to ski before going on to inspire his grandchildren.

“You taught me to be tough, to be kind, and above all, to ski fast,” Vonn said in an Instagram post shortly after his death, one of many social media postings hailing the influence of her grandfather, who was ironically stationed not far from the Jeongseon Alpine Centre when he served with the US army during the Korean War.

Vonn confirmed she felt “really good”, but added: “It’s not really about me or my career, it’s about my grandfather.

“I’m just going to lay it all out there. I’m going to give it everything I have and whatever happens will happen.

“I’m not going to be nervous, I know he’s looking out for me and that gives me some peace of mind.”

Vonn won Olympic gold in the downhill and super-G bronze at the 2010 Games, but missed the 2014 olympics through injury.
This time around she confirmed she will compete in the downhill, super-G and the combined.

“I’m coming in on a hot streak,” the 33-year-old said. “I love the track here, the downhill is really well suited for me.

“But I’ve decided not to do the giant slalom because my knee’s not in place to do that.

“I don’t think I can contend for a medal so there’s no point.”

Vonn, a four-time overall World Cup champion, has notched up 81 World Cup victories said she has Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark’s record of 86 race wins in her sights.

“I’m definitely going to ski another season after this,” she said.

“I’m going to continue skiing until I get to 86. I think next year I can get beyond that. As long as my knee is holding up and I’m still able to win then I will keep skiing, but it really depends on my knee, that’s the determing factor on my retirement.”

Having spent the best part of three years in rehabilitation since 2012, Vonn left no one in any doubt about her focus.
“My entire summer has been focused on the olympics. It’s what I think about the first thing when I wake up and it’s what I think about when I go to sleep.”

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