Norway’s Thea Louise Stjernesund speeds down the course during a mixed team parallel slalom Wednesday at the Alpine world championships at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. Marco Trovati/Associated Press

SKIING

Most talk about the Norwegian ski team at the world championships has been about its many injured stars.

On Wednesday, Norway made the headlines for winning gold at the team event at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

“It’s going to be a major boost, having a gold medal. That’s fantastic,” Coach Steve Skavik said. “It’s great for the team. In the team event, they can do it together.”

Thea Louise Stjernesund, Sebastian Foss-Solevag and Fabian Wilkens Solheim won their runs in the all-Scandinavian final against Sweden for a 3-1 victory.

The team also included Kristina Riis-Johannessen and Kristin Lysdahl.

“It’s nice,” Foss-Solevag said. “We’re still a small but strong team and we showed them that we are strong without big stars.”

Norway arrived at the worlds without Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, Adrian Smiseth Sejersted, Lucas Braathen and Atle Lie McGrath, who have all been ruled out for the season with knee injuries.

Still, the Norwegian team eased past Japan (4-0) before edging the United States in the quarterfinals and defending champions Switzerland in the semis as both ties ended 2-2.
In case of a tie, the lowest added times from the best man and best woman on a team decides the winner.

IRAN: The Iranian women’s Alpine ski team flew to Italy for the world championships without their coach, whose husband has barred her from leaving the country, Iranian media reported.

The reports by the semi-official ISNA news agency and the pro-reform Shargh daily did not provide any details as to why Samira Zargari’s husband had not allowed her to leave.

Iran’s ski federation also did not offer any information.

Under Iranian law, husbands can stop their wives from traveling outside of the country.

Zargar is not the first married athlete whose husband prevented her from leaving Iran. In 2015, soccer player Niloufar Ardalan missed the Asian Cup tournament in futsal – an indoor version of soccer – after her husband confiscated her passport in a domestic dispute.

Women’s sports largely disappeared from Iran after the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. Over time, however, women’s sports gained in popularity, especially soccer. Social customs still come into the game though, as the country’s soccer team plays its games with players’ hair covered by traditional headscarves, or hijabs.

Two Islamic countries make the headscarf mandatory for women in public – Iran and Saudi Arabia. FIFA overturned a yearlong ban against players wearing hijabs in 2012.

Four Iranian skiers are entered for the women’s giant slalom race on Thursday at the world championships: Atefeh Ahmadi, Sadaf Savehshemshaki, Forough Abbasi and Marjan Kalhor.

They are part of a 99-skier field for a race in which the favorites are Marta Bassino and Federica Brignone of host Italy, Petra Vlhova of Slovakia and Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States.

BASKETBALL

WNBA: Raiders owner Mark Davis was officially approved to buy the Las Vegas Aces by the WNBA Board of Governors last week and has grand plans for the team.

He will open a training facility for the team next year that will have two courts, locker rooms and training facilities. The center will be next to the Raiders’ headquarters and also will house the Al Davis-Eddie Robinson Leadership Academy – a program to develop minority coaching and general manager candidates in the NFL.

“One thing I noticed was that what they didn’t have was a real home,” Davis said about the Aces during a media availability Wednesday. “They were practicing at UNLV, had offices at MGM and offices down in an airplane hanger.”

The new owner admits that purchasing a WNBA team might not be the best business decision as franchises tend not to be money makers. However, the Aces’ season-ticket holder said he always had a love for women’s basketball passed down from father, Al, a huge fan of Geno Auriemma and the UConn Huskies.

“Women’s sports deserve so much more recognition,” said Davis, who was first approached by MGM to buy the team from the casino before the pandemic hit.

SOCCER

PREMIER LEAGUE: A 10-point lead. A 12-match winning run. Seventeen straight victories in all competitions.

The numbers are just getting bigger and bigger as Manchester City surges toward another league title.

Everton was the latest team to be brushed aside by Pep Guardiola’s side, with City winning 3-1 to open up its biggest lead yet in the league this season.

Making the evening all the sweeter for Guardiola was the sight of his star player, Kevin De Bruyne, back on the field in a brief cameo as a substitute after a month out injured.

City has won every match it has played since squeezing past Southampton 1-0 on Dec. 19, a remarkable run that has come while its biggest title rivals – Liverpool and Manchester United – have started to drop away.

United and Leicester are the nearest challengers, both 10 points back.

ITALY: Brazil-born Atalanta captain Rafael Toloi is now eligible to play for Italy, FIFA said.

Soccer’s world governing body said it approved the Italian soccer federation’s request to change Toloi’s international eligibility.

The 30-year-old defender played for Brazil’s Under-20s but never for the senior national team.

Toloi has long held an Italian passport and said in interviews he had Italian great-grandparents. He has also lived in Italy for more than the five-year residency period required by FIFA rules, since joining Atalanta early in the 2015-16 season.

Italy next plays in March, opening its 2022 World Cup qualification group with games against Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Lithuania.

DOPING

RUSSIA: An elaborate deception involving a fake medical clinic in a demolished building and made-up claims about a world champion athlete’s car crash led to five senior Russian track and field officials being banned from the sport.

Disciplinary rulings found former Russian track and field president Dmitry Shlyakhtin and his colleagues obstructed an antidoping investigation into high jumper Danil Lysenko with forged documents and fake claims.

Shlyakhtin, who left the federation soon after charges were filed in 2019, was banned for four years.

Comments are not available on this story.